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January 8, 2007

ASC PREP graduates display their certificates of completion.

"My self-esteem was shot when I came to ASC, but this agency lives up to its promise of helping many, one by one. Now I'm in college. The sky's the limit." ASC PREP graduate

In mid-November, 24 proud graduates of ASC's pioneering Peer Recovery Education Program (PREP) walked down the aisle in their caps and gowns, representing the largest graduating class in the fifteen-year history of this unique program. PREP provides skills and support that help people affected by HIV/AIDS and in recovery from substance use to reach their full potential.

A PREP graduate tells the story of how ASC's peer training program has helped her.

Throughout the ceremony, the graduates spoke movingly about the PREP experience. "I just got diagnosed with HIV," said one graduate, "I was very angry about my diagnosis and knew nothing about HIV/AIDS. Through PREP, I learned that dealing with HIV isn't about getting mad, it's about getting better."

PREP graduates will become ASC Peer Interns, gaining on-the-job experience by co-facilitating support groups, providing HIV prevention education in drug treatment centers and public housing projects, and operating ASC's food pantry.

For many of the PREP participants, this graduation was a first. "It's a beautiful thing to stand here having completed something," said one graduate. "It's empowering and uplifting. ASC has shown me that there are better days ahead."

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