Starting in March 1998, clergy in Waterbury, Conn. developed the Waterbury AIDS Outreach Ministries Program, a project to create a series of retreats and a buddy system for people with AIDS.
The clergy had been holding special healing services for people with AIDS but wanted to reach out beyond their congregations.
The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers Program, Faith in Action®, Generation 2 and Generation 3.
Project staff recruited a team of about eight volunteers to act as buddies to people with AIDS.
Staff held six retreats in churches during the grant period.
The volunteers often ran into difficulty establishing relationships with their matched care recipients.