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First International service NGO for HIV+ volunteers

December 02, 2011

Contact: Karen Anderson
Bard College at Simon’s Rock 

Bard College at Simon’s Rock alumnus connects HIV+ volunteers with AIDS organizations in other countries

GREAT BARRINGTON, MA—As the AIDS virus enters its thirtieth year, Bard College at Simon’s Rock alumnus Carlton Rounds is making history by launching Volunteer Positive, an international service NGO for people living with AIDS. Volunteer Positive is the first organization in the world to offer those with HIV an opportunity to openly serve as international volunteers.

Rounds ‘83, who tested positive for HIV in 2005, went through a challenging process of redefinition and reflection before accepting the position of associate dean at a new university in Malaysia.

Carlton Rounds ’83Using his experience as an international educator, program administrator and human rights activist, Rounds created Volunteer Positive to contribute to decreasing stigma though relationship building, public service, and the power of visibility.

“Volunteer Positive signals a change in the thinking and doing of people living with HIV,” Rounds explained. “It is our time to claim our right as change agents, experts, and survivors who have not just a place in the future, but a right to shape that future for ourselves and for others.

Rounds credits Simon’s Rock for sparking his activism, “Simon’s Rock sharpened my mind, helped me define and express my approach to life, drilled into me the value of the life of the mind, and showed me that proactive social inclusion was the only way to move forward in life.”

The first group of Volunteer Positive volunteers, made up of Americans, one Canadian, and one Malaysian, will serve in Thailand beginning January 2012.

Bard College at Simon’s Rock has been a leader in educational innovation for more than 40 years. The first early college, Simon’s Rock is the only residential college in the country specifically designed to let bright, highly motivated students start college immediately after the 10th or 11th grade. At Simon’s Rock, students experience a transformative education in the liberal arts and sciences in the company of smart, independent, creative peers who share their excitement about learning and their desire to be part of a vibrant intellectual community. Students who successfully complete the requirements receive the Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree after two years of study and the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree after four.

Volunteer Positive is the first international volunteer service NGO for people living with HIV. Its goal is to create a counter narrative to that which is common for people living with HIV.