As we look ahead in 2013..

As we look ahead in 2013 we must not forget to remember the many things that we can be thankful for in the passing year. Many things for which we can be very proud of and hopefully many things that we can learn from. Learning, being thankful, and looking ahead is a vital part of growing as we make positive choices for our lives and encourage others to do the same. Looking ahead requires vision for bigger and better things, while appreciating all the great things that have come our way.

I hope you will take the time to be thankful, as I am, for all the things that we have accomplished this past year. To recap some of the most memorable events HIV Arkansas has hosted let me bring to your attention the outcomes of our events that were simply “over the top”, like, our Positive Living Retreat, The NWA HIV Public Forum, The Annual HIV Awareness Walk, and The 2012 Holiday Food Drives. These events were amazing and we are thankful for everything our members and friends have done to make them successful. If you really want to know how these events have impacted the community you have to look at the real  value events like these have.  For example: We were able to provide about $500 in scholarships for our annual retreat for people living with HIV to have a weekend get-a-way and fellowship with other positives from around the state, in addition $1,600 dollars was given to the Regional HIV Clinic from our annual HIV Awareness Walk proceeds (That’s 50% of the total funds raised!), and with the donations of canned food from students from Arkansas Tech University and Dr. Jason Ulsperger, and the Congregation of Spirit of Peace Church we were able to distribute more than $3,000 worth of food during the Thanksgiving and Christmas Food Drives for people living with HIV and AIDS. 

It doesn’t take long to figure out the mission of our organization—”to provide support and advocacy for those living with and affected by HIV and AIDS”—is being fulfilled through our work. This is something we can all be very proud of. In addition our organization is providing support through various social activities and regular support meetings by “giving” of ourselves to help others. Our track record is good and the road ahead of us is very promising.

As we are kicking off the new year, HIV Arkansas is gearing up for another busy and successful year of outstanding opportunity. We will kick the year off with a breakfast social in February, followed by a Spring Potluck Social in March and then a special trip to Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville followed by our Annual Spring Cookout, not to mention all the other fun stuff we have planned throughout the year. In every social of meeting there are abundant opportunities to reach more people than ever before and the opportunity for you to find something worthwhile and fun to do. As we start a fresh new year, I want to encourage you to make time to get involved with HIV Arkansas, take time to volunteer and be of service to others, and, lend a hand to help this organization become greater than ever before. I truly believe it is through our service and volunteering that  we find a real source of peace and satisfaction in life. It just makes you feel good knowing you’ve helped others. Not to mention the friendships you make along the way.

I know many people are thankful for all that we have done over the past few years and I want to take time to express my sincere thanks for our board of directors and all the time they have given in making this organization what it is today. Our board is dedicated and consistently working behind the scenes to ensure every detail is taken care of through attending meetings, working events, gathering donations, and working on the website. Rest assured, everything you do is noticed and appreciated. I could not do this without your help and support. I have the best group of people working with me and I look forward to a prosperous new year. May God bless you all and keep you in good heath.


Michael Burks