As I have mentioned, I just finished reading a book that tore my heart about HIV & AIDS. I am going to be writing numerous entries about the book and about organizations that are helping the cause.
Today, I want to lift up the work of The Hope House. The Hope House was not mentioned in the book but it is a house that needs to have some light shined upon it.
The Hope House is located in Shelby County, Tennessee.
FACTS ABOUT HIV/AIDS
HIV/AIDS has fast become a disease of poverty disproportionately represented among the African American community:
The southeastern United States, and the Mid-South more specifically, has been particularly hard hit by HIV and sexually transmitted infections
Shelby County has the fasted growing rate of HIV infection in the state.
Young women between the ages of 15 and 39 represent the fasted growing group
Since 1992 more than 500 new cases are reported each year in Shelby County
50 percent of new cases are women under 25 years old.
70 percent of reported HIV infected are in minority population
More than 300,000 people in the United States are infected and do not know it
There is still no cure or effective vaccine for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS
Hope House is the only agency in the state of Tennessee and just a handful in the United States that provides day care for children and social services for families, all affected by HIV/AIDS:
One-third of Hope House mothers contracted HIV through sexual assault
Hope House was started by The Junior League of Memphis in 1994 after two years of research to determine what services were need for mothers and children, who now represent a disproportionate number of people affected by HIV/AIDS
All Hope House children have a parent who has the disease or who has died from AIDS related illnesses
More than one-third of Hope House children are infected with the disease and many of those children receive medicines here at Hope House by staff medical professionals
Hope House also employs a full-time social worker and other medical staff to manage the unique conditions of infected children, many of whom receive therapy and counseling on a regular basis
Most Hope House mothers do not reveal their HIV status to their families or friends for fear of condemnation, not just for themselves but for their children
Hope House provides children and their families food, clothing, household necessities, transportation and sometime financial support – all to affect a better quality of life for the entire family
Our programs and services include:
Trained teachers provide loving child-care for HIV infected parents needing daily care for their children. Every day the Hope House staff can address the impact of AIDS in the lives of our families through careful watch over the children’s psychological, physical and intellectual needs. Careful monitoring of HIV infected children has been shown to help stabilize their illness and reduce the number of required hospitalizations.
Short-term respite care allows the HIV infected parents back-up child-care support in order for them to keep medical appointments and to provide relief when a parent is too sick to care for the child full-time.
Our staff works closely with the children’s medical providers to ensure that each child’s special needs are met. A Licensed Practical Nurse is also on staff in the event of a medical emergency.
Approximately 90% of all HIV affected children have some form of developmental delay and all Hope House children enrolled in full-time day care are screened for potential problems.
HIV/AIDS affected households face numerous problems that could never be addressed by any one agency. Through collaborative efforts, Hope House works with other professionals to assure that our families are receiving the highest quality support our community has to offer.
Through a collaborative arrangement with Family Services of the Mid-South, a play therapist meets twice weekly with our children needing individualized therapy due to emotional and physical problems.
Caregivers Meeting and Parenting Training
In an effort to help parents become more involved in their child’s education, teachers maintain regular contact with the parents and offer regular opportunities for them to join their little one at “school.” This helps to remove fear and/or intimidation many of our parents have of school due to their own personal experiences. Further, an LCSW and a pediatric nurse regularly provide parenting training one on one or in group settings.
Hope House has two 15 passenger vans to transport the children and their families to and from Hope House everyday.
If you would like to support The Hope House through a financial contribution, you may click here.
Children continue to be the most fragile and completely innocent victims of the AIDS epidemic. None of them are even remotely aware that a devastating disease threatens their lives and futures. Most of the children eligible for enrollment at Hope House are in a highly disadvantaged and at-risk environment.
Each day they are surrounded by poverty, crime, and drug infestation due to their geographic locations within the city's poorest communities. Not only are they dealing with the circumstances of poverty but also life in a household that is plagued with sickness and secrecy.
I want to thank you for the individuals who are willing to work on the front-lines. I ask you to give them the encouragement and patience to do the job and ministry that they have been called to.
To the families that are trapped in the epedemic, i ask that you will surround them with individuals who will love them, care for them and give them support.