HIV/AIDS has a lot of stigma, fear and misinformation about the disease. That’s why RAIN was founded – to provide compassionate care for individuals living with HIV/AIDS. The organization educates and advocates for all people – regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. RAIN embraces all people who are living with HIV/AIDS.
RAIN’s mission is to ensure access to quality, personalized care in a nurturing environment for individuals and their families who are living with HIV and associated chronic conditions so they may live healthier fulfilled lives. Through education and advocacy, RAIN promotes disease prevention, understanding and dignity for those affected by HIV and for those who are at risk.
That’s why RAIN set up a booth at Charlotte Pride, the leader in LGBTQ visibility in Charlotte and the Carolinas. This year’s free two-day cultural festival featured diverse national, regional and local entertainers, musicians and bands, and numerous participating vending booths.
Charlotte Pride is the third largest LGBTQ organization in the American Southeast. It is the place to be to connect community members with its mission, vision and values.
“We’ve participated and supported this event for many years and we believe in inclusivity,” said Nathan Smith, Director of Development & Marketing. “Since our history started in the LGBT community it makes sense that we continue to foster and support that relationship.”
CUT THROUGH THE CLUTTER
With an estimated 130,000 attendees, and lots of vendors, how do you stand out and get attention? “Every year we always think about what type of incentive/giveaway we want to do for Charlotte Pride. The question I always ask is what will make our agency stand out and what will make the participants want it and even more importantly, what can we give away that will make others ask “Where did you get those?” said Nathan.
RAIN ordered pinhole sunglasses as their booth giveaway because it was inclusive with Pride and included the rainbow colors. It was a huge success. Everyone loved wearing them and it tied in perfectly with the event theme.
WORK FOR IT BABY!
The key to RAIN’s success with the sunglasses giveaway was that everyone didn’t just “get one”. They had to work for it. “Other booths would just give their incentive away and we knew this was a great opportunity to educate our visitors. Though they would get the giveaway no matter what, if they didn’t answer the question we asked it gave us a great opportunity to educate them on HIV and AIDS,” noted Nathan.
ADVOCATING FOR ALL PEOPLE WITH HIV
RAIN educates and advocates for all people living with HIV and to work for a greater understanding of how it affects everyone regardless of race, gender, and sexual orientation. RAIN’s services enable individuals to live to their fullest potential and include:
- Trained volunteers to offer social support to HIV+ adults/senior adults
- Patient navigation and health education for the Latino community
- Specialized support groups for HIV+ youth and adults
- Mental health support
- Connecting negative individuals to medication to reduce the risk of contracting HIV (PrEP)
- Navigation of the Affordable Care Act for individuals living with HIV
- Medical case management linking clients with housing, medications, treatment and other resources.
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