Executive Director

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Whittier Rio Hondo AIDS Project (WRHAP) currently serves 120 living with HIV/AIDS in the Southeast Los Angeles County and the South Bay. We provide housing referrals, benefits counseling, legal assistance, medical referrals, transportation, mental health counseling and support groups and food and meal assistance.

WRHAP is a nonprofit organization that provides an array of life-giving services to men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS and HIV prevention services to youth and others at risk for acquiring HIV.

Case management, mental health, and food pantry services are offered by WRHAP. Our service model includes partnerships with other organizations to also offer medical outpatient, dental care, and specialty housing referrals in one location.

Our HIV prevention services include the Phoenix Project for young gay men of color and women in recovery. The NowUKnow program works with parents to ensure appropriate HIV prevention in schools.  WHRAP also offers weekly HIV counseling and testing. Our newest program is the Christopher Wahl Youth Center, which provides a safe haven for all youth. 




“At the time, we were unsure of the need for services in our area,” says Doris Wahl of the founding of the Whittier Rio Hondo AIDS Project as a support group in 1992, “within three months we had over 30 members of the group. It was clear something had to be done.”  That something was the creation of a small agency that has grown to provide case management, mental health counseling, food pantry, HIV testing and counseling, HIV prevention and other services in Whittier and in the South Bay.

WRHAP was incorporated a year after its establishment as a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization.  In 1994 WRHAP established a speakers bureau to meet the demands of teachers seeking HIV positive presenters for their classrooms.  That same year, WRHAP received funding to offer case management services to people living with HIV/AIDS.

In 1996, WRHAP was able to hire full-time health education staff and in subsequent years additional funding from the County of Los Angeles allowed WRHAP to expand its efforts to reach out to young women, gay men of color, and to work with schools to ensure that appropriate HIV education is provided throughout local schools.

In 1998, WRHAP partnered with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to offer outpatient medical services, case management, mental health, and other supportive services in one location.   This service model was brought to the city of Redondo Beach in 2001.

The Christopher Wahl Youth Center was established in 2004, fulfilling the goal of the founding executive director, board, staff and our funders, to provide a safe heaven for all youth in Whittier and the surrounding communities. Doris Wahl, WRHAP founding executive director stepped down from service at the end of 2005.  She was replaced by longtime employee Elizabeth Mendia. 

Of the future, Elizabeth says “Our future is bright because we have talented staff, volunteers, and supporters, who are equally committed to our mission.  As a member of our board likes to say, ‘we’re working for the day when our children will look up at us and ask ‘what was AIDS?’”


WRHAP Main Office 12401 Slauson Avenue, Unit G, Whittier, CA 90606 (562) 693-2247


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Christopher Wahl Youth Center


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