West Chester University has named Patty Hillkirk, a longtime volunteer, therapist, and founder of a camp for children with HIV/AIDS as its Woman of the Year, the university announced today.
Hillkirk, who has spent more than 30 years working with at-risk youth, will be awarded the honor at the upcoming Women in Leadership and Service Fund-raiser on April 19. She began Camp Dreamcatcher, a therapeutic escape for children and teens with HIV/AIDS as a one-week camp in 1996. It now serves 400 children and delivers outreach and education to more than 4,000 people annually. The community she has built was featured in the film “Tiny Tears,” which was screened both at the United Nations and The Cannes Film Festival. Hillkirk's work makes all services provided by Camp Dreamcatcher free to participants, a university news release said.
Hillkirk will receive her recognition at this year's spring fund-raiser, which benefits the university’s Women in Leadership and Service Endowment for Student Scholarship. Tickets are still available. The Women in Leadership and Service program was launched in 2009 to inspire, educate and empower women to make a positive impact on future generations of women at the university. For more information,contact Meredith Sossman at 610-430-4192 or firstname.lastname@example.org.