(Plain Press, October 2015) Sister Susan Zion, executive director of Ursuline Piazza at St. Augustine Manor announced that Ohio House District 13 State Representative Nickie J. Antonio is the recipient of the 2015 Ursuline Piazza Red Ribbon Award. Representative Antonio will receive the award on September 26th at the organization’s A Cause for Clams fundraiser.
The Ursuline Piazza Red Ribbon is awarded each year to those who have gone above and beyond and have made a significant difference in the HIV/AIDS services and resources community.
“Nickie has done so much for the community at large, going beyond her role as State Representative. She finds time to meet with me regularly to discuss issues related to Ursuline Piazza, the St. Augustine Health Ministries, our clients, and how to best make a difference in supporting the HIV-infected community,” says Sr. Zion.
Antonio is a founding member and past Chair of the NorthCoast HIV/AIDS Coalition. She helped plan for the comprehensive delivery of HIV/AIDS services and allocation of resources for the Transitional Grant Area. She was responsible for helping the Coalition to identify HIV positive individuals, see that they are linked into care and stay in care.
Representative Antonio is ranking member of the Ohio House Health and Aging Committee. She also serves on the Finance and Appropriations Committee, Finance Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee and the Joint Legislative Committee for Unified Long-Term Services and Supports. Ohio House District 123 covers the City of Lakewood in its entirety and parts of western Cleveland including Detroit Shoreway, Stockyard, West Boulevard, and Cudell neighborhoods and part of the Ohio City neighborhood.
Founded in 2007, the Ursuline Piazza program is a ministry of the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland. Ursuline Piazza addresses gaps in services for those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Services provided include counseling, social services, transportation and educational programming.
Participation in the Ursuline Piazza program increases the likelihood that the HIV-positive client will remain compliant with their care regimens. The Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland partnered with St. Augustine Manor in 2007 to serve HIV-positive adults from Cuyahoga County who are low-income (at or below the poverty level), chemically dependent, minority, from emerging sub-populations and suffering from mental health issues.
The program educated and supports HIV-positive people to live better and healthier lives. It promotes the wellbeing of those affected and infected with HIV/AIDS regardless of the individual’s race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious affiliation.
The term “Piazza” was specifically chosen for the name of the program. A piazza is an open, public area found in many Italian cities. Born in Brescia, Italy, Ursuline founder Saint Angela Merici directed her followers to be “Living Piazzas” where all are welcome. The Ursuline Sisters began serving in the Diocese of Cleveland in 1850, becoming the first order of religious women to serve in the diocese.