I have been working for BABES for 7 years as a Peer Counselor/Event Coordinator and am excited to become the Program Manager for such an amazing program. BABES is not just any job - the sisterhood and the comfort from understanding this disease together is beyond anything I can put into words. I have been living with HIV since 2000 and am passionate about working with women and children affected by HIV. I have attended some amazing trainings over the years that have made me more aware of the importance of Advocacy and Leadership for women living with HIV in our community. Through AIDS Alliance for children youth and families I attended the VOICES Conference twice and also a graduated the 2010 Consumer Leadership Training Program. I have met many wonderful and inspiring Advocates across the country during NAPWA conferences, Lotus Peer trainings and speakers’ trainings through Gilead Sciences. I live in Bothell with my dog Teddy who is like my child. I love to dance and my favorite foods are Mexican and Italian. I look forward to working with all of you in this new capacity. Cheers!
Hello to all of you wonderful, inspirational and empowered new Leaders. I have been employed with BABES since May 2010 and have had the privilege to get to know a lot of you and am such a better person for it. I have been HIV+ since May 2007. I started out as a member, who in the beginning was very reluctant to get involved. I went to my first retreat in 2008, and that was the extent of my involvement. As time went along, I realized that I felt alone and was in desperate need of my peers for emotional support and a sense of belonging. I am very happy that I decided to get involved in my life again and to allow other people in. That was made possible through perseverance and determination to be a part of something - BABES – and all that they have to offer anyone who enters the door!
My name is Kelly, and I was diagnosed with HIV in 2000. I was employed at BABES from 2005-2011, and now I am back as a part-time Peer Advocate. It’s great to be back! I’m so happy to be reconnecting with everyone, and to be meeting new BABES members as well. I truly believe that connecting with other women living with HIV/AIDS has had an amazingly positive impact on me. I have grown tremendously since first getting involved with BABES, and I recognize what a large part this sisterhood has played in helping me become the person I am today. Outside of my role at BABES I am a student working on my MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and I also am a mother to an amazing little boy. I have a loving and supportive partner, and a great group of friends. It’s amazing how much life has improved since first getting diagnosed! I look forward to connecting with you all. Please feel free to give me a call or stop by the office. Hope to hear from you soon!
Camilla Wilson, Peer Advocate
Hi my name is Camilla. I was diagnosed with HIV in 2006. That was first time I heard about BABES Network. I heard about it from a Medical Assistant at the drug treatment center that was in. I didn’t call to find what the BABES Network program was even about. After another year of drugs and other issues, I finally decided to call them. The lady that answered the phone was so sweet. We met and I knew that this is place I needed to be. Through love, peer support and understanding the girls there are wonderful. They really helped build up my self esteem that I had been lacking for so long. Since then I have attended many educational functions, the Hope Project training, several retreats, and I have volunteered at BABES since 2008. Now I have the opportunity to give back what was freely given to me. I am so excited to be a part of BABES team and the YWCA. I’m looking forward to helping women in need just like me. I look forward to meeting all of you!
Tranisha Arzah, Peer Advocate
Hi! My name is Tranisha. I was diagnosed with HIV in 1990, transmitted it at birth from my mother. I will be 23 years old in August 2013 and been living my life to the fullest. I was 19 when I first heard of BABES. I travelled down to Seattle from Bellingham where I was living at the time and met with one of the Peer Advocates. I was extremely nervous and didn’t know what to expect, especially since I hadn’t been around anyone HIV positive since I was a child. It went well and I stayed connected with that Advocate. It was that year that I went to my first of many BABES Annual Retreats. Being the youngest BABE to attend, it was an experience, but I got so much support and love from everyone so I came back. I moved down to Seattle about two years ago, working as a childcare provider and volunteering with numerous HIV related organizations such as Rise n’ Shine Camp (Inspire Youth Project). I love watching movies, walking, dancing and spending time with friends and family. Being a member of BABES for four years now, I have been given many opportunities to share my stories, volunteer, attend support groups, attend educational workshops and attend several retreats. Now I am proud to say that I am part of the BABES staff and the YWCA as the newest Peer Advocate. Being a part of BABES on the other side – as a staff person – has been overwhelmingly positive experience. Looking forward to helping BABES face HIV together!