In 1985, Terry and Faye Zealand formed the AIDS Resource Foundation for Children after meeting and being inspired by the plight of a 2-year-old HIV-positive orphan living in the hospital. After consultation with professionals in the field of pediatric AIDS, it was determined that there was a need for a transitional care facility near Newark’s hospitals. Thanks to the help of the original advisory board, the late Sister Elizabeth Maloney, an administrator of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, and several others, Terry and Faye were able to secure a one family brick home in Elizabeth—the first St. Clare’s Home for Children. St. Clare’s opened its doors in May 1987 to its first child, a two-month-old girl with HIV, followed by four other children under the age of six. This home has been identified as the first transitional care facility in the nation for children with HIV/AIDS.
Terry and Faye’s work as Founders has ensured that ARFC’s commitment to Health, Family, Compassion and Advocacy still exists after a quarter century of providing care. Dedicated to finding family-centered solutions to the problems associated with chronic illness, the ARFC provides comprehensive services to underserved and under-resourced communities. With a holistic approach to care, the organization has put into place programs such as:
St. Clare’s Social Services, 1990
ARFC provides social services such as mental health support, medical care, substance-abuse prevention, support groups, and opportunities for families to meet and support each other in the community. Each year, the program serves over 500 families in the Newark, NJ area.
St. Clare’s Housing Program, 1993
Committed to family-based solutions, ARFC provides supportive housing to people living with the HIV/AIDS. These affordable desirable homes help families provide the stability needed to live healthy lives. Over 75 families who were at risk of becoming homeless are now provided with sustainable housing.
Academy Street Firehouse, 2002
In continuing its mission to serve youth, ARFC opened a unique after-school program to address the specific educational and psychosocial needs of children living with, affected, or orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The Firehouse program serves over 75 children each year.
Brighter Beginnings Transitional Home, 2011
With success of the Housing Program, ARFC opened a transitional home for HIV-positive women seeking to gain the skills necessary to live independent and productive lives. Residents receive guidance and support from professional staff that are invested in the success of each resident’s individualized goals.
Project Nest Transitional Housing Program, 2016
With the growing need for programs specific to supporting the HIV-positive gay/bisexual community, ARFC opened a flagship transitional housing program, which provides holistic patient-centered care to young men facing discrimination, exploitation, and homelessness.
These comprehensive services allow AIDS Resource Foundation for Children to address the many and varied issues related to HIV and chronic illness in underserved communities— fighting stigma, lessening disparities in education and healthcare, and helping families to support their children in a safe stable home.
1988 – Dr. Terrence Zealand gave an address to a special session in the General Assembly of the United Nations on the topic of worldwide implications of pediatric AIDS.
1990 – Faye Zealand organized and led a delegation to Elista, a region 1,150 miles south of Moscow. ARFC sent 11 experts to study and treat an outbreak of pediatric AIDS in this underserved region of what is now Russia. They were able to see 60 children who were infected with the virus, and advised parents on the medical care and nutritional needs. In October of 1990, ARFC hosted five physicians from Elista (including the Minister of Health) in the United States for one month where they were trained in the latest techniques of HIV care and treatment.
1992 – ARFC assisted 30 pregnant, HIV-positive Haitian women who were sequestered at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The AIDS Resource Foundation for Children brought the women into the country during their 8th month of pregnancy and provided them with health care and housing. This was done in conjunction with the Center for Constitutional Rights and the U.S. Justice and Defense Departments.
1998 – Dr. Terry Zealand and Kevin Zealand traveled to Kenya, bringing $37,000 in funding for medications to be used at health clinics run by the Holy Ghost Fathers. They studied the spread of the AIDS epidemic for 21 days.
2007 – The Academy Street After-School Program presented its unique model of service at the World Forum on Early Care and Education in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.This forum included a special assembly on children infected, affected, and orphaned by HIV. The Academy Street Firehouse was recognized for its combination of best practice in youth development, psychosocial care, and HIV service.