I Know HIV
knowing someone means learning something
knowing someone means learning something

Project Kindle, formerly known as Camp Kindle, was established in August of 1998. Eva Payne, the Founder and Executive Director saw a need and decided to fill it. There were very few programs being offered for youth infected or affected by HIV or AIDS, especially in the Midwest. The organization began by serving children and adolescents through a cost free, one-week summer camping session held in Nebraska for children in the Central U.S. Camp Kindle continues to offer this therapeutic, recreational and educational session annually. In 2005, Camp Kindle expanded to another location in Southern California serving youth who live in the Western U.S. Each week long session serves up to 100 young people every summer.

In 2004, the organization began its peer-to-peer speakers’ bureau known as SPEAK OUT. This program was developed out of the desires of the Camp Kindle’s participants to share their stories with the general public, especially other young people in hopes to reduce stigma and raise awareness. Today SPEAK OUT reaches thousands of students both in the United States and Internationally.

The Students Affected by AIDS Scholarship Fund was created to support young people impacted by HIV or AIDS who wanted to attend post high school education. The scholarship helps to cover books and tuition.

The “i know” Initiative completed its first phase in 2008 with the completion of the `i know’ book and DVD. The book is a compellation of Camp Kindle participants’ stories, photos, and drawings. The DVD focuses on one camper’s story as he tells it during a week of camp. This free resource is made available to health educators and students around the world.

Today, the organization provides two week-long summer camping programs, semi-annual mini camping sessions, year round support, holiday and birthday recognition, scholarships, HIV/AIDS awareness/education, and mentorship. The AIDS epidemic has affected the lives of more than one million people within the United States. There are over 40,000 new infections every year, half of which occur in people 25 years old and younger (CDC, 2007). Also, according to current statistics, two young people are infected with HIV/AIDS every hour. Eva Payne founded the organization because of the many needs associated with HIV/AIDS infection. Eva now oversees all programming for the organization and serves as the Executive Director. She works closely with employees, a committed volunteer staff, Board of Directors, and a Parent Advisory Board to provide programs that meet the ever-growing needs of those infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS. All of the programs that Project Kindle offers are cost free to the participants.

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