July 15, 2005

PREP Graduate Willie George moves guests with a heartfelt speech.

In May, nine Peer Educators graduated from ASC's Peer Recovery Education Program (PREP). More than fifty friends, family members, funders, colleagues, and clients witnessed the joyous celebration of ASC's 24th PREP capacity-building training cycle.

PREP is a centerpiece of ASC's extensive peer skills training program, which focuses on HIV education, outreach, and relapse prevention. PREP enables people affected by HIV/AIDS and in recovery from drug or alcohol use to reach other community members with culturally relevant information about HIV prevention, harm reduction and health promotion.

Each group of PREP graduates has its own unique qualities. "These participants were creative and inquisitive," says Lurenda Cray, ASC's Training Coordinator. "They were hungry for information about HIV. The more information we gave, the more they wanted to learn. As people in recovery who have walked that walk and gotten help, they really want to pass that help on to others by becoming ASC Peers. They were eager to get out there and teach others, eager to give back."

ASC is providing the PREP graduates with ample opportunities to "give back" while sharpening their newfound skills. As ASC Peers, these individuals are currently conducting general outreach in shelters and single room occupancy (SRO) hotels; providing Spanish translation to assist in recruiting Spanish-speaking women to ASC's services; and co-leading educational presentations—spreading the word about prevention of HIV/AIDS and substance abuse, while enriching their communities and reinforcing their own process of healing and recovery.

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