Planting Seeds of Hope »

July 23, 2018

How Can a Community Garden Project Help People Who Are HIV Positive?

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Updates on ACOS News and Events

Season Wrap Up: Drag Bingo
June 21, 2016
That's it folks! The Drag Bingo season is officially over- but do not despair, our fabulous fantastic glamorous and gorgeous hosts Haley Star & LaDiva Jonz will return for another "not-your-grandma's" season of Drag Bingo on September 15th 2016. 

This past week AIDS Care Ocean hosted the final Drag Bingo of the 2015-2017 season with proceeds being donated to both Rhode Island Pride and the Orlando, to support the victims and families of those Pulse Night Club shooting and anti-lgbt attack. Generosity was in the air, in addition to the Brown Special split the pot being donated to Orlando, many players returned their winnings as a donation. All together we were able to raise close to $1,800 to support the Orlando victims and families. 

We'd like to thank Rhode Island Pride, especially Julia Carr & Rich Hite for helping organize, decorate, set up and volunteered the night of to bring you a fantastic RI Pride Bingo. Of course, we couldn't do any of this without our incredible Bingo Sponsors. The June Bingo was brought to you by Amazing Intimate Essentials. Mister Sister, Unicorn Ink, Options Magazine, The Stable, The Dark Lady, Alleycat, Friskie Fries, Ocean State Theatre Company, Providence Performing Arts Center, Sundae's Ice Cream, N'Touch Productions and Cox Media!

What would Drag Bingo be without Drag Queens? Boring, that's what. Words cannot express our many thanks we have for both Haley Star and LaDiva Jonz for volunteer hosting this event month after month. After the sad departure of Kitty Litter from Bingo many were unsure of the future of Drag Bingo but our girls TURNED. IT. OUT. this season. 

We'd like to thank our amazing volunteers for the everything they do- from packets, to daubers, to sales, to seating, to crowd control. Thank you Alysha Brock, Leo Mansi, Keith Dube, Jeff Lema, Carol Mann, Tom Wright, Anthony Mckeever, Rayna Reis, Christine Moreau, Jacqueline DiMera, Payton St. James, Kira Stone, Bill Berrgren, Paul Hiat. Christion Battey and the whole APRI team! You're all amazing and we'd be lost without you!

Thank you to all of our 2015-2016 Sponsors for helping us serve one hell of a season:  The Stable, Big Gay Al's Bowling, Mister Sister, Options Magazine, Town Hall Lanes, Cox Media, Gala Bowling, Amazing, Whole Foods, Ocean Point Insurance, AIDS Project RI, Bravo Brasserie, Minute Man Press, Stadium Theatre, Comedy Connection, Providence Performing Arts Center.

We'll see you next season and have a great summer!

Check out these amazing photos from the RI Pride Bingo courtesy of Jen Bonine, photographer Extraordinaire!


AIDS care Ocean State help people deal with the physical and emotional issues around HIV, issues that are frequently magnified by poverty. While everyone can agree that medicine can help keep HIV in check, it might be surprising to know that hopelessness, uncertainty and feelings of isolation can be a barrier to living a healthy life for an HIV Positive person.

That’s why Livia Harkow started the Women’s Community Garden Project at our Tanner Street location in 2018. In fact, during a therapy group, a client asked if we could start a garden. Livia, a graduate of URI’s Master Gardener program, knew it was a good idea to engage clients. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that horticulture therapy can really improve the spirits of HIV positive, low income people.

How? It’s an excellent way to talk about nutrition and self-care, and creates a feeling of community and purpose; all of which generates positive emotions, self-esteem and a meaningful appreciation of life. It nurtures the idea that a woman’s body is her own, a feeling that may be new to our clients. In practical terms, it leads to people more actively interested in taking their medicine and going to group therapy. Plus, they are eating healthier, learning life skills, and being a part of something larger.

Thanks to the partnership of some generous donors, including the South Side Community Land Trust and Earth Appliance, our clients have planted a garden of to be proud of. These dedicated women in our group therapy take pride in the beautiful and blooming organic garden they created, where herbs, tomatoes, lettuce and squash thrive in the sunlight.

Inclusion is a big part of the program. Garden beds were created to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, so that people with physical limitations could also participate. An ACOS youth group has been invited to participate and Livia would like to expand the program to other ACOS Housing, such as New Transitions, Sunrise House and Austin Place.

Now, the program practically takes care of itself. The Community Gardening Project for Women continues to meet twice weekly using horticultural therapy principles. This wonderful program helps our clients combat isolation and give a sense of community to all who participate.

Would you like to help our clients live, happier, healthier lives by supporting programs like this one? Click here to donate to AIDS CareOcean State!