HIPS Needs Help

Volunteers needed to provide safety info, counseling, and other needs to DC sex workers

Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS) will hold its quarterly volunteer orientation — a requirement for anyone hoping to volunteer for the organization — on Saturday, May 12, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the HIPS offices in Adams Morgan.

While the HIPS mission to help sex workers in D.C. lead healthy lives is not specifically aimed at the GLBT community, Outreach Director Jeffrey Chubb says that the 14-year-old organization’s client base disproportionately leans that way.

”The population we serve is about 40 percent female transgenders and 40 percent men who have sex with men [MSM],” explains Chubb. ”Some of those men identify as gay, some don’t.”

As for the volunteer positions available, the field is broad. HIPS needs volunteers interested in public health, HIV prevention, GLBT or sex-work issues to work in outreach, on the HIPS hotline or with various office duties.

”Our outreach is Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, from 11 p.m. to 5 in the morning,” says Chubb, of the HIPS staff and volunteers who drive through the city in search of sex workers — more than 100 nightly, on average — to provide them with sex education, counseling, safety materials, clothing and food. ”At most, there is one staff person in the van. So we need at least three volunteers to work those late-night hours. We’re constantly in need of volunteers because of the odd hours.”

For those who want to volunteer, but cannot commit to the demanding outreach hours, Chubb promises that there are a number of administrative duties awaiting volunteer attention during regular business hours.

For more information about the HIPS volunteer orientation, including the specific address, e-mail Syrena@HIPS.org, or call the organization at 202-232-8150. For general information, visit www.hips.org.

Follow Will O'Bryan on Twitter @wobryan.

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