March Damien Center Update

March 2022


March 15, 2022



Evren Elliott, Youth Program Specialist, shares a message on Trans Gender Day of Visibility (TDoV)

Trans Day of Visibility

Evren Elliott (He/They)
Youth Program Specialist

March 31st is Transgender Day of Visibility, a celebration of Trans existence, Trans joy, and Trans resilience. It is a day to send love and gratitude to members of our Transgender family, ever more necessary as we see legislation threaten to tear away at a young trans person’s right to thrive alongside their classmates. A day to hold high the voices of our neighbors, our siblings, ourselves as we say:

We are who we say we are. We contain multitudes. Let us surprise you.

I chose TDoV to start my HRT journey to honor all of those siblings that came before me. Transgender people are a part of a great storied ancestry that goes further back than this nation, and when I celebrate the anniversary of something modern medicine is affording me, I also celebrate the leaders who came before that medicine had a name. I’m celebrating all the ways in which individuals have embraced their gender in the past, and the incredible magic of gender expression as it continues to evolve. I’m celebrating the children that we all once were who may not have been given the language or opportunity to name their own identities. I’m celebrating to be visible for the young people who need to see adults like them making their way in the world.

Transgender people have always been here and will continue as long as the incredible expanse of human life walks this earth. On Transgender Day of Visibility we honor the progress that would not have been made without our ancestors, and we acknowledge that we have so much further to go. Luckily, our world is filled with Transgender people making an incredible difference – let’s elevate those voices not only on TDoV, but every day.

Client and Family Enrichment Programs

Did you know that Damien Center has a team that provides new client programming each month? The Client and Family Enrichment Department works hard to create programs for clients in all stages of their lives.

From life skills training to employment to family services, Client and Family Enrichment has it all. If you are looking for more ways to get involved in the Damien Community or need extra resources, you can contact your care team to fill out an interest form or click here. Once the form has been filled out, a member from the Client and Family Enrichment department will reach out with the information you have requested.

Trail Talks Call Out

Damien Center’s Positive Youth Action have been asked to come out to the Phoenix Theater to be a part of their “Trail Talks” series. During the Trail Talks series, the Phoenix Theater has different non-profit organizations come out and share their mission or a part of their programming. Typically, the non-profit organizations present alongside a play that falls in line with their mission.

This Trail Talk will be happening in conjunction with their production of No AIDS, No Maids: Stories I can’t F*ckin Hear No More”, a one-woman play by Dee Dee Batteast.

In this one-woman performance, actress and teacher Dee Dee Batteast crafts a darkly humorous exploration of the obstacles minority storytellers face in the American media. No AIDS, No Maids looks hard at the archetypal and two-dimensional characters women of color have played for over 50 years and disassociates gay men from the pervasive narrative of disease. As we consider the roles that race and gender play in our political and cultural lives, Batteast’s work points out the poor nutrition of deficient narratives.
(More about this play here:

The Positive Youth Action Cohort would like to showcase the creative storytelling of HIV+ individuals, we are inviting on their behalf for any staff or clients at Damien Center to participate. If you write poetry, lyrics, or short stories and would enjoy having a space to be heard creatively, this is your opportunity to do so.

No AIDS, No Maids calls for more creative representation for Black women and gay men other than replaying traumatic histories on repeat. Positive Youth Action wants this event to do exactly that and provide a space to celebrate and bring to the forefront the fact that HIV+ individuals are far more than their diagnosis.

We are hoping to have five folks contribute creatively along with members of our cohort and be given an audience to hear their words. If someone has something they’d like to share but would not like to read it or share it themselves, we can work with the writer and the cohort to arrange for one of the young folks to share it for them. Those that participate will be given tickets to a performance of No AIDS, No Maids, courtesy of Phoenix Theatre.

If you are interested in participating or having your creative works highlighted, please reach out to Evren Elliott [email protected].

Client Advisory Board

Damien Center welcomes all clients who want to contribute to the organization’s mission to be a part of the Client Advisory Board. The Client Advisory Board, or CAB, is a space for clients to come and talk through client services and how we can better them as an organization. We want to create a safe space for client’s voices to be heard so that we can build new programs and services as well as continue to make changes in existing programs and services as needed.

The Client Advisory Board will meet on the fourth Thursday of each month at 1:15 – 2:15 PM. Clients who attend will receive a $20 gift card for attending the meeting as well as lunch. If you are interested in being a part of CAB, please contact Chris Feagans [email protected] or contact your care team.

CAB Information:

  • Starts March 24th, Every fourth Thursday of the Month
  • 1:15 –2:15pm
  • Contact: Chris Feagans

Tataya Mato

Damien Center is partnering with Jameson Camp again to bring back Camp Tataya Mato for children and youth between the ages of 7 to 17. Jameson Camp is located on Indy’s Westside and offers the only camp program in Indiana that serves children and youth who are affected by or have family members that are affected by HIV/AIDS.

Tataya Mato is a 6-day/7-night camp that offers all traditional camp activities such as archery, arts and crafts, rock climbing, ropes course, and many other activities. The camp combines traditional camp activities with daily lessons to help with character development and personal growth. Campers are immersed in a supportive environment that allows them to interact with other children their age who have gone through similar experiences to them.

Damien Center clients who have children or grandchildren are interested in attending camp this year will receive financial assistance to do so, however, clients will be responsible for the $5.00 registration fee for their children or grandchildren. Camp Tataya Mato will be held on July 10th – July 15th and is an overnight camp. For any questions or concerns that clients have regarding camp, please contact our Family Support Specialist, Diana Owens, MSW [email protected].

Support Group Reminders

Trans and Non-Binary Support Group

The Trans and Non-Binary Support Group is an open support group for Trans and Non-Binary individuals. The group is led by Erica Cox and creates a safe space for Trans and Non-binary folks to come to receive encouragement and talk about real-life situations to increase resilience and strengths. The group was created to help reduce isolation and create a sense of belonging. Group Information: Every other Thursday Runs from 6p - 7:30p Contact: Erica Cox [email protected]

Women’s Support Group

The Women’s Support Group is a space where women who engage with the Damien Center can come to talk about everyday struggles and have a safe space to talk through what is happening in their lives. The group is led by Annie Nelson, Kelsey Wolf, and Stephanie Hambrick. The Women’s Support Group meets bi-monthly. Group Information: 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month, 11a - 12p Damien Center Board Room Contact: Annie Nelson [email protected]

Youth Support Group

The Youth Support Group started the first week of March 2022. The group provides a safe space for youth and young adults to come and share their common experiences with one another. The group will be led by Evren Elliott and will serve anyone between the ages of 13-24 years old. Group Information: 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month, 6p – 7p Damie Contact: Evren Elliott [email protected]