After serving South Florida’s gay population for a decade, providing HIV education and treatment services throughout South Florida, Latinos Salud determined that this milestone anniversary would be the perfect time to stage its first fundraising gala.
“We owe it to our partners, organizations and the communities we serve to commemorate and celebrate 10 years of service,” said Latinos Salud’s Executive Director Stephen Fallon.
On Feb. 2, Latinos Salud will hold its first-ever Gala, celebrating its 10thAnniversary at the Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA) in Dania Beach.
“We’re expecting 300 people,” Fallonsaid. “About half the tickets have already been sold.” The Gala will be a full evening, with open bar, hors d'oeuvres, local Hispanic musicians and performers, a full-course plated dinner and gift bags.
Unlike Latinos Salud’s DiversiSAFE events, which offer free entry for sharing educational updates about HIV, there is a charge to attend the anniversary gala.
“We’ve made ticket prices as low as possible and we’re offering discounts for those who purchase tickets early,” Fallon said.
Early bird VIP tickets are $200, which includes a preview cocktail hour with open bar, passed hors d’oeuvres and a meet-and-greet with Project Runway All-Star winner Mondo Guerra, who will also participate in an “Actor’s Stage” discussion, reflecting on his own HIV-positive status. NBC 6 News Anchor Roxanne Vargas will emcee the Gala. Early regular tickets are $150 through Jan. 25. Both prices increase Jan. 26, so guests are encouraged to reserve their spots early.
“This is like putting on a wedding,” Fallonsaid. Like almost all its programs and activities, Latinos Salud’s choice of venue is also unique.
“We wanted a place where we could set our own theme and bring in our own caterer and decorations,” Fallonsaid. “We’re using two atriums at DCOTA for the program. We’ll have a DJ plus live singers and musicians.”
SERVING THE WHOLE COMMUNITY
While Latinos Salud’s focus is on Latinos, it serves the whole community, including all persons living with HIV, and anyone who identifies as transgender. The agency’s three locations are anything but clinical.
“Many of our clients are new to South Florida, or even to the U.S., and they often arrive confused about services, in dire financial situations. Many come from countries where there was no sex education, and medical care was only for the wealthy. Rather than just giving patients referrals, our staff puts in the extra time to help clients navigate the system, complete paperwork, and even accompany them to their appointments.”
The agency operates non-traditional hours, staying open until 9 p.m., to fit around clients’ busy schedules. Latinos Salud also reaches out to the community at night, via mobile vans that are out in each county one or two nights a week as late as 3:30 a.m. By staying open late, those who would not normally be seeking health services will come in for evaluation and treatment, or for one of the agency’s socialized programs that help establish rapport and a sense of security. All of the organization’s services are free.“We give our clients the tools to stay HIV negative, but if they are positive, our goal is to get them into life-saving care.”
And that’s more than reason enough to hold a tenth anniversary gala.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Latinos Salud 10thAnniversary Gala Celebration
WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. (VIP event at 6 p.m.).
WHERE: Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA) 1855 Griffin Rd., Dania Beach. Free parking.
TICKETS: For special ticket pricing, write to Latinos Salud directly at [email protected]or call 954-765-6239.