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Centerstone Partners with Southern Word to Promote HIV Prevention Program in Middle Tennessee

Local teens write and star in public service announcements

Nashville, Tenn. – Centerstone, Tennessee’s leading not-for-profit provider of community- based mental health and addiction services, recently partnered with Southern Word, a not-for- profit presenter of spoken word poetry, education and youth development programs. The organizations collaborated to produce two 30-second public service announcements (PSAs) as part of Centerstone’s HIV/AIDS prevention program, Get REAL, Get Tested!

Carrying the message of Get REAL, Get Tested!, a prevention program aimed at reducing substance abuse and HIV transmission in youth ages 12 to 17, the PSAs will be featured during popular teen television shows. This project marks Centerstone’s second collaboration with Southern Word, formerly Youth Speaks Nashville. The organizations worked together last fall to create two 30-second PSAs and six web videos to launch Centerstone’s teen pregnancy prevention program, Be in Charge.

“We saw the impact of our Be in Charge PSAs, which reached 97 percent of 12 to 20-year-olds in the Middle Tennessee TV market, and we knew partnering with Southern Word again would be a creative and powerful way to communicate the message of Get REAL, Get Tested!,” said Doris Vaughan, Centerstone’s Director of Prevention Services. “This second collaboration was a natural fit. Both Centerstone and Southern Word work for and with youth, helping them express themselves in healthy ways and make educated decisions.”

Funded by a $1.7 million federal grant, Get REAL, Get Tested! has served Middle Tennessee since 2008. Over the five years of the grant, Get REAL, Get Tested! will reach over 2,200 youth and adults through education and community outreach aimed at preventing HIV/AIDS in Middle Tennessee’s youth. The program also provides participants with free rapid HIV testing, counseling and referrals.

The two 30-second PSAs will premiere August 6 and continue in rotation through August 26 on network and cable stations. The PSAs will also be available on Centerstone’s Prevention Services website at www.whoyouwant2be.org.

Centerstone’s Prevention Services provides educational programs to empower children, teens and their families to make positive decisions when faced with common, real-life issues such as alcohol and drug abuse, depression, bullying, teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and more.

Get REAL, Get Tested! is funded by a grant from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. It is offered to 13 counties in Middle Tennessee. For more information about Centerstone’s Prevention Services and Get REAL, please visit www.whoyouwant2be.org or contact Jillian Neal at 615-460-4181 or jillian.neal@centerstone.org.

About Centerstone

Centerstone, a not-for-profit organization, has provided a wide range of mental health and addiction services to people of all ages for more than 55 years. Through more than 50 facilities and 160 partnership locations across Middle Tennessee, Centerstone serves nearly 50,000 children, adolescents, adults and seniors each year. Centerstone is accredited by CARF International. For more information about Centerstone, please call 888-291-4357 or visit www.centerstone.org.

About Southern Word

Southern Word, formerly Youth Speaks Nashville, and their nationwide affiliates are the leading not-for-profit presenters of spoken word performance, education and youth development programs. Through the literary and performing arts, Southern Word offers creative solutions for youth to build literacy and presentation skills, reconnect to their education and lives and act as leaders in the improvement of their communities. For more information about Southern Word, please e-mail info@southernword.org or visit www.southernword.org.

Cast and crew on set of Get REAL PSA shoot

Cast and production crew on the set of the Get REAL PSA video shoot – from left to right: Jillian Neal, Media Specialist, Centerstone; Gloria Ballard, Assistant Director, Zoe Creative; D.J. Goller, Director, Zoe Creative; Kimani Jones, Poet, Southern Word; Amanda Howell, Poet, Southern Word; Jimmy Patterson, Director of Photography, Zoe Creative.

On set of Get REAL PSA video shoot

Creative Director D.J. Goller (right) of Zoe Creative talks with poets Kimani Jones (left) and Amanda Howell (center) of Southern Word on the set of the Get REAL PSA video shoot.