Take Five with Christopher Balthazar of TaskForce Prevention & Community Services
Take Five is an interview series that highlights Polk Bros. Foundation grantee partners who are taking impressive actions to overcome common challenges and who make a difference for Chicagoans most affected by poverty and inequity. We believe these insights are critical for Chicago’s future.
2022: Food giveaway by LGBTQ youth group in Austin aims to sow goodwill among neighbors: ‘Community is community’
An Austin community center for LGBTQ youth of color gave away 110 bags of fresh produce to address food insecurity while building relationships within the neighborhood.
2022: Fresh produce giveaway scheduled in Austin
An Austin community center for LGBTQ youth of color will host the event, which will be open to anyone. Organizers hope it will foster goodwill among the broader Austin community.
2022: West Side monkeypox vaccine site draws eager shot-seekers from all over
News of a walk-in-only jab site at an Austin community center for Black and Brown LGBTQ youth has brought in people from different parts of the city — and state — searching for the monkeypox vaccine.
2022: Monkeypox concern grows as virus spreads in Chicago: ‘They need to get loud about this’
Christopher Balthazar, executive director of TaskForce Prevention and Community Services, said the city has targeted communities of color in its vaccination efforts. The West Side organization provides health and social services to LGBTQ youth of color and has vaccinated 216 people for monkeypox so far. TaskForce will continue to host vaccination clinics twice a week.
But he said the people it serves are often unaware of monkeypox and they’re working to teach people about the virus.
“They need to get loud about this,” Balthazar said.
2022: Nonprofit Taskforce Runs Vogue School for LGBTQ Youth in West Side
TaskForce Prevention and Community Services in Austin is a grassroots nonprofit committed to the sexual health and wellbeing of LGBTQ youth of color in Chicago, and they also run Vogue School, a safe space for the youth to explore the art of voguing.
2021: Students Who Rocked Public Health
We are delighted to bring you our annual round-up of Students Who Rocked Public Health. Mr. Balthazar received an honorable mention for his community-academic research partnership between TaskForce and the University of Chicago.
2021: Developing Community-Academic HIV Research Partnerships in Chicago
Are you interested in developing a new community research collaboration, but don’t know where to start? The Ending the HIV Epidemic Scientific Working Group (EHE SWG) and Community Collaboration Board will host a forum tailored to CFAR faculty and community members interested in developing new HIV research collaborations. Three community-academic pairs with current partnerships will present, including Christopher V. Balthazar and Darnell Motley.
2021: Taskforce Awarded by the Office of the Mayor of Chicago
To kickoff LGBTQ+ Pride 2021, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot awarded four Chicago community based organizations, including TaskForce. Reyna Ortiz, Taskforce Program Director accepted on behalf of the agency.
2021: Seguimos Aquí Documentary
During the lockdown period in 2020, four LGBTQ+ identifying Latinx Chicagoans were interviewed regarding their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. This short documentary includes an interview with Reyna Ortiz, the Program Director at Taskforce.
2021: Supporting the Illinois General Assembly Bill HB2542 for Name Change Registration
This year we joined the call to adopt HB2542.
2021: Congratulations to the Winter 2021 Community Collaborative Awardees
Drs. John Schneider and Jenny Trinitapoli, the Developmental Core leaders, and CFAR director, Dr. Richard D’Aquila, would like to congratulate the investigators recently selected for Community Collaborative Awards. These $10,000 grants support exploratory research within community-academic partnerships. Working as Co-Principal Investigators, leaders from an academic institution and a community organization develop innovative ideas that lay the groundwork for future collaborative NIH-funded HIV research.
2018: Posse Ball
The Posse Project research study trained popular opinion leaders to conduct HIV prevention via peer to peer health education. This project ran from 2012 through 2019. The final ball was held in December of 2018.
2018: Inside the Vogue School
For years, LGBTQ+ youth of color have met in a West Side storefront to practice the iconic dance form. Now, it’s at risk of closure.
2018: Turning Young People on to HIV Prevention
Advocates still struggle to promote PrEP among young people of color. By Enid Vázquez. July 25, 2018. Featuring "Helping Young People Talk About Sex" with Christopher V. Balthazar, and "Youth Attitudes About PrEP" with Raymond McPherson.