Background & History
Amethyst Women’s Project began in 1999 as a volunteer grass roots outreach, counseling and referral service for drug dependent women living in Coney Island. Its founder and current Executive Director, Aida Leon, a native Coney Islander, conceived the vision that gave rise to Amethyst and has led the initiative since its inception. On January 19, 2000 the organization received its advance ruling for recognition of tax exemption under section 501(c) (3) retroactive to March 1, 1999.
In May, 2001 AWP moved to its current offices at 1907 Mermaid Avenue in the heart of Coney Island. In 2004 AWP was awarded its first major grant from the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute to provide HIV outreach and prevention education services for women using drugs and at high risk of HIV infection. Shortly thereafter Amethyst was funded by the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) to provide HIV Counseling, Testing & Referral (CTR) services. Amethyst offers free services that focus on women and their partners who are at high risk of exposure to HIV/AIDS. Amethyst also works with the children of at risk women who may also be victims of domestic violence and substance abuse. AWP services include: peer led targeted and enhanced outreach and HIV prevention education, harm reduction, public health education, HIV counseling and testing services, community presentations, and intake and referral services. Amethyst also focuses on community mobilization events on World AIDS Day, National HIV Testing Day, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, National Latino HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, among others. Amethyst is currently funded through federal, state and local government grants, discretionary grants, foundation and corporate grants, and individual giving.