Wednesday, October 13, 2010

We Are Inspired By This BOSS: Zina Age

Zina Age, a native of New Orleans is the President/ CEO /Founder of Aniz, Inc. a 501(c)(3)non-profit community-based agency established in the state of Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi to provide comprehensive health and awareness education and prevention services for disadvantaged minority youth, young adults and families, and to provide skills training for organizations that implement disease prevention and health promotion programs.

Between 1994-1996, Zina Age, a graduate student of Clark Atlanta University School of Social Work, was fulfilling her internship at Outreach, Inc. a community-based HIV/AIDS service agency located in Southwest Atlanta. Her major duties were to administer psychosocial assessments and to conduct family support groups with clients on a regular basis, not realizing that her heart was concerning the children of these clients.
During this period, Zina began to observe the children playing in the corner of the room while their parents were involved in-group. Unrecognized by the agency, the children were totally ignored for their unmet needs and therefore were unable to learn about HIV and it's at risk factors as some of them were infected themselves.

In 1996, Zina Age was offered a full-time permanent job at Outreach, Inc. with similar responsibilities as during her internship. Her concern for the children continued to be a major burden until one day she confronted her desire to do something about the needs of these infected/affected children.
Zina began to organize her thoughts and began to put things in perspective. She spoke with the Executive Director of the agency about the idea of implementing the children's program onsite. The idea was to involve the children of clients in structured therapeutic groups rather than having them idle and discontented at this adult serviced agency. This was the beginning of Zina Age's realization with children infected/affected by HIV/AIDS.

As a devoted child advocate since 1989, Zina Age has provided direct services to children in a variety of case circumstances such as child abuse, children victimized by violent crimes, HIV infected/affected children, severely emotional disturbed children, children that abuse drugs, and juvenile delinquents, etc. However, the significance of Age's work with children has been through the avenues of working with adult Persons Living with the HIV/AIDS (PLWH).

Since 1987, Zina Age's interest with respect to the field of HIV/AIDS has increasingly grown and her efforts to serve "people living with HIV" (PLWH) are finally paying off.
Since 1998 Aniz, Inc. has grown fruitfully and now has six major components:

  1. WE WANT TO KNOW (We Want To Know)
  2. AFLASH (Adolescent Females Learning About Surviving Healthy)
  3. Grandparents Hands
  4. ROSHA (Reaching Out to Sisters with HIV/AIDS)
  5. SATCH (Substance Abuse Treatment Center for Affected/Infected with HIV)
  6. HHRP (Holistic Harm Reduction Program)
In 2003, Ms. Age established the Aniz Baton Rouge Satellite office in Louisiana. In 2005, during the first six weeks after Katrina, Ms. Age under Aniz, Inc .operated out of the River Center working under the Louisiana State Office of Emergency Preparedness, through a contract with Baton Rouge General Hospital, to provide services to those impacted by the hurricane. As a member of the Emergency Preparedness team, Aniz, Inc. served as the liaison to coordinate the efforts of local agencies serving HIV sero-positive and opiate addicted individuals. Ms. Age continuously seeks ways to positively impact the lives of people around the world.
Over the past ten years, Zina Age has become a world traveler in which she has visited several cities in the Unites states and abroad including France, Spain, Japan, Jamaica and several African countries. Her collaboration with these sister countries has certainly produced a network of friends with cohorts in these foreign countries.

Born in St. Pedro, California Zina Age is the oldest of three children raised in a military family. Ms. Age attended John Ehert High School, where she was State Champion in 3 events and All-American for 3-years in Track and Field, for which she received 35 scholarships. Ms. Age obtained a Bachelor of Science of Psychology in 1988 at Louisiana State University. From 1986–1988, Ms. Age was on the NCAA National Championship for Track and Field, and also participated in the 1988 United Stated Olympic Trials for Seoul Korea. Received her Masters of Social Work degree in 1996 from Clark/Atlanta University, and a Masters Addiction Counselor (1997) through the National Association of Forensic Counselors.

Come meet this BOSS "Influencer", and our 9 other phenomenal honorees, at The BOSS Network's "Influencers" event on October 13, 2010 in in Atlanta, GA. You can register for the event here. Come out and be inspired!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome Organization with a very passionate and focused leader. Keep doing what you're doing, it's much needed.