Deneen Robinson serves as the Program Director for The Afiya Center, but her commitment to service began her service work at an early age. As her mother likes to say, she has always been helping someone. She served in her church locally as a young girl and was the BTU Sword champion because she had the best partner – her granny who she affectionately called ‘Mama’. While in school, Deneen mastered the piano, the oboe and the flute. After playing for the flute for many years, she became the solo flautist for the Skyline Honors Band in her senior year of High School. After a period of being homeless due to leaving her marriage, Deneen would return to school and raise her two daughters in Austin, Texas. During her last year of school, she became ill and while hospitalized, learned she was indeed HIV+. This new information was the catalyst for many changes. She moved back to Dallas after being told she had a short time to live.
The diagnosis took her life on a different course. Her course can be summed up in this statement: “I want to plant seeds so my daughters will remember me.” So the journey in living with, understanding, educating and ultimately becoming an advocate for herself and others impacted by HIV began. Throughout the last twenty-five years, she has planted many seeds. Her work began as a personal quest to understand so she could be here for her children. Then others saw and begin to ask her questions. One of her most noted accomplishments in Dallas, Texas is the women’s group, At the Kitchen Table she began in September 1999 with the help of other staffers at Resource Center Dallas. In March of 2000, she participated in the African American HIV University Fellowship in Los Angeles. The Fellowship gave her the additional skills needed to educate, write and teach on all aspects of HIV disease. Today, Deneen is a highly-accomplished author and consultant, and she continues her work as an educator through the program, Living Out Loud with Purpose that provides educational and psychosocial support for women living with HIV.