In Northern New Mexico, the impact of
HIV/AIDS increased dramatically as the rate of new infections among
women of color was being reported. The presence of women with AIDS
ushered in a new segment of issues, needs, and resources. Existing
services were primarily directed towards gay men and not necessarily
towards women and their families. The presence and voice of HIV+
women was silent. The public’s awareness and education of the
plight of women and children with AIDS was almost non-existent.
Then in 1995 Corazones Unidas was born.
The first fundraiser for women with AIDS was held with poetry readings,
artists, musicians and a panel of five HIV/AIDS women. Several meetings
were held in Ms. Jewel Cabeza de Vaca’s home, founding member,
AIDS activist and a long time advocate for women and children and
their families who are struggling with survival and the daily challenges
of living meaningful lives. It is here, at these meetings, that the
women expressed their needs, loneliness, fears, isolations and other
diverse issues that include their children and the profound impact
of this devastating disease. Camp Corazones became the answer to
a very important need in the lives of the children.
Camp Corazones is an all-volunteer,
grassroots, community based organization-serving children infected
and affected by AIDS and their families. The planning, organizing
and funding for the annual camp is guided by a core of dedicated
volunteers who support the relevance of Camp Corazones and how important
this summer camp is to the children and their families. This is the
highlight of their summer vacation to come to camp and participate
in the fun and camp activities as a family. For most families it
is the only opportunity to be together. The first camp was held in
August 1997 at Brush Ranch. The camp is provided through the generosity
of charitable foundations, private donations, service providers,
volunteer staff and counselors.
The goals of the camp are:
To provide an annual 4-day summer camp at no
cost to children 5-13 years infected/affected with HIV/AIDS.
To provide healthy food and safe accommodations,
supervision, camp activities designed for their optimum enjoyment
To provide a camp environment that focuses and
supports children and their families to bond, share meals, make
new friends and peer connections.
To provide trained volunteer camp counselors. Provide
two training sessions in May/June. Provide one counselor for
every two children, plus Registered Nurses and Licensed Therapists.
To provide staff at camp to assist with
the responsibilities and daily schedule of camp activities. To
provide direction, supervision and support to volunteers
To plan, organize, implement Camp Corazones staff
meetings, volunteer recruitment, community outreach, partnerships,
budget and funding resources.
To provide an opportunity for parents to join
their children together, providing an opportunity for developing
peer support, friendships and mutual interests, contacts and
communication that will assist in learning and helping each other.
The camp offers activities and
performances as well as opportunities to learn how to deal constructively
with the daily challenges of being a child with AIDS or living
with a HIV+ family member.
Contact Executive Director: Ms. Jewel Cabeza de Vaca firstname.lastname@example.org
© Camp Corazones, Inc.