There are over 33 million people infected with HIV worldwide and more than 17 million children orphaned by AIDS. Additionally, there are 200,000 young American women living with HIV, many of which have an average of two children. That’s why organizations like the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation (CAAF) are so impactful. CAAF is devoted to providing social, educational, recreational and other critical support programs to vulnerable children affected in some way by HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and other countries.
CAAF was founded in Los Angeles, Calif. in 1933 by Joe Christina, a Mattel exec whose desire to help children affected by HIV/AIDS came after the outpouring of support he received when he revealed his own HIV positive status. The international organization has raised over $33 million since its founding and provided assistance to thousands of children affected by the virus.
How CAAF Helps
CAAF provides services for kids affected by HIV/AIDS in four general categories. (1) Basic needs — which covers clothing, housing, transportation, diapers, school supplies, medical bills, medications and more. (2) Psychosocial support — includes different types of mental health therapies and support groups for affected children and their families. (3) Social and Recreational — provides kids with birthday parties, holiday parties, field trips, enrichment classes, and other activities that allow them to have fun and remind them that they are just kids, after all. (4) Camp Network — grants which allow kids and their families to experience outdoor living skills through fun activities like swimming, archery, fishing, kayaking, and horseback riding. CAAF provides grants ranging from $2,000 to $25,000 to non-profit agencies throughout the U.S. that share their common goal of meeting these kids’ critical needs.
Ways You Can Get Involved
People around the country have volunteered to staff events, raise funds and increase awareness about CAAF initiatives. If this organization touches you and you wish to get involved, visit www.caaf.org (link below) to learn more about CAAF and about ways you can help.