a cuddle from the captain
InStyle Magazine - Dec. 1997
by Lisa Blake Berke - photos by Deborah Feingold
With her work at the Incarnation Children's Center for HIV-positive children, Star Trek: Voyager's Kate Mulgrew has learned that love is the most powerful medicine of all
     "When a child's plight breaks our heart, we're supposed to do  something," says Kate Mulgrew in the garden of the Incarnation Children's Center in upper Manhattan.  "We're supposed to reach out, put the child on our lap, kiss him and love him." Mulgrew, with two sons  of her own, has an affinity for kids, and especially those at ICC. These children are homeless and  infected with the virus that causes AIDS.  

      Housed in a former convent, ICC is New York City's only residence  for HIV-infected children and provides a variety of medical and social services. But its  primary function is not so clinical: to give the children some essential TLC. "If each child does not have a grown- up to hold him every day, consistently and systematically,"  explains Mulgrew, who first learned about the center through a friend two years ago, "even if the child survives AIDS, he will not know  about self-esteem or well-being." Since 1989, more than 700 infants and children have occupied ICC's modest 18-bed facility. Parents, many of whom are battling drug addiction, are encouraged to make regular and highly structured visits, with the eventual goal of caring for the children themselves.  

     Mulgrew has been actively involved in the organization for over a year now, visiting and caring for the children whenever the  schedule of her television series, Star Trek: Voyager, permits, and  helping to coordinate fund-raising activities. Mulgrew's current  project is raising money for a much needed medical facility. Today, children at ICC requiring urgent medical care are sent to Columbia- Presbyterian Medical Center. Though the treatment available there is state-of-the-art, the hospital can't always provide the  one-on-one nurturing that can mean so much to a child. As Mulgrew puts it:  “We want everything under one roof so that a child never has to go a day without someone holding his hand." 

Behind ICC's building, on Audubon Avenue in New York City, lies a small patch of greenery. "I love coming here to play with the children," says Mulgrew, exploring with two small friends.
To learn more about Incarnation Children's Center, write the ICC at 142 Audubon Ave, New York, NY 10032, or phone 212-928-2590.