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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
WASHINGTON: Rise N' Shine Helps HIV Families
Jake Ellison
January 3, 2006
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (12.07.05) - Tuesday, January 03,

Since 1988, the Seattle-based nonprofit Rise n' Shine has provided emotional and material support for kids who have a family member with HIV/AIDS. RNS now has an annual $450,002 budget and serves about 175 children; its services include a summer camp for affected kids.

"It helps knowing that other parents have it, and I'm just not going to drop dead," said Diane Harris, an HIV-positive mother of a 6-year-old son and two young daughters, ages 11 and 16. Housebound with pneumonia, Diane was able to rest recently while RNS mentors took her children out.

Before partnering children with a mentor, Terry Marsh, RNS program director, meets with families to determine whether the diagnosis is accepted and/or discussed openly. Mostly, HIV support groups refer clients to RNS.

"They went to a lot of meetings with me," Harris said of her children, "but they didn't know what was going on." The Harris family has to cope with many difficulties besides HIV. The children have lived with relatives, and "the oldest daughter, most of the time is the parent for the family," said Marsh. "In many of these families, the need is so great you just have to focus on one or two things," he said. "We're able to help with the emotional stuff. You just can't quantify how important it is for these kids to have a place they can come to and talk about these things."

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