Thursday, January 13, 2011

Meet the Staff Series at CEG-Hilary Viens

Hilary Viens – Director of Programs and Operations

Hilary Viens is the next staff member to be highlighted. Viens, like her colleagues in her office, is clearly passionate about the work she does in the DC community. Before beginning the interview, Viens wanted to express her sentiment toward CEG this way:

“The staff of Community Education Group is an amazing team, capable of making significant changes in the Wards 7 and 8 communities, with an unparalleled amount of dedication and commitment to their community. The transformations I have witnessed in staff have been profound and will forever change who I am.”

Viens has served at CEG since July 2007. She is currently the Manager of Programs and Operations. She is responsible for the daily oversight of CEG. She cites her tasks as managing all federal and foundation grants, securing funding to implement programming through Toni's vision, and supervising the Manager of Testing and Field Operations, Program Associate, and Linkage team.

When asked to consider the impact she would like to make with CEG she cited her desire for her work with CEG “to help create community level change and draw attention to an area of the city that is in significant need of resources and support.” Furthermore Viens was asked to describe two of her greatest accomplishments. “Personally, I believe being able to integrate and become part of the CEG family has been a huge accomplishment. I am a white woman among a predominantly Black staff that serves the Black community, a community I was not raised in, but have developed strong connections to. Professionally, I think my greatest accomplishment relates to being able to secure funding for CEG to implement innovative and effective programs around HIV and other health disparities in Wards 7 and 8.”

Viens states that she stands out from others by “having a soft exterior and a hard interior. I feel like I am a bridge between "the big picture" and the implementation of services at CEG.”

In her free time, Viens enjoys photography, children, her dog scout, knitting, and indie and hip-hop music. And finally, she feels strongly about enjoying her peanut butter “SMOOTH.”

Meet the Staff at CEG Series- Kehinde Hall

Kehinde Hall – Community Liaison

The first thing you notice when meeting Kehinde Hall is his big smile. He is truly an amazing person who has really turned his life around and has inspired the community he works with. Hall through his great energy and personality makes a positive impact with CEG to help fight the battle against HIV/AIDS.

1. What is your role at CEG?

My role here at CEG is community liaison. I have been here for 2 years. Basically, I recruit and establish relationships with various barber shops, beauty salons, and nonprofit community based organizations (CBO) so CEG can distribute condoms there. Also, I make relationships at various venues and sites for testing events. Lot of the places I work with is located in ward 7 and 8 where there is a high rate of HIV. Being from ward 7, I know lot of the people there so it’s much easier to establish relationships with the community since they are comfortable with me already.

2. What do you hope to achieve at CEG?

I hope to bring more awareness to the community about HIV prevention. Also, to break down the barriers and the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. I think it’s also important for people to get tested and know their status and for people to wear condoms.

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

The transition from a criminal lifestyle to being an upstanding citizen!

4. What made you choose this work at CEG?

I got with CEG because of a good friend I knew here that got me the job. Once I started here, I ended up liking the job because I was giving back to the community that I once took from. It makes me feel better about who I am and what I represent.

5. What makes you stand out from others?

I’m a left hander! Also, I’m not afraid of a challenge. If someone thinks I can’t do something or if it’s too difficult, I always welcome the challenge.

6. What are your hobbies?

Watching football, the Redskins are my team. I also enjoy swimming and all types of exercise.

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


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Meet the Staff at CEG Series- Terrence Young

Terrence Young - Manager of Testing and Field Operations

After sitting down with Terrance Young it was easy to see within minutes that he loves what he does and makes a huge impact in the lives of so many. He is very passionate and dedicated toward his work.

Young has been with Community Education Group for six years as the Manager of Testing and Field Operations. He described his role this way:

“I coordinate all testing outreach activities, establish relationships with linkage providers and coordinate testing events”.

Young has experienced many of the successes CEG has had over the years. He describes his own achievements with aspiration to continue to make an impact in the city.

“I hope to develop and implement programs that affect the many health and social disparities that affect community members in Wards 7 and 8 of the District in a positive way and increase the quality of life of individuals living with and affected by HIV and other disparities that disproportionately affect African Americans.”

However he states that his greatest personal accomplishment was “turning my life around and becoming a contributing member of society and being a father to my son”.

With such capacity to be an agent of change Young cites that CEG chose him and he “grew to love the opportunity to give back to the community that he was raised in a productive fashion”.

As far as standing out from others, Young describes himself as a leader. He goes on to say that “I don’t have a problem expressing myself even when I am not in the majority”. This is truly important as he finds that he is often in a position to come to the aid of others by spreading knowledge of HIV/AIDS prevention.

In his leisure time, Young enjoys “anything related to sports”. His favorite football team is the Dallas Cowboys. Young is also very athletic having played basketball, football, and baseball. “I’m super competitive in anything”.

Finally for fun I asked how do you like your peanut butter and his response was “all the way chunky”.

Meet the Staff at CEG Series - J'Mia Edwards

J'Mia Edwards - HIV counselor and tester

When first meeting J’Mia Edwards you see her as someone who is very bubbly, full of personality and laughter. By the end of the interview though, you learn that she is someone who is also deeply passionate and committed to the HIV work she does here at CEG. J'Mia was also featured in "The Other City" documentary, check it out if you have not seen it yet!

1. What is your role at CEG?

My role at CEG is being a HIV counselor and tester. I conduct field and venue based testing to individuals who reside in ward 7 and 8 of DC. I also conduct HIV 101 sessions and female condom demonstrations.

2. What do you hope to achieve at CEG?

I hope to achieve educating community members about HIV awareness and learning how to prevent people from getting infected with STDs or HIV.

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

My greatest accomplishment with CEG is I have learned how to listen from both sides meaning the corporate side and field side- field side meaning the clients that we work with at CEG. Also, another accomplishment is I learned how the system is set up like how the funding goes, how it is divided up, and how much the client gets.
Outside of CEG my greatest accomplishment, I was featured in “The Other City”.

4. What makes you stand out from others?

What makes me stand out from others is that before I became a tester/counselor, I was a client going through some of the same issues our clients at CEG now go through. So I can really relate with the people that I interact with in some aspects like homelessness, poverty, the need for food, single parent homes, and the lack of education.

5. What are your hobbies?

Reading and spending time with my kids.

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

SMOOOTH, it’s the best!