Terri was inspired to get involved with ASA by an AIDS Walk in 1992
“It is interesting how something so simple could change my life completely.” says Terri Lindgren who works the front desk at AIDS Services home office on Cameron Road.
Terri is the first person most see when they come to the ASA Home office on Cameron Road. She describes her role as “sort of a triage/screener/traffic director. ASA offers so many different services I need to know at least some of what each department does, who does it, and where to send a client. A lot can happen at the front desk and it is usually fast and furious.”
We sat down to chat with her about her time at ASA.
What prompted you to get involved with ASA?
In 1992, my son’s high school art teacher suggested her students be involved in AIDS Walk. I was the Mom who drove the kids to the walk. I fell for the love and spirit of the other walk attendees and felt I had to get involved.
It is interesting how something so simple could change my life completely. I started to volunteer for HIV or related issues. That continued for 17 years until I began working for ASA in March of 2010 full time.
What is it like to be on the front lines?
Emotions run full spectrum. Often, when people newly diagnosed, they are terrified. We help them. Some clients come in to the agency in very bad condition (mentally or medically). When I see them improve through our services, it raises my spirits. I have attended funerals of clients whose families abandoned them and ASA staff are the only ones there to tell them goodbye.
Clients often come in under a great amount of stress. They wouldn’t be here if they were in good shape. They receive the support they need. It is a beautiful thing to see them graduate from school, find work or housing, break free of a drug habit, or get control of their health. They walk in with their head held high for the first time in years.
What do you feel is the most rewarding part of your job?
Seeing the success of our clients! Over the past 6 years I have been blessed to see many. It is wonderful to be work at a place that can help impact people in such a positive way. To play a small role in that is an honor.
Is there anything you would like to add about ASA- something the community should know?
On the case management side we enable people to become independent again, which is such a major role and long term cost savings for the city. Our prevention team is just phenomenal, hours of dedication are put in to help stop the spread of the disease, coming up with strategies to reach all the different cultures in Austin. Capital Area AIDS Legal Project assisting clients with a variety of legal matters. The work we we do here is of huge benefit to Austin, not just our clients.
Terri is often the first face of ASA that clients new and old see. We are fortunate to have her.
Do you have a story you would like to tell about ASA or your expernce with the HIV community? Send it to me! firstname.lastname@example.org