Dozens of passionate students from Arapahoe High School, located in the greater Denver metropolis, took action after learning about the many challenges around providing HIV education globally. Led by high school senior, Taven Sparks, the students worked tirelessly over several winter months to create a series of innovative fundraising efforts that raised funds to develop additional versions of the TeachAIDS software.
These efforts were undertaken by the Link Crew, a select group of student leaders who serve as role models and connect with incoming freshmen and transfer students. The Link Crew partnered with local businesses to offer promotions to community members, including with Menchies, a local frozen yogurt shop, before a basketball and volleyball game, and Qdoba, a Mexican grill, after a football game. The students used these opportunities to encourage Arapahoe High community members to join together around these athletic events. Within the school, they shared more about the TeachAIDS mission and global education efforts while hosting a bake sale during the annual Parent Teacher Conferences and selling refreshments at a freshman tailgate.
High school senior, Taven Sparks, who spearheaded the communitywide efforts, said, "I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to work with this great organization. I was really excited when Link Crew wanted to get involved. We've enjoyed planning the fundraising events, and it's rewarding to know that we are making a positive impact globally."
The funds raised will go directly towards an education project to combat issues around HIV education in Karnataka, India (pop. ~52MM). The localized animated software, customized in Kannada, the regional language, will be released in 2013. India has the third-highest number of HIV-positive people in the world, and the state of Karnataka has one of the highest prevalence rates within India. Government officials had previously banned the national sex education curriculum, which included HIV education. However, they approved the TeachAIDS materials for bypassing many of their concerns and committed to distributing the TeachAIDS Kannada animations into every government secondary school (>5,500 institutions) across the state. This follows on the successful launch and distribution of the customized Telugu animations, featuring cultural icons Nagarjuna Akkineni, Anushka Shetty, Navdeep Pallapollu, and Swati, in the state of Andhra Pradesh (pop. ~84MM).
We thank the Arapahoe High community for their generous support, and commend these young learners for their leadership and sincere dedication to improve social conditions globally.
Photo: Arapahoe High School Link Crew member Tanner Williams raises awareness about the TeachAIDS fundraiser events.