About Us

Our Mission

EXPONENTS is compassionately dedicated to serving those impacted by HIV/AIDS, substance use, incarceration, and behavioral health challenges. Our mission is to deliver these services through a client-centered, strength-based approach, which greatly improves health outcomes and promotes overall wellness in our communities.

Our Vision

Our dream is to create an equal playing field for all and live in a world without AIDS where addiction is treated as a health issue rather than a criminal one.

To Improve Health and Ignite Hope as we continue leading in the field of health education and wellness, and offer services that truly increase individuals’ self-management skills, self-esteem, and encourage better health choices.

Continue to be an organization that provides ultimate respect to its clients as we employ our strength-based approach of, “meeting people where they’re at.”

Our Overall Goal is to improve health and safety in our communities, lower health care cost, and reduce prison recidivism

Our Unique Values

  • The majority of our direct service staff have lived experience.
  • Overwhelmingly voluntary participation.
  • Encourage activism and advocacy as an empowerment part of treatment.
  • Positive reinforcement over punishment and shame.
  • Individualized paths to celebrating recovery.

Our History 

We began work with “ARRIVE” in 1988 a time when tens of thousands of People Who Use Drugs (PWUD) were becoming infected and dying from AIDS. There were tremendous fears both in the recently released parolees we were working with and the larger communities they were returning to. It was a time when there were no treatments and finding out you were HIV positive was akin to a death sentence. It was a time when many health care providers and drug programs refused to help PWUD who were infected. “ARRIVE” was a pilot project of National Development and Research Institutes, funded as a demonstration project by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It was one of the first government efforts addressing HIV/AIDS among PWUD in the country and one of the first programs of its kind.

Located in a Lower Eastside church basement amongst persons experiencing homelessness and the hungry, the “ARRIVE” project began offering HIV and drug relapse prevention classes to injecting drug users who had recently been released from prison. Seven men attended the first series of “ARRIVE” classes and five successfully completed the program. Our mission was to stop the spread of HIV and help those who were already living with it.

EXPONENTS is a client-driven rather than program-driven.

The individualized strategy responds to the changing personal needs of community members with histories of substance misuse and incarceration regardless of their stage of addiction and recovery. Many are at risk for or have diagnoses of HIV and Hepatitis C. EXPONENTS has assisted individuals in stabilizing their lives through health and wellness training; access to primary and mental health care and professional development programs for employment in health care and substance misuse fields. We assist our clients in learning that their past life experiences have value and that they can draw on those experiences to direct their futures into purposeful lives.


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