About The Foundation
The Joey DiPaolo AIDS Foundation was created in 1996 by Carol DiPaolo and her son Joey. When Joey was four (1984) he was infected with the HIV virus from a blood transfusion during open-heart surgery. At age ten Joey and family attended Camp Sunburst in California. At this point in time Camp Sunburst was the first and only AIDS related summer camp program in the country. Empowered and motivated by the camp experience both mother and son began public speaking in 1990 bringing AIDS education to parents, faculty, and students throughout the country. After becoming national AIDS spokespersons for several AIDS organizations, Carol and Joey decided to establish The Joey DiPaolo AIDS Foundation (JDAF). This foundation is motivated by compassion and hope for young people who are living with HIV/AIDS. The centers for Disease Control reports that 51% of all new HIV infections in the U.S. occur in young people under 25, with that statistic in mind both mother and son wanted to give other HIV positive adolescents/teens an opportunity to attend a special AIDS related summer camp programs, thus JDAF was created. Joey and Carol have provided over 500 AIDS prevention and education programs nationwide.
Camp TLC - Teens Living a Challenge
Camp TLC was created to help young adults make the transition from childhood to adulthood while coping with the challenges and complications of HIV/AIDS. The camp provides the children an environment that is emotionally and educationally supportive. Camp TLC targets teens between the ages 13-19. Medical and psychological staff, on a volunteer basis, are available throughout the entire session. Food, lodging, and transportation are provided at no cost to the camper. Camp TLC rents the campgrounds in Port Jervis, New York.
Need/Problem JDAF is acknowledging
Every year, 3 million American teenagers acquire a sexually transmitted disease leaving them more susceptible to HIV infection. Unfortunately teens are becoming infected and transmitting the HIV virus at an alarming rate. These HIV positive teens need a program that will address the many issues they face living with this disease. By Providing them with our unique Camp TLC program these teens are offered an opportunity to meet other teens that are living with the same disease. Our program unites the adolescents with a non-threatening, supportive environment, encouraging them to converse and socialize with other teens much like themselves. Our camp experience gives all children a sense of belonging, not only to society but to a larger family who can empathize with their trials and tribulations. HIV positive teens feel different from their peers who are not infected. Some carry the burden of keeping their diagnosis a secret for years, with fear of being rejected or labeled an outcast. Our program empowers these teens, teaches them to be confident and proud of the person they are and will become. This is their opportunity to share their lives with others, make lifelong friends, and gain the confidence to make a difference in this world, their world.
Our full year program continues to offer many activities and experiences that will keep them connected to each other and provide all with ongoing support. JDAF has no salaried employees and several steady volunteers who are working with JDAF on a daily basis. Volunteers are also utilized prior to and during special fund raising events that JDAF coordinates.