Results from Echoing Green’s Connect with you Community Challenge are in!

Posted by on Sep 12, 2012 | Comments

As you may remember, I entered Echoing Green’s Work on Purpose Program‘s Challenge where the most voted idea would receive $1000 to be implemented in partnership with GOOD. They had asked people to submit ideas on how to cultivate a deeper relationship with the community I serve and I proposed to use these funds to help build a computer for low-income youth and families in rural Costa Rica.

Unfortunately, my idea didn’t win.  My project was competing against amazing causes and nonprofit organizations. But, not all news are bad news. I was happy to know that even though my idea didn’t win, the funds went to a great cause. The top-voted idea was HIPS After Dark: Engaging Sex Work Communities Through Overnight Mobile Outreach organized by 

HIPS assists female, male, and transgender people engaging in sex work and drug use in Washington, DC to lead healthy lives through a harm reduction model. From 11pm-5am, the HIPS van goes out to the “strolls” to provide condoms, syringe exchange, emotional support, and HIV testing, since we have found that sex workers are more likely to access services offered at the time they are working. Most poignantly, one sex worker told us that HIPS doesn’t “treat us like animals or waste, you save our lives!”

They proposed to cultivate a deeper relationship with the communities they serve by training and incorporating sex workers and drug users on their outreach van.  With the funds, their peer educators will gain skill sets like counseling skills and safer-sex knowledge, as well as financial compensation. Moreover, HIPS’ volunteer group will include the very community members we wish to assist, gaining knowledge about contemporary sex work as it is experienced on the ground. You can find them on Facebook or on Twitter @HIPSDC.

With $1,000, they will train current and former sex-workers and drug users as peer educators to conduct our mobile outreach activities.  They stated that all funds will go directly to their community members and are necessary to compensate for potentially lost wages. Their training session will be compressed to cater to the time constraints and personal experiences of our new peer educators.

I wish HIPS much luck and success with this great idea!

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