Hope is the Spark that Changes Lives

AFCA Volunteer Profile: Sam Kolinssam

For the last three years Dr. Samuel Kolins has given the first Saturday of the month to the American Foundation for Children with AIDS.

Kolins is a warehouse volunteer, a critical part of AFCA’s mission to provide families in Africa with the resources necessary to live healthily. As he recalls, the first few times he worked with AFCA he reflected on how new the experience was to him.

Kolins first engaged with AFCA after hearing about the organization during a day of Inclusive Excellence Symposium at Lebanon Valley College. Since then he has enjoyed volunteering at the warehouse, organizing and packing supplies to be shipped out to the locations that AFCA supports.

jodi winfindaleVolunteer Spotlight: Jodi Winfindale

Seeing the world through another’s eyes is a life-altering experience and for mother of eight, Jodi Winfindale, that experience involves travelling to Zimbabwe with the American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA).

Winfindale has been a volunteer with AFCA since 2012 when she was recruited by Tanya Weaver, who runs the organization. Since then, she has been active in different AFCA programs, including Vacation with a Purpose, where volunteers donate their time to help local communities in third-world countries like Zimbabwe.

“Going to a third world country where there is no reliable electricity or running water is really moving,” Winfindale said. “Volunteering with AFCA is really cool; it definitely takes you out of your comfort zone. It definitely takes you out of yourself, but it allows you to grow and learn things you never knew you would.”

betsy dorsey

Volunteer Profile: Betsy Dorsey

Betsy Dorsey has been volunteering for AFCA since 2010.

As she started out slowly in the beginning, she began taking on more responsibilities for her time on duty, which then led to her becoming the AFCA warehouse manager.

As the warehouse manager, she coordinates the pickup of donations. She oversees the preparation and packaging of all the supplies and equipment that will be shipped to help benefit kids who are in need. Four to five times a year, Dorsey and other workers load containers that consist of the equipment, and each container must be loaded within two hours. This means that they must strategize how and where they are going to place the supplies and equipment days before the volunteers begin to load the containers onto the truck.

anne parmerVolunteer Profile: Anne Parmer

Anne Parmer has been involved with the American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA) for the past three years, and has absolutely loved every minute of it.

Parmer first heard about the organization when she interviewed its Executive Director, Tanya Weaver, for a blog she was writing entitled “Interviews With Incredible Women.”

“I was blown away by her commitment and the efficiency of AFCA in working with kids infected/affected by AIDS, so when Tanya asked if I'd consider being more involved, I was willing to commit,” Parmer said.

She began working with AFCA in 2014, and her first commitment was to recruit a team of climbers, get them to each raise eight thousand dollars and then to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

view in the farmThe American Foundation for AIDS (AFCA) has been working the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) since late 2007.  There, we have provided medicine for patients cared for at Tandala Hospital and at 13 smaller clinics throughout the region known as the Ubangi.  With little infrastructure in place (think – no electricity or running water) and with roads that are full of potholes, mud, and puddles, it is always an adventure when we visit the projects to see how things are going!

brews for africaThe American Foundation for Children with AIDS is teaming up for Revolution Brewing Company of Chicago, house of iconic beers such as Anti-Hero and others to bring awareness to AFCA’s work bringing sustainable programs to children infected and/or affected by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan African countries.

Guests will enjoy all-you-can-eat, delicious appetizers from the Brewery’s restaurant and will sip the most popular house brews (as many as you’d like!), all while being entertained by Chicago local band, The Crombies. A raffle will be held, as and a kissing booth will be availlable! Really, you don’t want to miss this fun event as you wrap up a long day at work.

sylvia groveVolunteer Profile: Sylvia Grove

“It’s the perfect balance of local efforts and a global change.”

Sylvia Grove joined the American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA) four years ago. Grove has been a music festival committee member for the past two years, but she was first introduced to AFCA when she was working with Tanya Weaver, the Executive Director, two years prior.

Grove started with the organization by tutoring Weaver in French. Weaver travels to French speaking African countries, notably the Democratic Republic of the Congo, each year. Grove taught Weaver French so that Weaver could better communicate with those the organization helps.

frameTwelve adolescent girls are about to become farmers. These twelve girls will learn that hard work, patience, care and love for the earth, and a good green thumb will produce food to feed the home where they live and will provide them with skills that will help them in their near and far futures. 

At the Sandra Jones Center (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe), where these girls live, they believe in teaching responsibility and skills that help the girls provide for themselves.  No girl will ever leave the home without being prepared for the future, able to hold a job.  AFCA is part of this work by providing tools needed for such training. 

DRC corn and womanAFCA is proud to celebrate International Women’s Day. Every day, we try our hardest to empower woman in communities stricken with the AIDs virus. Though programming and the work of volunteers, we provide:

      • Safe hospitals and maternity wards equipped with instruments needed for the safe delivery of babies
      • Medicine and counseling for women with AIDs that are pregnant
      • After Care support for women with AIDs to assure their baby is growing and thriving

hellen achieng 600 2All charities are trying to figure out how to capture the attention of the next generation of donors and volunteers.   Heads of charities know that in most cases their support base is made up of aging baby boomers who want to leave the world a better place and have the means to make a difference.   The question is how to get the “Millennial Generation” to buy in and want to get involved?   As a Professor and Program Coordinator, I interact with dozens of millennials every day. 

paintThe 2017 Machu Picchu climbing team continues to work hard to fundraise on behalf of The American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA). We’d like to highlight one climber, Nikki, who hosted a paint night to benefit AFCA. A few shots from her evening are posted below and we would like to thank all those who participated and donated. If you’d like to get involved with fundraising and maybe host a paint night of your own…or maybe join a climbing team for the adventure of a lifetime, please let us know!

The Paint Night was a wonderful opportunity to not only support a great cause but create something unique and beautiful surrounded by others in it for the same reason. Everyone enjoyed the company of great people and the artist.  He was funny, made the evening fun and uplifting. He played great music, which really made painting with music a unique experience.

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