The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 26,1992- Page 5
AIDS Wellness center provides
support for HIV-infected patients
by Karen Talaski
Daily Staff Reporter
The stigma of AIDS often causes
those afflicted with the disease to be
shunned, but at Wellness Networks,
Inc.-Huron Valley, volunteers are
reaching out to help people living
with the problems and stresses it
The volunteer-run organization
has tackled the job of providing help
for people who have AIDS or thle
human immunodeficiency virus
"We do the best we can," said
Linda Howell, Wellness Direct
Services director. "Things get done
because the people who volunteer
here have been super. They are al-
ways thinking about other folks than
AIDS is the result of HIV, which
attacks and eventually destroys the
immune system, leaving the body
unable to fight infections. AIDS is
transmitted though direct exchange
of body fluids, either through sexual
contact, blood, or hypodermic nee-
"All different kinds of people use
our services: gay males, straight
males, straight women, and others.
We have clients who struggle by to
the very rich," said Susan Marie
Harrington, Wellness president and
chair of the board of directors.
Wellness was formed in 1984,
before AIDS came to national atten-
tion. "We created a group to do edu-
cational programs about various
kinds of sexually transmitted dis-
eases - a little speakers' bureau,"
said Jim Toy, co-director of the
closed group support sessions and
co-coordinator of the University
Lesbian-Gay Male Programs Office.
"Then AIDS appeared. We trans-
formed ourselves into a group that
just dealt specifically with AIDS,"
Toy added. "That's all we've con-
centrated on since."
Wellness - a non-profit organi-
zation - is run solely by volunteers
ranging in age from college level to
their upper sixties, Toy said.
Volunteers are trained for 30 hours
before they begin to work with
Training includes the medical
background of HIV and AIDS, the
physical and mental aspects of the
disease, and self-examination of
volunteers' personal AIDS or HIV
biases. "Volunteers need to relate
empathetically to people who are in
the AIDS syndrome and those who
are close to them," Toy said.
Wellness receives funding
through donations, local and state
grants, and their own fund-raising,
Harrington said. "We are doing
pretty well so far. We're financially
stable, but we could always use
Wellness has a two-fold purpose:
community service and education,
Harrington said. "What we try to do
is in two parts: first, we help people
with AIDS and HIV in any way we
can (through Direct Services).
Second, we provide education for
the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti areas."
Wellness' education program is
based on group workshops and
tent, and long-term basis," Toy said.
"The Buddy program is about
practical care. A buddy would water
their plants, visit them in the
hospital - try to do those kinds of
things," Harrington said.
Wellness also offers a food bank
which provides free food to those
who request it. "We get monthly
contributions from churches," said
Rick Hayner, a Wellness volunteer
who has had AIDS for five years.
"We also have non-specific gift cer-
tificates for things like prescriptions
'Things get done because the people who
volunteer here have been super. They are al-
ways thinking about other folks than
- Linda Howell
Wellness Direct Services director
Gone to the dogs
Former Democratic presidential candidate Paul Tsongas opens the gate to
let his dogs in the yard of his Lowell, Mass., home yesterday.
R ussians try to sell
WASHINGTON (AP) - Want
to buy the world's biggest rocket?
How about a new spacecraft?
They're available and cheap, says a
group of Russian scientists who
made their sales pitch yesterday to
members of the U.S. Congress.
Leaders of the Russian science
and engineering community assured
the House committee on Science,
Space and Technology that, although
they once built bombs aimed at the
United States, they now seek only
cooperation - and business.
"We have stopped being your en-
emy," said Boris Saltykov, minister
of science, advanced education and
technology policy. He spoke to
nembers of the committee via a
satellite video link between Capitol
Hill and Moscow.
Saltykov seemed to bristle when
one congressional question seemed
to suggest the Russian scientists
were looking to the United States for
"Russia is not an undeveloped
country," he said icily, adding:
"It is a big mistake to think we
are asking for money. This is not a
matter of assistance. This is a matter
Yuri Koptev, head of the Space
Research Institute of the Russian
Academy of Sciences, said the
Russian launch rocket Energia is the
largest in the world, capable of lift-
ing about 105 tons. Orbiting the U.S.
space station Freedom could be ac-
complished in just a few launches
with the Energia, instead of the 17 or
19 missions expected to be required
of the space shuttle.
Koptev also said that the Russian
spacecraft Soyuz-T could be used as
the "life boat" craft on space station
Freedom. Two Soyuz craft, he said,
would provide the means for an
emergency return to Earth by astro-
nauts aboard the space station.
speakers' requests, Toy said. "A
group of people go out and do work-
shops, whether it is about safer sex
or AIDS or whatever. We go to.
schools, churches, social groups,
agencies, or others upon request."
Toy said support groups address
a range of concerns. "It might be an
emotional concern that a member
would have - feeling really de-
pressed or angry about their physical
state. We also discuss medical ques-
tions, discrimination or harassment
on the job, legal matters, or how to
retain social services."
Wellness also offers support to
people with AIDS or HIV through a
hospital visitation program. "The
hospital calls or the patients will. A
volunteer then commits to visiting
them while they are in," Harrington
"We've gone to emergency
rooms with clients if they needed
support, scared, and needed people
to back them up," Howell said. "We
try to help people when they need
Another part of Wellness' direct
services is the "Buddy" program.
"Volunteers become a friend to a
patient, providing regular, consis-
and other things which are not cov-
ered by Medicaid or Medicare."
Wellness also provides food to
27 families on a monthly basis and
16 families on a bimonthly or
irregular basis, Hayner said. "We try
to service the entire family, not just
Wellness also distributes the
Keith Schnarr emergency fund. "It is
awarded based on a person's finan-
cial need," Harrington said. "We pay
their rent, utilities, cost of
transportation to and from doctors'
appointments, prescriptions up to
$100 on a one-time basis."
In addition, Wellness offers a
phone line for people to talk about
their concerns over HIV or AIDS.
"A lot of people call to find out
where they can get tested, referral if
they are HIV positive and want as-
sistance, rides to the hospital, or any
type of information," said Wellness
volunteer Randy Brach, a Natural
"We are still a pretty small orga-
nization, but I am very satisfied with
the work we are doing," Brach
added. "It can get pretty tense but I
feel like we are doing a very effec-
tive job (for the community)."
oth opening Absent at either op
toll calls or closing roll calls
Information and Library Studies
John McC losky
Rob Van Houweling
Michael Oduro (excused)
Melissa Saari (excused)
Ben Allbaugh appears to have an anole crawl across his face as he
prepares Tuesday to sell the animal at the Shrine Circus in Columbus. The
reptile is kept in an aquarium with the glass separating it from Allbaugh.
Italics denote representatives
who missed both roll calls.
Exercise Good Taste
Dinner served Wednesday thru Sunday
5:30 until 7:30
Fr. Peter Gillquist
Distinguished author and lecturer will speak on
"BREAKING FREE FROM INNER GLOOM"
Sponsored by the Council of Eastern Orthodox Churches of Metropolitan Detroit
University of Michigan
Union - Ballroom
530 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Thursday, March 26th
oesNow (Zondervan Press,1970);
Hanwk Fr diuL Surviva
(Zondervan Press, 1972);
Let~s Quit Fighting Abut the H&lySp~irit
(Zondervan Press, 1974);
Th 1idSiLde f aaliitu
(Zondervan Press, 1979);
Desied For Holiness (ervant Press1982);
Ancie.nt Chrlstian Faithi
Casual, sit down
Come and try