June 24 begins an exciting weekly profile from the Ethics Center targeting a Maguire Public Service Fellow who is dedicating time this summer to public service or ethical research. This week we’ll be visiting with undergraduate senior Claire Wilt who is volunteering with Bryan’s House, a non-profit caring for Dallas children diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and other debilitating illnesses.
Just west of Westmoreland Road in West Dallas is Bryan’s House, a non-profit organization offering medically managed care for children, adolescents and teens. What began as a care center for children affected by HIV/AIDS over 27 years ago has expanded in support to families living with cerebral palsy, autism, Down Syndrome, and a range of medical conditions. Maguire Ethics Center Public Service Fellow Claire Wilt is volunteering with the non-profit this summer.
“My work at Bryan’s House varies greatly day to day,” says Wilt. “From building and managing social media presence for the organization…working with local TV stations and other media to promote the agency…[website] content updates and coordination with writers, editors and staff, and administrative projects.”
Bryan’s House began in 1987 with a group of volunteers who started providing hospice care for Dallas children sick and dying with HIV/AIDS. This child care was conducted initially from their own homes and was soon moved to a renovated home center in the Oak Lawn area. The organization was named Bryan’s House after the son of Lydia Allen, a founding volunteer, who was among the first children in the Dallas area to die from AIDS.
“Spending my summer helping those facing these serious health problems will allow me to gain a new, more encompassing perspective as I open my eyes to the ineffable suffering of many people and the importance of providing a support system for them to rely on.”
Because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now view AIDS as a chronic disease that can be medically managed and federal funding has therefore reduced, Bryan’s House is meeting the needs of low-income families struggling with other uniquely difficult disorders. But there are big plans on the way for the organization.
“This summer Bryan’s House is opening up a second infant room as part of our Heroes Program which will provide care for sick children from low-income, at-risk families,” says Wilt. “Bryan’s House is always looking for new ways to help more families in the Dallas community.”
The SMU Maguire Ethics Center is proud to support Claire’s valuable work this summer as a Public Service Fellow. Make sure to come back next week for more inspiring stories of service from our other Maguire Public Service Fellows.