Co-County Wellness Services (CCWS), the sponsoring agency of Berks Teens Matter (BTM), has been serving Berks for more than 30 years, but the beginning was a lot different. In the middle of the commotion and chaos of the AIDS crisis, a diverse group of community volunteers recognized that there was a great need to provide support and service to people living with AIDS. They came together to form Berks AIDS Health Crisis (1985). Many of these people were alone; they had lost their families and friends. The volunteers did everything that they needed, normally what friends and family would do when they are caring for a loved one who is ill.
A few years later (1992), the organization became Berks Network (BAN). There were professional case managers, a strong prevention program reaching youth/young adults in all Berks school districts, on college campuses and through many residential programs. In time, there was a lot more information about HIV, more stability, and many more people had the HIV test done when they were still in the HIV stage. By the late 1990s there were not as many people diagnosed with AIDS, the medicine was working much better, there was more information and people were more aware. Through the 1990s, BAN’s prevention message and services were gradually expanded to include other STDs and hepatitis. Also, in 1997, the agency expanded services to Schuylkill County. So, in 2004 BAN became CCWS to reflect the agency’s expanded services and presence in both counties.
Berks Teens Matter builds on all the experience of CCWS; Working with the support of a diverse group of community volunteers, a strong prevention effort prioritizing youth/young adults and ensuring equitable access to resources for sexual health.
For more information, please contact: www.BerksTeensMatter.org .