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Nonprofit Spotlight: The Aliveness Project

Article by Claudia Kittock, photos by Rick Kittock 

Some of you remember the mid-80s when HIV was causing terror. People died quickly and there were limited treatments. It was a death sentence and an epidemic. 33 years ago, at a dining room table in Minneapolis,  The Aliveness Project was born. In 1985, in the early days of the epidemic when The Aliveness Project was founded, there were few services for people with AIDS and no effective treatments. The first members gathered in homes to share a meal and fellowship while they mapped out solutions to their problems. Vowing that they were not dying, but rather were living with HIV, and needed to move forward to live a healthy life.  The Aliveness Project was created out of the Denver Principles which were rooted in health, not illness.

Located on 3808 Nicollet Avenue in south Minneapolis, the Aliveness Project’s mission is to link people living with HIV to resources for leading healthy, self-directed lives. The vision of this project is for the members to feel supported as part of a safe community center that maximizes their health and wellbeing. As James, an Aliveness member said, “Aliveness is the difference between surviving and living.”

Amy Moser

Amy Moser, Executive Director, emphasizes the breadth of services available, all of which are about health. Aliveness offers an onsite meal program six days a week, all cooked from scratch with healthy ingredients.  There is also an extensive food shelf stocked with food that are based on the properties of anti-inflammation.

There are 3 levels of case management available. They include: care linkage for those needing support in arranging and managing health care, medical management for support in navigating the health care systems, and non-medical care management for the other issues that arise for someone with this chronic medical condition.

Aliveness is the coordinated entry point for people with HIV seeking housing. Approximately 1000 people with HIV in our community are either experiencing unstable housing or homelessness. Poverty is a leading indicator for HIV, so many of the members are already in poverty prior to being diagnosed. They struggle with housing insecurity as a result of a number of factors - and there only 350 housing units dedicated for people living with HIV. Obviously, the need far outweighs the solution at this time.

Our time at The Aliveness Project was spent talking about and seeing hope everywhere. Living with HIV is not only the theme, it is visible. There is a computer area and library available on site as well as integrative therapies which include massage, yoga classes, acupuncture, meditation, life coaches, and chiropractic care just to name a few.

When I asked what people could do to support this amazing entity, the list was long. Please take some time to read the entire list and find a way to participate in and support the Project: 

  • Volunteers for the front desk
  • Meal service—10 meals/week are served, and volunteers are a critical need
  • During fundraising events, the Project depends on volunteers to talk with people about the Project
  • Participate in Dining Out for Life
  • Riders and crew members for the Red Ribbon Ride
  • Volunteers to help with the Holiday Gift program
  • Organize drives for winter wear
  • Donations of money are always needed:

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