|MICA Helps Those Living with HIV|
Angela: I was wondering if maybe we could start with what MICA does.
Janelle: An overview of MICA is we’re a non-profit agency in Central Iowa serving the needs of low income families. We have a variety of programs to help that population.
One of those is Living with HIV program. That is a program that was established in the year 2000 to meet the needs of the HIV/AIDS population here in Central Iowa. Our main office is in Marshalltown, but the offices where we have case managers are in Ames, Mason City and in Fort Doge. So we are spread out through North Central Iowa to provide medical case management to people who are diagnosed with HIV and AIDS.
What we do is provide a lot of services to connect clients to resources. Initially, when we are introduced to a new client, we immediately find out if they have access to an infectious disease specialist, as well as having access to a prescription program. That’s our first step. After we establish that, we connect that person to the needed resources. And then from there we just start visiting with the family to make sure that there aren’t any other needs that are unmet. Those could be something from housing, all the way to food and clothing. Transportation is a huge issue that we try to connect our clients to different transportation resources so that they can get to their medical appointments, their health appointments, their vision appointments. It is crucial that our clients maintain a strong body, so they can fight that disease.
Angela: Now is this something that you could volunteer for as well?
Janelle: Our program is not as big as, say the Des Moines AIDS project. We really don’t have the need for volunteers except for our upcoming auction. It is a big event and we do count on community volunteers to help us have a successful event.
Angela: Ok, now that is the Loving Responsibly silent auction that is on Feb 9th at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Ames?
Angela: Is that something that you have been doing regularly, or is that a new event?
Janelle: We first had the event in 2001. That was our first attempt at it. We had that event each year until 2009, when I passed the torch to a fraternity here in town. They did it that year and the event was, unfortunately, not well attended. So, the following year we were in the process of moving our agency and nothing happened. And now I am back at it this year and very excited because what I am finding out is that so many of our past sponsors and past supporters are really on board again to help MICA to have a successful fund raising event.
Angela: What do the proceeds of this event go to?
Janelle: The proceeds from this auction will first help offset a $2,500 budget short fall in our case management program. After that short fall has been covered, then the remaining proceeds will replenish our program assistance fund that’s used to help our clients cover expenses such as gas vouchers to go to the doctor. Help them cover emergency expenses such as rent, utilities, and if their car needs maintenance, then the proceeds will be used to cover those expenses.
Angela: Now do the proceeds cover just Story County or are they throughout the MICA counties that you cover in a whole?
Janelle: This particular benefit will help any HIV clients that are case managed by our case manager here in our office. So with those funds they cover those families in Marshall County, Story, Hardin, Hamilton, Boone, and Greene. There are multiple counties where these proceeds will really help benefit the clients.
Angela: Now, reading over your press release, some of the events that are going to be going on during the auction. One thing that caught me eye is that you are saying that you want to give attendees a “bird’s eye view” of what it’s like to live with HIV and AIDS. How are you going to accomplish that?
Janelle: I hope to accomplish that through the client that has volunteered to step up on stage and talk about his life living with HIV. I’ve had the privilege of being around him a great deal and have heard him speak. He provides such a thorough view of what it’s like to live with this disease. I really feel that he can educate the audience and to make them understand the good and the bad of living with this virus.
Angela: This speaker I know is going to be the highlight event. But I know there are other things going on at the auction. You are going to have other performers at the event?
Janelle: We are. I have a person within the community who has stepped forward and offered to organize the entertainers in terms of our female impersonators. We are working together to bring up several wonderful performers from Polk County, just the local area too to provide some fantastic entertainment to our audience.