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Volunteer Serving Community to Receive 2024 Leadership Award

jess-losoyaCentennial, Colorado/Tucson, Arizona — Jess Losoya is an inspiring Tucson leader who turned around his life after years of gang involvement, addiction, and incarceration.  He has been a leader in addiction treatment and recovery, and has made significant volunteer efforts in HIV awareness and support, as well as leadership in the LGBTQ+ community and in civic engagement.  Now, Losoya’s efforts are being recognized as he will be presented with the 2024 Leadership Award, presented by the Center for Health and Hope in collaboration with the Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network (TIHAN), for his extraordinary community service.

The award will be presented during the annual RED Concert benefit on March 3, 2024.  “Drawing wisdom from his own life experiences, Jess exemplifies leadership,” stated the Rev. Dr. Donald E. Messer, Executive Director of the Center for Health and Hope.  “Whether out front, or behind the scenes, Jess Losoya is a self-effacing, strategic servant leader who is recognized as a tireless advocate for people who are marginalized and stigmatized in our community.”

Scott Blades, Executive Director of TIHAN, commented, “Jess’ story inspires people.  Through his hard work, and with the support of his community, Jess has transformed his life 180 degrees, and part of that transformation was learning to focus outward, on helping people in need.  He has become a super-volunteer with TIHAN, making major contributions to our programs and services for people living with HIV and with our community awareness and fundraising events.  He connects people, and provides his care and support so well.”

Jess Losoya’s journey to recovery from crime and addiction to community leadership centers on Amity Foundation, a residential treatment program.  Coming out of prison, he enrolled at Amity, and has risen from a student (client) to become Vice President of Services and Training for the organization that served more than 18,000 people in 2023 in California and Arizona.  This year, Losoya celebrated the milestone that he has now had more years sober than he spent addicted to methamphetamines.

Among his job-related duties, Losoya serves as a mentor to many students, is a champion for LGBTQ+ staff and students, and leads the organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

“Over the 13 years I’ve had the privilege of knowing and working with Jess, I’ve been inspired by his passion for selfless service,” said Doug Bond, CEO of Amity Foundation. “His ability to connect people to one another and build new, strong bridges between justice- and recovery-focused organizations and the LGBTQ+ community makes the Amity Foundation a better and brighter place.  I know I speak for the entire Amity community when I say how proud we are to see Jess receive the 2024 Leadership Award; and how grateful we are to work alongside someone whose integrity, generosity, and vision continues to change the lives of so many.”

In addition to his community leadership in the HIV and LGBTQ+ communities, Losoya also volunteers on the Board of Directors for the YWCA of Southern Arizona, an organization focused on addressing racism, empowering women, and

“Jess is a compassionate and energetic board member who brings his skills in creating healing spaces that support acceptance and agency, which is already making a positive impact throughout our organization,” stated Magdalena Verdugo, CEO of the YWCA.

Additionally, Losoya is a champion of local restaurants and Tucson’s role as an International City of Gastronomy, and was appointed by Pima County Administrator Jan Lesher to serve on the Pima County Outside Agency to help make decisions about allocation of funding for social service programs throughout the county.

“Jess is one of most thoughtful, caring, and energetic people I know. As my appointee to the County’s Outside Agency Funding Commission, he helps ensure that the organizations aiding historically marginalized groups benefit from the County’s social service funding awards. He is a leader in every sense of the word and is well deserving of this honor,” said Lesher.

Losoya shared, “When I decided to stop using drugs and transform my life, I understood that assisting others would play a crucial role in my journey.  Having faced abuse, addiction, imprisonment, homelessness, rejection, and stigma, I empathize with these kinds of struggles.  Through experiencing both hardships and support, I recognize the importance of extending help as I have received it.  Losoya believes in not abandoning or stigmatizing anyone.  “The neglected child was me,” he shared.  “The individual navigating life without genuine companionship was me.  The person using drugs on the street corner was me.  The individual without a place to call home was me.  I realized 13 years ago that now it’s my time to be that caring person and give back to help restore dignity and justice, help others see their value, and create a future filled with hope and love.  I am grateful to receive this award, but I am most grateful to work with such inspiring people as we make a difference in lives every day.”

Whether Losoya is helping with TIHAN’s lunch and social program for people living with HIV, working with Amity to support people addressing addiction, bringing together community to celebrate positive developments and hope for the future, or working on a benefit concert to fund programs for people with HIV in Tucson or in Kenya, Jess Losoya’s example provides positive news in today’s oftentimes challenging circumstances.

Jess Losoya’s efforts will be recognized with the 2024 Leadership Award, presented at the annual RED concert, held this year at Three Canyon outdoor food and music venue on Tucson’s east side.  The concert features the popular band Little House of Funk with Connie Brannock, on Sunday, March 3 at 5pm.  Tickets for the benefit concert are $25, and sponsorships range from $50 to $1,500. Tickets are available through the Center for Health and Hope’s website:


Generous donors have pledged to contribute matching funds for all that the concert raises, up to $10,000.  All proceeds will benefit the HIV support programs of TIHAN and the Center for Health and Hope.

Losoya and his team are hoping to best the $24,000 raised at the concert last year through sponsorships, ticket sales, raffle ticket sales, and donations.  “It promised to be a fun celebration of life, music, community,” commented Blades.  “There are so many challenges we face today, but it’s important to gather sometimes and just celebrate people, programs, and life.  Join us and make a difference.”

Past recipients of the Leadership Award include Kevin Carmichael MD, and Linda Girard RN.

If you’d like to interview Jess Losoya, please contact Scott Blades at scott@tihan.org or 520-299-6647.


The Center for Health and Hope (www.centerforhealthandhope.org), based in Denver, addresses the challenges of the global HIV and AIDS pandemic and related health needs in the world through programs of awareness, education, prevention, care, and treatment.  The Center challenges attitudes and actions that contribute to stigmatization and discrimination of persons infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.  For more information, contact Executive Director Rev. Dr. Don Messer (303) 877-1955 or globalaids@gmail.com

Since 1994, TIHAN–the Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network (www.tihan.org), has been organizing volunteers, businesses, organizations, and faith communities to respond to the HIV/AIDS health crisis.  In addition to HIV awareness and stigma reduction programs, TIHAN helps support people with HIV to live as well as possible.  For more information, contact Executive Director Scott Blades at (520) 299-6647 ext 202 or scott@tihan.org

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