Daily Point of Light No. 1870
-- April 4, 2001
Late in 1993, Carl and Arlene Shipley learned about a young girl
that had contracted AIDS through sexual abuse. They were childless,
and they thought carefully about this serious responsibility. Their
doubts and fears disappeared when Tashia flew into their arms at
their first meeting and asked Arlene was she going to be her new
In 1994, Carl and Arlene Shipley opened their hearts and home to
Tashia. As medical foster parents to this abused and neglected child
(and after her death, foster parents to 27 teenage boys from
Juvenile Justice) the Shipleys learned that love and attention can
and does work miracles in the lives of abused children that others
have forgotten. The Shipleys lost Tashia to AIDS, but their love and
care allowed Tashia to live two years as opposed to the two months
the doctor had predicted.
Tashia was believed to have been the first child in Florida to
have contracted the HIV virus through sexual abuse. Government
reports show that the abuse began as early as two years of age with
her first sexually transmitted disease. She hid in closets out of
fear and was inflicted with pain at a young age. The Florida
Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services removed Tashia from
her abusive home. The Shipleys introduced Tashia to religion and
spent most of their days encouraging her, giving her positive
attention and loving her.
To the Shipleys, Tashia was not a statistic; she was their child.
She was a real person who was never allowed to just be a child.
After her death, they realized that there was more to be done. The
couple founded AngelAID in 1995 in Tashia’s memory, and turned their
pain into positive action.
AngelAID is a nonprofit agency solely devoted to providing
services and support to children with life-threatening illnesses or
situations. A grass-roots organization that has made significant
contributions to the Jacksonville community, AngelAID serves more
than 2,000 children. AngelAID includes a free clinic, Thanksgiving
services are coordinated for 1,500 annually, more than 55,000
Christmas gifts are given to AIDS children and families every year,
and dozens of families have been moved out of homeless environments.
The Shipleys were pleased to be able to relocate the AngelAID
offices into a two-story complex, “The Tashia Shipley Building”,
that was renovated entirely by volunteers. AngelAID now has party
rooms and a sanctuary on the first floor that holds the weekly
five-hour children’s respite party. The second floor houses a free
medical clinic where Carl Shipley, who is a licensed nurse, and
doctors donate their medical expertise and counseling on-site. The
Shipleys also visit schools, churches and organizations to educate
the community about death, abuse, AIDS and at-risk children. They
believe they are angels on earth, a belief to which Arlene Shipley
is a living testimony because she was able to overcome 16 years of
child abuse and be a loving, productive citizen. Carl finished his
PhD in family and marriage counseling in December 2000, and now runs
private and group counseling sessions at AngelAID. Dr. Shipley and
his team of doctors offer families a place to vent their fears and
In the future AngelAID will begin a model children’s program,
AngelWARRIORS. This program will be a “good gang” concept that gives
real life rewards to children in any program for taking personal
responsibility for their decisions and giving back to their
community. Their aim is to make it “cool” to be good and give back.