Get Tested, Know Your Status!!
The Watchful Eye Testing, Outreach and Prevention (TOP) Initiative is an unprecedented community mobilization effort with the major goals of getting individuals to get tested, know their status and get involved. This Initiative recognizes and capitalizes on the strength of existing community resources including ministers, social service providers, community partners, civic leaders and members of the community at large. All of these community stakeholders bring value to the Initiative because of their roles in and knowledge of the human as well as other resources available in their respective communities.
To meet this goal Watchful Eye launched a major testing campaign within the borough of Brooklyn targeting high risk NYC public housing. Watchful Eye is proud to recognize the insightful and highly motivated ministers, social service providers, community leaders who worked together to make this possible. These well intentioned individuals sat through many group and individual meetings to assess the data, hear the recommendations and come to consensus on the high risk public housing areas to be targeted.
Equally important, roles were defined and pastors were assigned from the Speakers Bureau to specific targeted areas to go door to door to encourage residents to get tested. This is a very innovative outreach approach. Many faith leaders reported the increase of their membership associated with the outreach and testing campaign.
Bishop Gerald Seabrooks Pastor of the Rehoboth Cathedral Church in support of the outreach stated, “Would Jesus only address this issue on Sundays? The church is at its best when it serves the needs of the community.”
All of the involved ministers are compelling leaders who know their communities and are ready to reaffirm the churches role in addressing the HIV/AIDS challenge. The plan is to have pastors visit their assigned areas on Saturdays, inform residents of the exact location where the testing vans will be available on the upcoming Wednesday.
Free on site testing was provided by various Community Partners, along with the distribution of educational literature and condoms.
The major goal of the TOP Initiative is to maximize the number of individuals who know their HIV serostatus by using this outreach model to educate coordinate the activities of and enhance the collaborative efforts of all community stakeholders in the realization of that goal. Watchful Eye provides the support needed to ensure that individuals willing to participate in this ground-breaking outreach model are equipped to execute targeted activities with confidence and effective outcomes.