AIDS Community Watch

Merci for Mardi Gras
The Grand Ballroom of the Biltmore Hotel was transformed into Bourbon Street for AIDS Care Ocean State’s annual Mardi Gras Masquerade held on March 12. Partygoers donned their best Mardi Gras masques, beads, glitter, and glam for the biggest party of the year to benefit AIDS Care Ocean State (ACOS).

Over 280 guests came to enjoy traditional New Orleans cuisine, live music by Danny Arico and the Coppola Sisters band, performances by Ten 31 productions , of course, to revel in the marvelously decorated ballroom. ACOS also honored our 2010 Philanthropists of the Year Juan Gil, Deborah Bisbano and Cheryl Cardarelli for their outstanding philanthropic work over the year.

Mardi Gras would not have been nearly as much fun without the help of our supporters. We extend thanks to all of our sponsors, especially our Gold Sponsors Amica, Citizens Bank and Pelletier & Clark, LLC. In addition, we thank The Providence Biltmore Hotel for continuously providing ACOS with a beautiful venue and delicious food, Golden Gate Studios, High Output, Ten 31 productions. Continental Cookie, and Paul Carpentier and Dennis DelSignore for creating, designing, and decorating for Mardi Gras. A special thanks to Jarod Mitchell, PPAC, Providence Fire Fighters, and Basketcase for donating fabulous prizes for our raffle.

As always, we need to thank our steadfast volunteers for helping us put this event in motion. Many thanks to Alysha Brock, Carol Mann, Shannon McKeever, Rayna Reis, Michael Seekbeck and Tom Wright for working with us to set up the event, sell raffle prizes, and work the door. Without you, the event would not have been a success.

Finally, thank you to everyone who came to enjoy the 2011 Mardi Gras Masquerade: We hope to see you at our next event! To view a schedule of upcoming events, please visit www.aidscareos.org.

Only One Bingo Left!
Mark your calendars today for May’s Gay Pride Bingo on Thursday, May 19 at the Riviera Bingo Palace. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the games start at 7 p.m. sharp. With 14 chances to win over $2,000 in cash and prizes, it is no wonder people travel from all over the state to join Miss Kitty Litter on the third Thursday of every month. Don’t forget to dress up in the Pride colors and decorate your table for chances to win best costume and best table decorations — Bring your family and friends, as long as they are 18 and over, for the best show you will ever get for $20! We want to sell out the bingo hall!

Bingo has been such a huge success thanks to our supporters and season sponsors. We would like to thank GALA Bowling League, Town Hall Lanes, New York Life, Big Gay Al’s Bowling League, Mister Sister, Logo Television, Pelletier & Clark, LLC, Nate James Interiors, The Stable, Thundermist Health Center, and Pharmahealth Pharmacy. We would also like to thank our In-Kind Sponsors: Providence Performing Arts Center, Rhode Island Pride, Number 8 Rugby, Pepsi, and the Comedy Connection for providing great prizes to our winners each month!

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor for the 2011-2012 Bingo Season, please contact Stephen Hartley at 521-3603 or stephenh@aidscareos.org. See you on May 19th for Gay Pride Bingo!

Public Health Expert New Executive Director at AIDS Project RI
Thomas E. Bertrand, MPH, has been named the new executive director of AIDS Project RI (APRI), a division of Family Service of Rhode Island.

The Providence resident brings nearly 20 years of public health experience to the position. Previously he worked at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Rhode Island Department of Health, managing programmatic and administrative duties for state programs and specializing in HIV/AIDS surveillance and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.

“I look forward to partnering with other service organizations as well as state agencies, in ensuring that people with HIV/AIDS are provided the quality services they deserve,” said Bertrand, “It is my vision to strengthen and promote the many programs AIDS Project RI offers to people with HIV/AIDS to help them lead healthy and fulfilling lives.”

He hopes to identify as many channels of communication as possible to reach and educate at-risk communities and the public at large about HIV prevention: the Internet, schools, hotlines, and other means. “The Internet is a great resource and tool, and with the advent of social media, we have the capability to reach and impact a much broader audience than ever before, “ he noted.

For more information about APRI or to join in welcoming Tom, please contact the project directly at 831-5522 or become their friend on Facebook.

Dine Out, Fight AIDS Thursday April 28
On Thursday, April 28th APRI will host its 7th Annual Dining Out for Life event. Many restaurants around the state will donate 25% of that day’s sales to APRI, a division of Family Service of RI.
To join this effort, all you have to do is dine at a participating restaurant. To date, the following local fine dining establishments are joining thousands of other restaurants from around the country in the fight against AIDS:

Chelo’s (all locations); Rhody Joe’s Saloon (Wakefield); Blaze Eastside (Providence); The Cactus Grille (Providence); The Burrito Company (Woonsocket); Don Jose Tequila’s (Providence); The Wilcox Tavern (Charlestown); Deck Forty Two (East Providence); The Bluefin Grille (Providence); Hemenway’s Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar (Providence); New Rivers (Providence); The Pakarang (Providence); The Tokyo (Providence); The Matunuck Oyster Bar (South Kingstown); Trio (Narragansett); Tweet Balzano’s Family Restaurant (Bristol); Downcity Food and Cocktails (Providence); D. Carlo Trattoria (Smithfield); Rue De L’Espoir (Providence); Cowesett Inn (West Warwick); Garden Grille (Pawtucket); Il Fornello (North Providence); Mediterranean Grill & Pizzeria (Attleboro, MA); Pier 49 Seafood & Spirits (Newport), Hose Company No. 6 (Pawtucket), Rasoi (Pawtucket), and The Vintage (Woonsocket).

New restaurants are joining the fight against AIDS daily and you can receive up to date information by visiting www.diningoutforlife.com/providence. APRI needs volunteers for this event as well. Please contact Neil Anderson at 831-5522 x3196 or by email at andersonne@familyserviceri.org for additional information.

APRI Volunteer Recognized for Outstanding Contributions to the Community
Tom Lansburg, an APRI volunteer since 1997, was named a semi-finalist for the RBS Citizens annual Community Star Award. To honor Tom, RBS Citizens made a $1,500 donation to APRI in Tom’s name.

“Tom is so dedicated to his work at AIDS Project Rhode Island and his enthusiasm is contagious,” said Neil Anderson, Dining Out for Life and Walk for Life event manager. Of his invaluable contribution to two of APRI’s signature events, Dining Out for Life and The Walk for Life, Anderson said, “One person really can make a difference! Tom’s creativity and his unparalleled work ethic have had such a positive impact on our events.”