The origins of Aids Alive lay with the unselfish heart of a man in the battle of his life. In 1994, two years after the passing of her son, Bob Gillin, Jr., Martie Gillin was going over some of her son’s videos chronicling his journey with HIV/AIDS. During one of the tapes, Bob mentioned that he felt that he contracted HIV to help other people. Martie, hearing her son’s voice felt his call and immediately picked up the mission that her son left behind. With friends and family, the Gillins began to lay the groundwork for a program that would help others who are battling HIV/AIDS. The message would be that that those fighting this disease are not alone.
The educational program was originally called AIDS Awareness. Its primary focus would be to raise HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention in local schools, organizations, and communities. Unfortunately, most of the schools were not yet ready to talk about the tragically “whispered” disease. The founders did not lose heart and kept pressing on, until one school, Academy of Notre Dame de Namur, took a leap of faith and endorsed the fledgling program. It was this one school that helped lay the framework for AIDS Alive over the next decade. The extended family changed the program’s name to AIDS Alive, a play on words, inspired by the Live Aid concert.
During the next five years, the founders of AIDS Alive started to notice a growing disconnect among youth, educators, and parents/guardians. It was because of this that in 2000 AIDS Alive established a follow-up program, Speak Up!, a hands-on program that directly deals with improving communication between generations.
Since its inception, AIDS Alive, Inc. and SpeakUp! have reached over 100,000 urban and suburban youth, parents/guardians and educators at more than 250 schools and community organizations. Through our combined activities, AIDS Alive and SpeakUp! provide participants with the support and resources necessary to make informed, positive choices.
AIDS Alive, Inc. is the non-profit organization which is the legacy of Bob Gillin, Jr. We are here to educate and promote awareness and prevention of HIV/AIDS. We do our work not because our son died of HIV/AIDS, but because millions are living with it.