George Felix Sirls was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1947, but lived most of his adult life in San Francisco, California. In 1996, he moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he now resides. The Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotions employed Mr. Sirls, as a Facilitator II in the JEMADARI, program under the Early Intervention and Prevention Programs until his retirement in 2013. He facilitates educational and empowerment sessions to males in substance abuse centers and council’s person on their behavior, highlighting the connections between STD’s and chemical dependency. Mr. Sirls also works on a one-to-one basis with infected substance abusers. “Felix” as he likes to be called is also a certified STD/HIV counselor and tester. Wayne State University employed Mr. Sirls as Assistant Director of Special Projects. There he conducted therapeutic groups for persons living with HIV/AIDS. He currently is a consultant for the WSU Aids Research and Education Programs on a volunteer basis. He was a Facilitator and Trainer for the U of M Chemical Abuse Pilot Programs under Dr. Larry Gant, until his retirement. He provides speaking engagements interpreting the nuances of the HIV/AIDS in the community. Facilitating and educating, he has helped expand curriculums and develop new programs. He has created and facilitated programs and trainings on Cultural Diversity, Back to Work issues, Self-Empowerment, Holistic Healing, Spirituality and Stigma among others. These programs have been well attended by health care and mental health care providers advancing education in the community. Mr. Sirls has received numerous awards for his work. The 2019 over 70 Hanna Foundation service award, The 2004 Service Award from Zeta Phi Beta Sorority; 2003 A.W.E.C. Award; 2002 NAACP Human Service Award; 2002 Outstanding Regional Achievement by the Michigan HIV/AIDS Council; 2002 State of Michigan Recognized Contribution by Senator Martha G. Scott; the 1998 Charles McKinney Award by the GLTV AIDS ETC. He along with his wife currently performs and gives educational training’s (HIV 101) for Gospel Against AID’S and GREATNES, in churches, prisons and schools throughout Michigan. His presentations are concise and thoughtful. He is a volunteer facilitator and advocate for PSO (Positive Support Organization) giving support to the heterosexual positive community. His volunteer work is extensive, speaking in churches, prisons and schools throughout Michigan on STD’s highlighting HIV/AIDS.
Mr. Sirls is also an active participant on several boards related directly or indirectly to HIV/AIDS. His commitments included: MHAC, SEMHAC, the PWC, Michigan PWA Advisory Board, Project Hope, MRC (Michigan Rehab. Council) and a board member at large for CHOW, Community Health Outreach workers. Mr. Sirls has worked in the field of HIV/AIDS for over thirty-five years, returning to the work force after being on SSDI for twelve years and clinically dyeing.
As a Licensed Vocational Nurse working in terminal care units in California, he saw the first major groups of persons dying with AIDS. From there he moved to Texas where he learned that he was infected with the virus. After a period of adjustment, he dedicated his life to work for the enhancement of and the finest quality of life possible for persons with this ailment, physically, economically and spiritually. Newspapers seek out Mr. Sirls, on issues concerning the HIV community. He has had many articles written about his work and subjects relating to the HIV community. He speaks on radio talk shows to educate the community about this worldwide pandemic.
Mr. Sirls is a poet, using his gift to facilitate understand on the subjects of; self-esteem, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS. Having published four works of poetry and an autobiography he is featured at venues in Michigan. He has performed in several plays and films for TV performing arts, including “A Day In The Life of an Artist” for MTV. Mr. Sirls has lived in the US, Canada and Mexico. In San Francisco, he worked for the Hunters Point Foundation, Rafeka House and the Continuum in San Francisco and was the youngest manager for the San Francisco Housing Authority.
Mr. Sirls as a consultant and facilitator has put together workshops and retreats throughout Michigan related to AIDS, fostering AIDS awareness. He shares his experiences and works toward the empowerment of those affected and infected. He and his wife have nine children and twenty-six grandchildren with two great grandsons.