Tag Archives: Wendell Hicks

Grand opening of Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th for LGBTQ Youth



 “ The Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF) is proud to announce the opening of Tucson’s newest youth center, the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th. To mark the grand opening, SAAF invites the community and media representatives to attend a Ribbon Cutting and Open House on January 18, 2018 from 11:30-1pm at the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th, 526 North 4th Avenue.

 The objective of the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th is to serve youth through programming, direct client services, and community engagement, with a direct focus on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) youth. The central program of the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th is Eon, a safe space for LGBTQ & allied youth. At Eon, youth can work on homework, access art programming through a collaborative with the Museum of Contemporary Art, participate in peer-to-peer education opportunities and harm-reduction, empowerment-driven programming. In addition to Eon, SAAF will collocate other youth programming at the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th in order to best serve the community.

 The center is named after Curtis Thornhill, originally from southern Arizona. Mr. Thornhill said: “I am very excited to be part of a project giving youth, especially LGBTQ youth, a safe space in southern Arizona. The Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th will remind our whole community that our youth are loved and welcome.”

 SAAF’s Executive Director, Wendell Hicks, added: “SAAF has always been driven by transformative action. The Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th will change and save the lives of many, many youths and I couldn’t be prouder of that.” Adam Ragan, SAAF’s Associate Director of LGBTQ Initiatives noted: “What started a couple years ago as a dream of a few in the community is now a reality. Youth will have a safe space to access programs, education, art, and most importantly, each other. We know the power of peer-to-peer programming can really impact the lives of youth for years to come.”

Continue reading

New SAAF Center for LGBTQ Youth to open in 2017

Date:            For Immediate Release, 1/10/2017
Contact:       Wendell Hicks,Executive Director
Ethan Smith Cox, Director of Development
(520) 547-6105
SAAF is very excited to announce its newest project to support the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community, the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th- A SAAF Place for Youth. This project will create a dedicated space on 4th avenue which will house several of SAAF’s LGBTQ youth-centered prevention programs, including Eon, HIV Youth Peer Education (HYPE), and Arizona’s Life Links for Youth (Project ALLY). This newest initiative is being funded through a $1.8 million capital campaign which began in March 2016 and has raised more than $1.5 million, to date.
Curtis Thornhill, a Tucson native who now calls Salt Lake City “home”, has provided the lead gift for the campaign and has challenged SAAF to raise an additional $300,000 by the end of March 2017. Thornhill stated, “I was born in Tucson and grew up in southern Arizona. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love and support of amazing mentors who have guided and challenged me to reach my full potential. The Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th is an opportunity to equip a new generation with the same gifts.”
The Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th will provide a safe space as well as skills-building, advocacy, and culturally competent care to LGBTQ youth and their allies ages 13-26. SAAF Executive Director Wendell Hicks, says, “Since taking over many initiatives from Wingspan, southern Arizona’s LGBTQ community center for more than a quarter century, 2 & ½ years ago, we here at SAAF have searched for the right way to re-launch LGBTQ programming in Tucson in a sustainable way that was directly responsive to community needs and immediately addressed gaps in services. The Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th will do just that. We are so fortunate for the support of Mr. Thornhill as well as the nearly 100 other donors to the campaign, so far.”
Members of the media are invited to an invitation-only groundbreaking event taking place on Tuesday January 24, 2017 at 4:00pm at the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th, located at 526 North 4th Avenue. Mr. Thornhill and SAAF staff will be available for interviews prior to the event. Please contact Ethan Smith Cox, SAAF Director of Development, at (520) 547-6105, to schedule an interview time.
For more information, visit www.centeron4th.org.

Provocative Möda Provŏcateūr 2015


A Different Kind of Fashion Show

The 12th Annual Möda Provŏcateūr, presented by Title Sponsor, FreedomSmoke International, and supported by Arizona Lottery and WABA Hair Supply is an event celebrating the best of Tucson style while raising funds for the programs and services of the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF). The Tucson Convention Center Grand Ballroom will be a perfect place to showcase salons including: Ahead of Style; Avalon for Hair, Skin & Nails; The Industry Hair Studio; Salon de Nouveau; Ulta; Toni & Guy; Twisted Salon; and Village Salon.

The evening will include performances from BreakOut Studios and Artifact Dance Project as well as winning fashions from “Project Möda”, an annual design contest that seeks out the best designers in Tucson and tasks them with creating edgy, avant-garde designs to be featured at the event.

Don’t miss out on this year’s incredible, over-the-top event. We’ll see you there!

Purchase tickets online here: http://saafmoda.saaf.org/purchase-tickets/. General admission $40; Hi Top Cocktail Table Seating: $100 each/$400 per table (4 seats). 

Continue reading

SAAF takes on two Wingspan programs


Press release from So. AZ Aids Foundation:

(Tucson)— The board of directors for the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF) unanimously voted Tuesday evening to move forward with plans to take on Wingspan, Tucson’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community center, and its programs. The SAAF Board has agreed to immediately take on and continue 2 of Wingspan’s most vital programs, the Anti-Violence Project and Eon Youth Lounge. These 2 programs and associated staff will move to SAAF this Friday August 1.

SAAF Board President Miguel Cruz stated, “This is an incredible opportunity to enhance SAAF’s already strong programs while maintaining Wingspan’s vital & critical community outreach. Simply put, the SAAF Board of Directors could not imagine a community without these programs and our vote to continue Wingspan’s work is well-aligned with SAAF’s mission of creating and sustaining a healthier community”.

Continue reading

Exciting photo gallery of 2014 Jell-O Wrestling extravaganza

If you missed the 2014 Jell-O Wrestling benefit and extravaganza for Southern AZ Aids Foundation (SAAF) on Saturday May 3, here’s a photo gallery of some of the matches, courtesy of T-Media Promotion (except for two photos as noted courtesy of the contestants). My previous post on the day after the event is here. Over $56,000 was raised at this popular event, now in it’s 27th year.

DIVA Mistress of Ceremonies Lucinda Holliday welcoming the corwd

DIVA Mistress of Ceremonies Lucinda Holliday welcoming the crowd at the Slaughterhouse

SAAF Executive Director Wendell Hicks welcoming everyone, and thanking them for supporting the work of SAAF

SAAF Executive Director Wendell Hicks welcoming everyone, and thanking them for supporting the work of SAAF

Continue reading

Over $56,000 raised at Jell-O Wrestling benefit for SAAF

Imagine yourself in a vat  about 7 ft x 7 ft of cold blue/green/orange colored jello,  wrestling another human being, in front of a wild crowd of about 400 adults.  Well, that was the enthusiastic performance of 9 teams last night at the Slaughterhouse on 1102 W. Grant Rd. (east of the I-10) for the 27th annual Jell-O Wrestling event  to benefit SAAF (So. AZ Aids Foundation).

Before and during the matches, little containers (“jello shots”) of lime/orange/strawberry/blackberry jello (with vodka or rum) were sold to the audience.  I confess I had at least 3 of them. The fun began with Mistress of Ceremonies DIVA Lucinda Holliday introducing other Divas (including Miss Gay Arizona) who sang throughout the evening, while people donated funds in plastic buckets or fishing nets to SAAF.  9 different teams of two each wrestled from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. along with a live auction of lovely art, gift baskets, restaurant meals, and hotel nights in Mexico.  The auctions bids ranged from $20 to $1000, and it was announced that over $50,000 was raised last night.

SAAF Executive Director Wendell Hicks just informed me that the final figure raised was over $56,000.


L-r: Woman with pink hair, Mia Hansen, Kurt Tallis - before the wrestling match (courtesy of Mia)

L-R: Shawn Kaylor (the Tucson Tamale Fairy) , Mia Hansen, Kurt Tallis – before the wrestling match (photo courtesy of Mia)

Continue reading