Ambassadors of Hope
Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Sunday and I hope you are having a safe and great week so far. It is another busy week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me with our partner's Mom and sister visiting for the weekend from Texas.
I been getting a ton of messages asking about our Dab the AIDS Bear's Ambassador of Hope Program. So it's easier to post so everyone can see instead of typing everything multiple times.
Our Ambassadors of Hope program started in 1992 when I was battling non-Hodgkin's lymphoma the first time. Knowing I may or may not survive, I wanted to train other men and women to be activists to serve, protect and help people living with HIV and AIDS. By 1992, many of my fellow early activist friends had already lost their battle with AIDS.
When I first started Ambassadors of Hope, only HIV positive individuals could join the program. In the late 90s, I had individuals approaching me to become Ambassadors who were HIV negative but either worked with people with HIV, provided services for our community, knew someone who had lost their battle with AIDS or knew someone living with HIV. So we opened the program to include HIV negative supporters of the community.
Over the years, the Ambassador of Hope program has gone international. We now have 349 active Ambassadors of Hope in 15 countries around the world.
So what are the responsibilities of our Ambassadors of Hope?
After making a donation to cover the wholesale cost of their Dab the AIDS Bear and cover shipping costs to their location (shipping included in the donation for bears being mailed within the United States. Additional shipping donation for bears shipped outside of the United States). After you are approved to be an Ambassador of Hope, I send you a special link to make your reduced donation to receive your bear.
While I wish we could send a free bear to any one wanting to be an Ambassador, we are an all volunteer organization that does not receive any government funding. When I started Dab the AIDS Bear Project, we already had waiting lists in the United States for life saving HIV medications and I did not want the project to be a drain on state or national funding when it would mean my brothers and sisters living with HIV could not get the medications to keep themselves alive.
Our Ambassadors of Hope take pics with their Dab the AIDS Bears at AIDS Rides, Walks, Conferences, LGBT Prides, health fairs, colleges, schools, health fairs, around the city and many even on their vacations. They also share the bear's 31 year message of love, hope and compassion for people living with HIV and AIDS while helping to end stigma against those living with HIV. (You can read the bear's story at: http://dabtheaidsbearproject.com/stofdabaibe.html)
Active Ambassadors of Hope are requested to do a minimum of 2 events a year from the list above. They are also asked to when possible post their pics to Facebook and "tag" my name on the pics so I get an alert that the pics have been posted. We also ask the active Ambassadors of Hope try to take at least 100 pictures a year with their bear if possible. (I know some live in non-HIV friendly cities and countries where there are no rides, walks, pride events and this is not always possible to get 100 pics at events. That is why you can also go around where you live and take pics with the bear at points of interest like parks, museums, fountains, historical buildings etc.)
When they take at least 40 - 50 pictures at an event, we make a special slide show with their pics for their event which are shared on Facebook, other social medias and in blog I write for several HIV/AIDS website and publications. If less than 40 pics are submitted for an event, the pics are used in the monthly slide shows we make featuring pictures of Dab the AIDS Bear around the world.
We also have many activists who take their Dab the AIDS Bear when meeting with their local, state, national and country officials when meeting on HIV/AIDS issues. But this is not required of all of our Ambassadors of Hope. We have different parts of the program to fit what people are comfortable doing to help people with HIV and AIDS. About 100 of our Ambassadors of Hope live outside of the United States where the country may or may not be HIV friendly and I take this into account.
Last but definitely not least, I would like to thank all of our loyal active Ambassadors of Hope. It is because of YOU that Dab the AIDS Bear's 31 year message of hope, compassion and love is spread around the world. For that, I am eternally grateful.
If you would like more information or would like to become an Ambassador of Hope, you can private message me here on Facebook or email me at email@example.com
Hope you have a safe and great Sunday!
Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.
big bear hug,