Butterbeans and Cornbread, Condoms, and Football
by JulieHope
 Prevention Works! by Julie Hope
Oct 02, 2011 | 6027 views |  0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
The red ribbon denotes HIV/AIDS awareness
The red ribbon denotes HIV/AIDS awareness
The fur babies
The fur babies

Hmmmm, do I detect the feel of fall in the Alabama air? These cool Southern nights have me thinking of the things I love most, so thought today’s blog might be one of those kinda lists. I’ve been doing some soul-searching and working on ways to make life more content and positive for myself and those around me, so let’s focus on some yummy, good things for a change.

Things I like:

Watching my grandson play football on a Friday night, (winning is good too!).

Breakfast for supper! Grits, biscuits, eggs and bacon…oh my!

Giving NEGATIVE HIV test results to a worried person who’s made some poor choices recently, and knowing that through prevention counseling we can help them make positive changes to stay healthy.

Seeing a Person Living With HIV (PLWH) feel better, make all their clinic appointments, and take control of their health and medication regimen.

Watching Prevention Specialists teach, train, demonstrate, and educate our community on how to prevent substance abuse, and HIV infection.

Seeing prevention project evaluation data results that demonstrate people CAN change risky behaviors and learn how to prevent and reduce the problems that substance abuse and risky sexual behavior brings to their lives. Thank you SAMHSA, CDC, and grant funders who recognize that and fund our projects!

Learning that local drug stores and “super centers” don’t usually carry latex dental dams (barriers for oral sex), non-latex condoms (for those sensitive to latex), or the “female” condom, cause now I have a new objective – to find out why the heck they don’t!! The more safer-sex options the better!!

Observing a prevention case manager in our Prevention department as he works patiently and diligently to find resources for the young mother whose needs include; housing, food, parenting skills, GED training, childcare options, job training, partner violence counseling, and transportation. And only THEN can he work with her to address her substance use and risks for HIV infection.

A big bowl of butterbeans, and cornbread made from stone ground corn from the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge, TN.

Progressive, forward-thinking and compassionate persons who are able to listen and learn without shock, disgust or judgment when someone tells them they are a drug user, have risky sexual behaviors, may be homeless, are living with HIV, etc. Until we can embrace one another regardless of current life situation we cannot help one another.

Being older (not quite sure about the “wiser” part yet) because I find I’m so much more accepting, tolerant and forgiving; and I’m much less likely to put up with bigotry, discrimination, bullying, ignorance, and intolerance! So watch out!

Phone calls from students at local colleges and others who want to volunteer and learn more about HIV and substance abuse. I wish we had more volunteer opportunities, I want to foster this interest in the field of HIV and substance abuse, especially prevention, we need young voices and modern viewpoints in this arena, us old folks need to know someone will take up the cause.

Riding in the back seat with grandkids and their friends who don’t think I’m a crazy ole grandmother when I talk to them about icky sexual and drug abuse things like sex, weed, Spice, beer, making out at parties, bullying, condoms, HIV testing, “waiting/postponing” sex cause it’s a good thing to do, etc.

Watching Rhett Butler and Dandy, my Shih Tzu fur babies as they zip around the back yard; I think they know its autumn too!

Schools, organizations, clubs, churches, and community agencies who collaborate, cooperate and appreciate that we HAVE to work together to effect change in our community and that we can accomplish so much more when we combine our expertise and resources.

Walking and eating our way across the French Quarter in New Orleans!

Facebook, Twitter, the internet, blogging, and social media and its’ impact on prevention! We are so connected today and these tools allow us to reach more, teach more, and it gives me hope that prevention will be more successful because of it.

That wonderful machine called CPAP, cause now that Babe (my hubby) has one, we ALL sleep better!

Attending conferences, training courses, and workshops such as the U.S. Conference on AIDS, because it allows us to stay up to date on the ever changing world of HIV and substance abuse prevention and treatment. Employees who are trained, informed, and refreshed make better prevention advocates and are able to give more to their clients and to their community.

Co-workers who come to work each day with a smile (even if they need to fake it a little till after their coffee), and who avoid workplace gossip and negativity – because our clients deserve more and we need to keep each other strong, cause it’s tough to work with populations who have so many needs and challenges.

Sitting in my easy chair on a Sunday afternoon, blogging away, dogs in my lap, football on the TV and chili simmering on the stove.

Remembering to be grateful that I have a job that provides me the opportunity to reach out to those who may have lost their way due to drugs and alcohol, or who may be living with a life threatening disease. I’ve done it for over 25 years, and I’m dang good at it, so there!

Happy Autumn to you all!!

Take a moment to make your own list of things you love, I didn’t have a bit of trouble making mine and I could add a thousand more things to it, (and that was good for me to remember!).



Health Services Center – 866-832-0100

Revolution Drop in Center: 320 East 15th St. Anniston, AL - Phone 256-405-4104

Find us on Facebook: Project REAL, Reentry, Education and Linkages, and Project Vortex

World AIDS Day Community Awareness Event, info coming soon!


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