Love Heals News
Love Heals’ parent peer educators delivered a total of six workshops in English and Spanish throughout 2013. They emphasized recognizing and capitalizing on teachable moments, demonstrating effective listening skills, and promoting parent-child connectedness. Helen Delahaye, Parent Association President at Thomas Jefferson Educational Campus, expressed her disbelief at the startling statistics presented and pledged to share her newfound knowledge with parents who were unable to attend the event. One participant said that the workshop not only “opened the doors” to communicating with her child, but also helped her identify opportunities to do so.
Members of the Love Heals Speakers Bureau have visited The Brearley School to teach the eighth grade class about HIV each year since 1999. This year Brearley asked Love Heals to speak to the entire middle school in preparation for the drama department’s production of RENT.
On January 9th, Love Heals Speakers Bureau member Jorge Masdeu shared the story of his HIV infection and discussed the historical and cultural context of HIV in New York City in the 1980s and 1990s. He touched on the themes of art, community, poverty, and homelessness—which are woven throughout RENT. Jorge explained, “They were really curious about whether or not life in the East Village was really like what they saw portrayed in RENT. Having lived there during that time period, I could share with them that the sense of community was very real. RENT expresses that one’s circumstances don’t dictate their level of joy or contentment in life. That’s how it was for us back then, and that sentiment shines through in RENT.”
The students were so inspired by Jorge’s story that they decided to use their performances of RENT to raise money for Love Heals. Allison Tucker, a Brearley student and the daughter of Love Heals Board Member Robert Tucker, helped with the production of RENT and with the fundraising effort. She reported that, “Jorge taught us invaluable lessons about the community in New York, and what the RENT characters were going through during those times. The virus does not pick and choose who it is going to infect, it just does. One mistake, or moment of forgetfulness can change your entire life and it is important to remember that when we think it could never happen to us.”
Through their production of RENT, students at The Brearley School raised more than $1,000 for Love Heals, making it the most successful student-led fundraiser to date.