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Our mission is to help create a world
that supports and enhances
the lives of people
infected with and affected by
HIV and AIDS.
This year marks our 25th Anniversary. As part of our celebration we will sharing stories from throughout the years and hosting an event a month. You can read the first five stories on our Financial Page. Our current story is listed below. Please continue to check the website and our facebook page for the details.
25 stories for 25 years
Congratulations on your anniversary! The ministries have really helped me and I have met a lot of great people through the agency. Dr Z and Mike Kozak who was my first buddy though Debra. Mike met with me when he was Notre Dame and spent some time with me. He is now my doctor and takes great care of me. I also have a good caseworker Leeah who cares for and is there when I need her. She introduced me to my new buddy Clay. Clay watches over me and took me to the Notre Dame Women’s basketball games. I hope he will always be my friend like Mike. The ministries have a lot of great people who work there including Pat who is very caring. They are always there to help you out for a long time to come.
Your "buddy" always
I had my first interaction with AIDS Ministries in 2006 through the AIDS Buddy program when I, as an undergraduate student at Notre Dame, was matched with a member of the community who had been diagnosed with HIV. Buddy (as I’ll call him for these purposes) and I would meet periodically for dinner, bowling, a walk around the river, or an inevitable conversation about Notre Dame athletics. With time, our trust and friendship grew. I knew that HIV/AIDS could be quite an isolating diagnosis and strove to offer friendship and stability, but my visits were sporadic and could hardly offer the stability that he needed. In that time, I came to understand what a tremendous resource Buddy had in AIDS Ministries.
The complexities facing Buddy and others like him are immense – from frequent doctor’s appointments and expensive medications to the formerly routine stressors such as finding stable food and housing. But that is precisely where AIDS Ministries was instrumental. When my conversations with Buddy would turn from the upcoming Notre Dame-USC rivalry to his fear that he may experience a dangerous fall in his apartment, I knew that we were able to lean upon the broad support network provided by AIDS Ministries in my reassurances to him. His caseworker was tireless in helping him navigate a complicated system, making every effort to ensure he was in a safe environment. In my visits to Buddy’s apartment, the care was evident everywhere I turned. He wore his life-alert in case of any falls, his meds were neatly organized in individualized blister packs, and his heat and electricity were always on; each was a seemingly simple feat, but quite honestly may never have been realized without the efforts of AIDS Ministries. It was this level of care, particularly when compared to what I witnessed in other communities and abroad that inspired my personal statement for medical school. I found that I wanted to practice medicine beyond the limited scope of prescriptions and studies; the care that Buddy received showed me how physicians and social agencies can partner to truly touch patients’ lives.
A few years after I met Buddy, I graduated from Notre Dame and moved out of state for medical school; I was able to keep in touch with Buddy, though far more seldom then I would have liked. AIDS Ministries kept in touch with me as well, notifying me of how he was doing and caring for him while he was hospitalized. When I looked to apply to residency programs, the memories I had of Buddy’s care influenced my decision to train at Memorial Hospital, where I took Buddy on as my own patient. As I began to navigate the health care system myself, I came to appreciate that much more the hurdles patients can face and the difference that AIDS Ministries could make. Buddy’s HIV has remained well controlled essentially ever since I met him. This is a tribute to the consistent, supportive, and predictable care he has received, the environment in which he has been able to live, and the access to resources that he might not otherwise have had. It has been a privilege to witness the impact that AIDS Ministries had in changing my “buddy’s” life.
Dr. Michael Kozak
Many of you know me. My name is Jimmy Chodzinski. As of late, I’ve been writing my family tree and its deeply touching to be included amongst the branches. It’s a beautiful image, isn’t it? Because like a tree a family is a living thing that flourishes in the summer, sheds its autumn glory, endures the rough winter and lives to grow again. When moving back to South bend in 1996 from New York, I was a stranger, perhaps a little stranger than most. At first, things weren’t always easy but in time, South Bend once again became the home and my family . Like trees in a forest, our own branches grow up to the sky while at the same time our “roots” drive down deep and that’s what’s at stake for “our” lives. Without the enduring love that supports a family, we could never hope to be the beautiful people that we can be. AM/AA is that family. They’ve helped me with doctor appointments, dentist appointments, housing, and pantry. I am grateful to have been associated with AM/AA. They are loving, caring and attentive. My caseworker even made to time to come visit me when I was hospitalized. I am not the only person who needs help. There are many that do. I am very thankful for all the help I’ve gotten. May God bless all the people with HIV/AIDS!
To find out more about AIDS Ministries history and vision for the
future, visit our About Us page.