here to schedule an appointment at the PATH Center
Kenneth Mitchell, Peer Educator in The PATH Center, is painting a mural on the wall of the PATH Family Program at Caledonian - a gift to the children who are seen in PATH. Karen Thompson, the Program's Coordinator, asked Mr. Mitchell if he would consider lending his talent.
"I felt honored that she chose me to do it," Mr. Mitchell said. "I wanted to give back something extra, because so much has been given to me. This is my second home, my family. Everyone here has become family to me."
Mr. Mitchell has been a PATH patient since 1999. He graduated from the Music and Arts High School, the School of Visual Arts, and the Arts Student League. Until he was diagnosed with HIV, he was a textile designer and painter. He says that with his diagnosis, he re-evaluated his place in life, learned to take care of himself, and wants to help others do the same. That is why he became a Peer Educator in The PATH Center and, more recently, a Treatment Education/Adherence Counselor at CAMBA, a community agency near Caledonian.
At night, Mr. Mitchell is studying to become a CASAC - a Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor. "There is a strong connection between substance use and compliance with care," he says. "I wanted to paint something for the PATH children that represents the neighborhood - multicultural, including African-American, Asian and Caucasian children - so whoever walks in the door can identify. It also helps children take their minds off the fact that they're in a hospital - they feel more relaxed and cheerful.
Mr. Mitchell described his mural, explaining, "There are bodegas, but also greenery. There are kids playing baseball, balloons, a fruit stand - just a simple, friendly look." Mr. Mitchell says his experience with The Brooklyn Hospital Center - and his health outcomes - have been very positive: "My HIV viral load went down from 300,000 to less than 100, and my T-cells went up from 98 to 866."
On a closing note, Mr. Mitchell added, "Every encounter I've had in this institution has been a good one. Everyone I talk to gives me something. Everything about being here has been a phenomenal experience. There's no day I wake up that don't want to come here - this is my home. I have a real sense of belonging."
Those interested in viewing the mural may phone The PATH Center 's Caledonian office: 718/940-5930 - thank you!