IRVINE, CA and COSTA MESA, CA--(Marketwired - Jul 5, 2016) - AIDS Services Foundation Orange County (ASF) -- a nonprofit AIDS service organization that has helped more than 8,000 men, women and children living with HIV and AIDS in Orange County since 1985 -- provides support and encouragement to children whose lives are affected by HIV/AIDS. Through a partnership with Segerstrom Center for the Arts -- Orange County's largest nonprofit arts organization with an education department that serves more than 300,000 young people and students each year -- ASF has enhanced its service to the community, specifically to children who face challenges of isolation, fear and discrimination.
For the past five years, Segerstrom Center's education department has been working with ASF's Kids Club, a program funded by the Wilbur May Family Foundation. Kid's Club is designed to provide a safe place for kids ages six to 17 who are affected or infected by HIV/AIDS. Segerstrom Center's artists show children how to use the arts to express themselves in place of words that may seem fearful or inhibiting.
"The mission of Kids Club is to provide education and support for children as they learn to address the many issues that come with living with an HIV diagnosis personally or that of a family member. We are so grateful to Segerstrom Center for supporting and furthering that endeavor," says ASF Executive Director and CEO Philip Yaeger. "The children who participate in Kids Club are all affected by HIV/AIDS in some way and often have no other outlets to develop healthy coping mechanisms. Segerstrom Center's artists have compassionately and skillfully provided an outlet for them."
Using music, dance, painting, animation, puppetry and other art forms, Segerstrom Center's artists help the children in Kids Club to not only express themselves creatively, but to engage with others in experiences they might not typically be involved in, and empower them to share and contribute to the larger Orange County community by volunteering and giving back.
"The arts are powerfully transformative, healing and uplifting," says Segerstrom Center President Terrence W. Dwyer. "In this very special situation where children are dealing with a potentially life-threatening health issue and other emotional and social challenges, the arts can provide moments of joy, confidence and comfort. It is an honor for us to contribute to our community through this partnership with ASF. The organization's work is so important and we are deeply committed to doing everything we can to assist in the achievement of its goals."
The children participating in Kids Club gather once a week to talk about their concerns or to just have fun in a safe and supportive environment. In addition to the programs provided by Segerstrom Center the children participate in recreational activities and day trips. For more information on Kids Club, visit http://www.ocasf.org/family-programs.html.
AIDS Services Foundation Orange County (ASF) is a nonprofit AIDS service organization that has helped more than 8,000 people living with HIV disease in Orange County since 1985. ASF serves the local community impacted by HIV and AIDS by providing food, transportation, housing, emergency financial assistance, counseling, education and preventative services. Learn more about the organization by visiting www.ocasf.org. To stay in the loop, follow ASF on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Donate directly to the organization's important efforts here.