I hope this letter finds you all well and healthy!  As you all know or maybe some of you do not know, I have been working with RipplePHX for the past year on a project where a great team and I have been actively educating the community about HIV and HIV prevention. When I was first approached about this opportunity to work with this project I was immediately excited and very interested. What I did not know when I signed up for this was how much fun I was going to have and how much I was going to learn. I also did not know I was going to make such great friends with everyone involved in the project in which I am now blessed to call my family! I have not only made great connections with my team but this project also allowed me to make great connections with many people, like yourself, all over Arizona and across the country through our Lotería game nights every Thursday! Seeing so much support from so many people really was incredible and heartwarming. Just to know that I have made an impact on at least one person’s life really means the world to me and I can’t thank RipplePHX enough for allowing me to experience this.

Throughout the year we have talked about many topics and have selected many different articles that are all on our website to share with you. Although all topics were very important, I would like to focus on one that I felt was most important to me. Getting tested. Getting tested is extremely important because well it lets you know if you are positive or negative for HIV. Knowing your status can not only save your life but also the lives of other people. I was very happy to find out that there are now ways you can test yourself in the privacy and comfort of your own home! One of the perks of registering and playing Lotería with us every Thursday night was being able to order a Free at home HIV test kit. I think that is Awesome and has been helpful for so many people, especially during these tough times. One of the project’s main goals is for everyone to know their status! I am so grateful for organizations like RipplePHX who provide people with all the information and resources needed and also provide an outlet for those struggling. We are all in this together and no one is alone! My goal for you all and my hopes is that you all share the love. And by that I mean spread the word about HIV and HIV prevention. Nothing is more effective and more powerful than word of mouth. The more people know about HIV and understand it the more we can all help to end it! We need to not be ashamed and instead be supportive of one another.

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us with this project and have helped us towards reaching our goals! It has been an honor working with RipplePHX and getting to know so many great people in the process! Hosting Lotería and interacting with you all has been magical and such a blessing. It was so inspiring and beautiful to hear all of your personal stories. Thank you to everyone who clicked and viewed our articles, registered to play Lotería, signed our guest books every month and helped share all the information. You all are simply the best and we could not have done any of this without your support. I hope to keep working with you all again next year. Special shout out and thank you to the National Library of Medicine for funding this project and thank you to Stacy’s for being our home bar and having us before Covid-19. Thank you RipplePHX (Jeremy, Jason and AJ) for being such amazing human beings and for doing such great work! You all truly are a blessing to us all! Thank you to my wonderful team Aubrey, Celeste, Geo, Jimena, Aj, Saszy and Karloz for the short time he was with us. It has been an honor and a pleasure getting to know you all and to work with you! I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed holiday season! Cherish every moment and don’t forget to tell your friends and family how much you love them! Be safe and I hope to see you all again next year for Round 2! I love you all so much!

Love Always,
Raul St James