In 2014, we added a new element to our pediatric HIV care program. This new program is called “Young Stars”. The goal of this program is to help a vulnerable child stay healthy and achieve his/her dream of enrolling in an University after high school. The program is designed to help the child graduate middle school and high school and possibly enroll at the University.
Penny was chosen (based on need and age) to be one of our first Young Stars. We designed a program to meet her needs - health, social, and educational. Her family receives extra support for rent and clothing, while Penny herself is provided with weekly mentoring sessions and help with schoolwork by a trained child-care worker.
Penny's involvement in the Young Star program has vastly improved her attitude towards school and her confidence in interacting with her peers. She is looking forward to graduating high school and working towards her dream of becoming a nurse.
At present, our first Young Star is stable in health, adhering to her medications, and is doing well at school. She loves to play with her friends at school and participates with enthusiasm in our weekly Safe Park program. Results of this program have been impressive. We hope to add more children to this program in 2015 and beyond.