Andrew Buleza

General Information


President and Co-founder - WE


Board Member - Holy Resurrection Orthodox Cathedral

Active Member - Holy Resurrection Orthodox Cathedral

Board Member - Care HIV/AIDS Support Network Inc

Recent News  

We Care HIV/AIDS Support Network, Inc

Kim, Sherry, Michael, Andrew greet the guests.
Andrew, President/Co-Founder of WE CARE welcomes the guests. Andrew introduces Dave Jay, our tarot card reader. Cowpokes of all shapes and sizes moseyed into Andrew Buleza's Wilkes-Barre backyard on Sunday afternoon, many sporting Western boots and fringthat would have done Marshal Dillon or Annie Oakley proud. "We should have a hitching post right here."Sorry to disappoint you, pardners, but none of the approximately 150 guests who attended Buleza's "The Wild Wild West" party - his 14th annual fundraiser for We Care HIV/AIDS Support Network Inc. - arrived on horseback. "It's a celebration of life," said Buleza, who is himself HIV positive. "And We Care is all about unconditional love."As he carried baskets of Western-themed DVDs to give out as prizes, Buleza paused long enough to say last year's party raised $8,000 in three hours. Because of the struggling economy this year, he said it was difficult to predict how much the party might raise through ticket sales, raffles and donations. We Care has 48 members who receive visits and gift cards throughout the year, Buleza said.

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The Citizens Voice

Andrew Buleza, president and co-founder of We Care AIDS/HIV Support Network, mingled among the guests in an elaborate green and gold brocade costume highlighted with white feathers."I'm Chief AIDS Warrior," he explained proudly.The annual event, now in its seventh year, is both We Care's sole operating budget fundraiser and a celebration of Buleza's birthday.It is by invitation only and has a different theme each year.This year's theme was "Carnivale."Buleza said he was told by a Hollywood friend, "Never do a fund-raiser in a negative fashion," which led him to start the tradition of the Enchanted Garden Party."It's a party for everyone who wants to celebrate life," he said.That is something Buleza does daily.He was diagnosed with HIV in 1993, and was told by his doctor he had two years to live.Having somewhere to go, something to do, and something to live for can keep you going.In addition to working with We Care, Buleza is very active in his church, and teaches dance.Buleza founded "We Care" in 1996 with a small group of people.Since then, it has grown to 15 board members, has been incorporated, and serves at least 40 people.The purpose of "We Care" is to help HIV-positive people who aren't getting the support they need from their human-services agencies."We help people who get cut off, dropped through the cracks," Buleza said.Another reason for the Enchanted Garden Party is to educate people about HIV and AIDS.Buleza refers to it as a "soft sell."People who are HIV-positive don't always have AIDS, and the virus is not spread through casual contact, but through blood, drug use, or unprotected sex.You can't get HIV by socializing with, hugging, or shaking hands with someone who is HIV-positive."It's important to educate the Valley that this four-letter word is livable," he said."When I talk to Andy through the years, it's like rooting him on.I'm glad he's still with us," Charlie Hayes said of Buleza.Jo Ann Heckman, Buleza's case manager at Catholic Social Services, played a drum duet with Tony Arnold of Scranton."It's kind of a labor of love," Buleza said as he flipped through the pages, pointing out lost friends and "AIDS buddies.""It's very prevalent in the area, and unfortunately people here, like with heroin addiction, don't want to talk about it," he said.

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Orthodox Church in America - The Hub for Youth and Young Adult Ministries

In January, 1996, Arlene Kallaur, Editor of the Resource Handbook for Lay Ministries and Michael Anderson, OCA Director of Office of the Youth and Young Adults, met with Andrew Buleza, a member of Holy Resurrection Orthodox Cathedral in Wilkes Barre, PA along with his pastor, V. Rev. Joseph Martin.
Andrew Buleza gave the following interview: Andrew: It was October of 1993. The flu was going around and many people were ill with pneumonia. My physician was treating me for a cold at the time. Due to my extensive work schedule, improper eating schedule and insufficient proper rest, we treated the fatigue and night sweats as "not out of the ordinary"; he called it "over-work." After six weeks of doctoring, and no improvement with my health, I insisted on an HIV Test. Six years prior, I had requested the test from my physician, but he said I was not in a "high risk" group and the test was unnecessary. (The test is administered only after you prove "high risk" and know when you may have been exposed to the virus or may have been exposed through an unknown source. Andrew: My mother and father passed on in 1985 and 1986. Andrew: What family that continued to live near me were elderly. Andrew: As an active member of Holy Resurrection Cathedral, serving as a church trustee, choir member, and now acolyte supervisor, it became difficult to "hide" me. My former pastor and I had a comfortable working relationship since 1970. He was my Spiritual Father. He learned of my diagnosis making his rounds at the hospital. At that time, he suggested that I not tell those in the congregation. Andrew: Most individuals who learn they are HIV+ never make public disclosure. Andrew: My life changed. Andrew: The best suggestion I could offer to any person or caregiver is to express your love and concern to the person directly. Andrew: An AIDS "Buddy" is a person who befriends a person living with AIDS. Andrew: Though my beliefs and practices in Orthodoxy have been well grounded, during the challenging years of my adolescence and later in my young adult years, the questioning of my faith was very real. Andrew: Since my AIDs diagnosis in December 1993, my heart has come to tell me that the Church has provided me with the hope to continue living. Andrew: As an HIV/AIDS instructor with the Red Cross, my presentations have directed me to local community groups and area high schools. Andrew Buleza is a member of Holy Resurrection Orthodox Cathedral in Wilkes Barre, PA and an HIV/AIDS Instructor for the American Red Cross.

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