World AIDS Day 2012 Special Section
Founded just this past January, new local non-profit Different Roads Home is already making a difference in the lives of those with HIV and others battling cancer and children with chronic illnesses.
The group, a presenting sponsor of this year’s “Life, Positively,” is the brainchild of Dale Pierce, a former full time staffer at Rosedale Infectious Diseases. Pierce, who is himself HIV-positive, says he saw the need for a new organization that offered personal support and mentorship.
Unlike other local groups that may provide direct medical care or case management, Different Roads Home offers less clinical services. The group boasts a diverse line-up of support groups, including one for HIV-positive women, one for HIV-positive men and a third open to all HIV-positive people, as well as their friends, family and allies. The groups meet at either Different Roads Home’s office in Huntersville or at their partner location in Charlotte. Additionally, occasional events like movie nights, bowling and charity events are planned to provide additional social outlets.
The group’s mentoring project, The Good Road Project, aims to provide the education, compassion and support those living with chronic illnesses. An individual mentor is assigned to a person who has recently received a positive diagnosis and is having difficulty coping with illness or struggling with treatment.
The group’s Jeanne White-Ginder Food Pantry, named in the honor of Ryan White’s mother, assists those living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses with access to food during emergency situations. The pantry provides gift cards to local supermarkets.
Additionally, the group has also established the Ryan White Memorial Scholarship fund to assist students with their education. The group also connects community members to HIV testing sites and other resource referrals.
To learn more about Different Roads Home, visit differentroadshome.org or call 704-237-8793. : :