AIDS walk raises awareness

Published 10:47 pm Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The gym at John F. Kennedy Middle School was buzzing with activity.

On the bleachers, a small group of boys was talking about the upcoming game on Sunday; farther down the bleachers a couple of girls were looking through their book bags for a comb to lend another friend.

In the hallway next to the gym, dozens of young students were waiting for their time to come into the gym.


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It would be a while.

Students in the Boys and Girls Club were participating in a special event Monday afternoon – a Care Walk for AIDS.

Miracle Worrell, the president of the Keystone club – a branch of the Boys and Girls Club, headed up the event.

Worrell, a Lakeland High School student, was given the task of taking the national Keystone theme of “Caring For Others” and making it relevant to her community.

“I wanted to pick something we could relate to,” Worrell said. So, she began working on an event that would help educate young people about the widespread occurrence of HIV and AIDS in the African American community.

Students 12 and older, watched a video regarding the myths, the stereotypes and the realities of AIDS.

“I learned a lot,” said Sherrod Brown, a seventh-grader at JFK. “I learned how serious HIV and AIDS can become.”

Following the video, all the members of the Boys and Girls Club were brought back into the gym for the day’s main event: a fundraising Walk for AIDS.

Students were asked to get sponsorships for every lap they walked in the gym – with proceeds going to various organizations benefiting AIDS patients. Additionally, profits from the concession stand were added to the donations.

“It went actually better than I planned,” Worrell said. “I was glad to see the kids were paying attention.”

Throughout the afternoon, soloist Andrew Piland and the Boys and Girls Gospel Choir gave live, musical performances, and Reggie Carter, the unit director of Suffolk Boys and Girls, ended the formal program by talking to the children about the importance of being educated.

“HIV and AIDS are a big killer of millions and millions of people today,” he told them. “Maybe one of you guys will be one of the ones to find a cure for them. Right now, every lap you walk makes a difference.”