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Chester County Press

Camp Dreamcatcher secures a significant grant

01/31/2017 03:41PM ● By Steven Hoffman

When youngsters arrive at Camp Dreamcatcher this August for therapy, education, and fun, their week-long stay will be enhanced by a grant that the Kennett Square-based organization just received.

Patty Hillkirk, the founder and executive director of Camp Dreamcatcher, announced that the organization has been awarded a grant for $10,000 from the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF). The funding was awarded in partnership with Macy's, and it will be used to support children whose lives have been impacted by HIV or AIDS. Approximately 130 youngsters attend the week-long camp session each year, and Camp Dreamcatcher also offers a variety of therapeutic and educational programs to youngsters throughout the year. The 2017 camp session takes place from Aug. 20 to 26.

“The grant will send twenty HIV positive youth to our therapeutic and educational camp session in 2017,” Hillkirk explained. “The support will make a positive difference in the lives of children coping with HIV/AIDS and I am honored to partner with ETAF and Macy’s, Inc.”

Through the years, more than 5,000 youngsters have benefitted from the programs and services of Camp Dreamcatcher. According to Hillkirk, Camp Dreamcatcher is honored to be recognized for that unique work in the community.

"The work that Camp Dreamcatcher does to help people affected by HIV/AIDS is impressive, and very much aligned with Elizabeth Taylor's passionate commitment to the cause," said Joel Goldman, Managing Director of The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, in a statement. "The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and our partners at Macy's are thrilled to present Camp Dreamcatcher with these funds to help further our shared mission.”

Camp Dreamcatcher has been providing free therapeutic and educational programs to HIV/AIDS impacted youth for 21 years. Programs include a one-week camp session, weekend retreats, reunion events, mentoring programs, a holiday adopt-a-family program and HIV/AIDS education, training and community outreach. Over 230 counselors, medical personnel, professionals and community members volunteer with Camp Dreamcatcher.

Hillkirk said that all of the programs offered by Camp Dreamcatcher are free to the youngsters.

“We hope to welcome 130 youth to our session in August,” Hillkirk explained. “The number of children accepted for the program is based on the amount of financial and volunteer resources secured for the camp session.”

Elizabeth Taylor established The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1991 to support organizations delivering direct care and services to people living with HIV and AIDS, especially in the most marginalized communities. The foundation also provides grants for innovative HIV prevention education and advocacy programs to existing organizations around the world. To date, the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation has provided grant funding to more than 675 organizations in 44 countries and nearly all 50 states in the U.S.