Camp Hope and Joy, also referred to as Clinica de Familia Summer Camp, is a summer camp in the Dominican Republic for children infected with HIV. Summer 2013 will be our 5th year as a residential summer camp! Like us on Facebook!
Mission: The mission of Camp Hope and Joy is to strengthen the life skills of children and adolescents with HIV in a safe, supportive, loving, and fun environment, empowering them the face the psychosocial and medical challenges of their condition.
Description: Over a two week period, eighty children and teenagers living with HIV from the Eastern Dominican Republic attend the camp in the beautiful mountains of the central DR. There, the children participate in sports, arts, theater, music, community service, and team-building activities. The camp also includes components focused on building life skills including adherence to medication regimes, goal setting, and nutrition. The campers eat three fresh and healthy meals a day, sleep soundly, and share a week with others who are also grappling with the issues that surround HIV infection. Camp is centered around play, which is extremely beneficial to the mental health of children who otherwise live in poverty, isolated by stigma, secrecy, fear, and uncertainty. The first week is dedicated to children 6-10 years old, and the second week serves adolescents 11-17 years old.
Throughout the year, the adolescents with HIV participate in monthly support group meetings. Past groups have focused on sexual health education, decision making, and career planning. They also lead projects that benefit the Clinica de Familia community such as painting murals and creating a vegetable and herb garden. When campers turn 18 they are given the opportunity to return to camp as counselors. In this way, we are able to support a vulnerable age group as they encounter the challenges of living with HIV into adulthood.
Clinica de Familia: Clinica de Familia is a non-profit organization located in La Romana, the third largest city in the Dominican Republic. Clínica de Familia aims to improve the quality of life of the poorest and most vulnerable populations in the Eastern Dominican Republic by providing high quality health, education, and psychological support services to those most in need, including adults and children with HIV, sex workers, and adolescents. Clínica de Familia has a holistic, family-centered approach that includes specialized medical care, social services, community outreach, prevention and education programs.
The clinic is the largest provider of antiretroviral treatment and comprehensive care to people with HIV in the Eastern Dominican Republic. It currently provides care to over 1500 children and adults with HIV. You can find more information (albeit in Spanish!) at www.clinicadefamilia.org.do.