Around ASF Blog
Volume 1 / Entry 4
February 23, 2012
ASF recently garnered some press for the collaboration between our Family Programs’ Kid’s Club and the Segerstrom Center for the Arts Education Department. The Center donated 6 weeks of fantastic puppetry workshops to our Kid’s Club participants. They made several different kinds of puppets from muppet-like foam puppets to marionettes and then used them to express their feelings about living with HIV. You can read the Orange County Register article here.
That’s as much as I’m going to market ASF in this blog entry, however. Something I saw on television a few Sundays ago made me think about other ways people are working to prevent the spread of HIV and help young people cope with the disease. In particular, I’m speaking about The Grassroot Project.
My interest was piqued when I saw Ethan Zohn, winner of Survivor:Africa (yes, I’m a Survivor fan), speaking about the “Team Up” partnership between his Grassroot Soccer campaign and the Grassroot Project. I was so impressed with what I saw, I want to promote them a bit!
The Grassroot Project website lists their mission as follows:
“The mission of the Grassroot Project is to use sports to educate at-risk youth in the community about HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. Our curriculum focuses on creating a fun, friendly and safe environment in which youth learn healthy life styles. The programs allow kids to share their feelings and beliefs, increase knowledge, and develop healthy attitudes and behaviors pertaining to HIV/AIDS through the use of interactive games and activities. By using the vehicle of sports to influence social change, student athletes use the curriculum to combat the high rate of HIV/AIDS in D.C.”
The program utilizes the skills of Division I athletes at D.C. area colleges and universities to coach middle-school age children in a multitude of games and activities. Through participatory learning, the children focus on issues such as basic HIV prevention education, stigma and discrimination.
The use of accomplished college athletes highlights the abilities of those persons to overcome adversity, manage their time effectively, set and achieve goals, and learn to work in a team environment. And reaching out to the middle-school age group provides guidance toward a healthier life style during the period in their development when those choices begin to solidify into habits. The hope is that the impression is lasting and the life skills and attitudes developed through the program lead to healthy choices as adults.
The ultimate goal of The Grassroot Project is to lead youth in D.C. to create an AIDS-free generation. The program is the first step…empowering children with information on HIV, giving them access to role models, and providing a comfortable setting to speak openly and honestly about the disease.
A quick note…each ASF Kid’s Club meeting ends with a killer game of dodge ball. We use the arts AND sports! Just saying…
Thanks for reading!
Director of Communications and Public Relations