These days it seems that we swipe our way in and out of life on a daily basis … the subway, our ATM card ….. It’s endless. For people on Medicaid, it’s even more insidious because a “negative” swipe can mean the denial of a benefit or service and at the very least, hours of waiting, endless interviews, the need to find documents and fill out more paperwork. Chills just ran up my spine. But that’s what happens when everything becomes part of a “medical model” and funding for HIV/AIDS services is limited to funding streams like Medicaid. An agency like us can provide lots of good services with Medicaid like we do in our COBRA program (check out this program in our Services section), but both the client and we go through a lot of paperwork and “swiping” to do it. There always has to be other sources, both public and private.
Last week, as we were talking with clients, we all realized that the thing we liked best about the new office is that we have more space to just get together. Clients can come in and have a healthy breakfast in the morning, read the paper, watch TV and guess what …. NOT SWIPE. Then, they may attend one of the morning groups that run 5 days a week around topics ranging from recovery to creative expression and guess what ….. NOT SWIPE. After that, there are other groups focused on getting healthy, independent living skills and guess what …. THEY DO NOT SWIPE. They shared that at other agencies (don’t worry we won’t reveal those names!) they are always swiping. One man even claimed he has to swipe to go to the bathroom. He laughed when we all believed him. We like that we don’t have to ask people to swipe all the time. Clients like that they can come in and just be. It helps them feel human. It helps us feel more human too. It helps them feel they are more than their disease. It makes us feel hopeful. We so love this antidote to all of the “swiping” that all of us have to do that we have created the “Just Come In and Be Among Neighbors and Friends Program. No Swiping Necessary.”