Spirit of Hope Award

Craig and Joy at Spirit of Hope awardsCraig Taylor was presented with Being Alive’s Spirit of Hope award for his efforts in establishing the very successful Antioch Alive Mental Health program, a collaboration between AULA’s graduate program in Clinical Psychology and Being Alive, a peer-driven agency for people living with HIV/AIDS. Antioch Alive provides individual, couple, and group psychotherapy to the organization’s members, their partners and families.

Taylor, the former dean of Advancement at AULA, has been a long-serving volunteer at Being Alive. In 2010, he approached Joy Turek, chair of the Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology program, about working together to better serve the members of Being Alive. Out of this partnership, Antioch Alive was created. Since 2011, graduate-level psychotherapy trainees from AULA’s LGBT Specialization have provided mental health services at Being Alive’s West Hollywood office. In addition to their studies in LGBT-affirmative psychotherapy, students in this specialization are required to complete five weeks of classes in HIV education and cultural sensitivity before they can work as a student/intern practitioner.

Turek had the honor of presenting the Spirit of Hope award to Taylor. During the presentation, she noted, “Antioch University students are taught to affirm clients in their identities and in the value of being an LGBT person, as well as recognize the specific challenges of that identity. In the two short years since its birth, Antioch Alive has changed the lives of clients and trainees alike.”

Stories of successful therapy abound in Antioch Alive. One client wrote, “I have been in therapy off and on for 20 years. I had no idea the caliber or the progressive nature of therapy they offer in this program. It is by far the most effective therapy program I’ve ever participated in. I’ve never been more mindful, present, calm or serene in my life. I’ve told my therapist in tears last week I never thought I could imagine a happy life for myself. Now I can.”

Being Alive is a membership organization of 1,200+ people living with HIV/AIDS. Established in 1986, Being Alive was created by three friends living with AIDS in response to a need for services free of red tape. This year marked the 20th anniversary of The Spirit of Hope Awards, which honors individuals who have used their time, money and/or talents to advance the fight against HIV/AIDS. Sheryl Lee Ralph and Dr. Tony Mills were also presented with Spirit of Hope awards at the May 14, 2013 event.

Turek concluded her presentation by saying, “We think of Craig not only as a recipient of the Spirit of Hope Award, but as the spirit of hope itself.”