Thursday, December 16, 2010

Meet the Staff at CEG Series- Ronnie Neamo

Ronnie Neamo – HIV Outreach Tester

The next member of our staff to be highlighted will be Ronnie Neamo. Neamo has been with CEG for almost two years. He serves as one of the HIV testers/counselors. He cites that he tests up to 100 to 140 people per month throughout wards 7 and 8. Neamo also exclaims that he feels a strong desire to reach people from all walks in order to better inform people about protection and resources.

Neamo is quite passionate about his desire to increase awareness concerning HIV in the District of Columbia. He hopes to contribute to increasing awareness saying, “By not only screening for the virus but educating any and every person I come into contact with when it comes to prevention”.

It is clear that Neamo demonstrates great passion and dedication for his role at CEG. He explains that his greatest accomplishment was, “My decision to enter this field of work, and I say that because that was the day that I decided to really put others before me and to make a difference in my community”.

A native of Roanoke, VA, Neamo declares that he stands out from others in a way that gives him a greater perspective, his travels and experience with diverse groups has prepared him to be more relatable to others.

“I believe that by me not being from the District of Columbia but still being able to go into some of the most dangerous sections of the city and offer HIV prevention among other services to our clients without incident, and to actually be embraced by these individuals is what makes me stand out”.

In his spare time, Neamo enjoys playing chess, and motivating others to “step their game up when it comes to life”.

Finally, for fun, Neamo prefers his peanut butter ‘smooooth’.

Meet the Staff at CEG Series- Toni Young

In the upcoming weeks, you will learn more about the staff of Community Education Group. Seven people will be highlighted including our Executive Director, the Manager of Testing and Field Operations, and several other positions of support that make CEG such a dynamic community resource.

Toni Young – Founder and Executive Director

When first approaching Toni Young, it is very intimidating. She has a demeanor about her that is strong, tough, and ready to fight to get where her organization is today. She founded her organization in 1992 under the title of “the National Women HIV/AIDS Project” and was later changed in 1996 to CEG. However, during the interview I noticed how loving and giving Young is as a person, leader, creator, and director of CEG. With a great sense of humor and love for her staff, she has really come a long way with CEG. I guess Young was right after all, she really isn’t mean as people think she is.

1. What is your role at CEG?

I am the founder and executive director of CEG. My major role at CEG is to have a constant vision for the organization and to provide resources for the staff so they can do their work properly- meaning I need to have the right people and money to implement these services.

2. What do you hope to achieve at CEG?

I hope to have a community level impact. In order to do this, I have to hire and have staff that is willing to grow to have a passion for HIV/AIDS and community service. This way they will be able to really impact the lives of people with HIV or people at risk for HIV/AIDS. Lastly, I hope for CEG to become synonymous with good hard work.

3. Tell me your greatest accomplishment as it relates to CEG or otherwise?

Finding CEG in 1993 and now in 2010 to still be here on target and doing better than ever.

4. What makes you stand out from others?

[Laughs] Now that’s a question you should ask others…

Herman Williams (HIV outreach tester), “I’ve known her [Toni] since July 2008. In comparison to other bosses she supports us from a distance. She watches without you necessarily knowing it. She always knows where you are in your work and she shows her appreciation through things like taking us out to nice dinners. Toni is always willing to share the credit and I always get ‘good vibes’ from her. She is not an untouchable boss.”

5. What are your hobbies?

Playing with Benny, my big fat dog and my cat, Kozmo. I love to travel - one of my favorite places is Rwanda. I love kids and to work for social change.

6. How do you like your peanut butter smooth or chunky?

It depends. For a peanut butter and GRAPE jelly sandwich, definitely chunky peanut butter. But for a Reese’s peanut butter cup, it definitely has to be smooth.