Aniz, Inc. promotes emotional and physical wellness by providing mental health, substance use counseling, support services, and sexual health education.
To use a Holistic Harm Reduction approach/model with individuals to develop effective strategies that address issues impacting their overall quality of life.
In 1991 Zina Age had a godson who was very sick and needed immediate medical attention.
After traveling from doctor to doctor they saw a physician at Scottish Rite Hospital where he
was diagnosed with HIV.
As you can imagine, this was devastating news for Zina who was completely uneducated on HIV/AIDS. Despite her lack of personal knowledge, she searched tirelessly to find an agency that provided guidance, intervention and support services to families and children struggling with this condition. Unfortunately, the results of her investigation indicated that no formalized services for children directly affected by HIV/AIDS existed within the Metro Atlanta region.
Disappointed by her reality, she felt that GOD had now revealed her calling. As a graduate student at Clark Atlanta University School of Social Work, Zina Age began an internship at Outreach, Inc. a community based HIV/AIDS service agency in Southwest Atlanta. Her major duties were administering psychosocial assessments and conducting family support groups for adult clients. During her time at Outreach, Ms. Age observed children being brought in and pushed in a corner with a coloring book, as their parents went through therapy sessions and support groups. She wondered, “When do these children get support for what they have witnessed and experienced? Do we just continue the same abuses on to the next generation?” As time went on, her heart grew more concerned about the fate and future of these children, some of whom were infected with HIV as well.
Committed to her purpose, Zina vowed to become an advocate for children both affected by and infected with HIV. She begin concentrating her efforts on their unmet need by exploring resources that served this unique population. Called to action, Ms. Age began to organize her thoughts and develop a solution. She spoke with the executive director of Outreach, Inc. about implementing a children’s program onsite. Her idea was to involve the children of clients in structured therapeutic groups rather than having them sit idle while their parents received treatment. In late 1996, her idea of working with HIV infected/affected children became a reality. The initial program she created at Outreach, Inc. was later titled “We Want To Know” which consists of activities that promote prevention and risk education for children ages 17 and under.
Impressed by her efforts, a group of dedicated professionals and paraprofessionals joined her to support the development of an independent organization; attending numerous planning meetings and working through strategies to expand Zina’s initiative. Soon Ms. Age formalized her idea by applying for incorporation, naming the initiative Aniz, Inc