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Thousands of Students at 80 U.S. Colleges Spotlight AIDS Pandemic, Orphan Crisis on World AIDS Day

"Lives Are At Stake" Awareness Campaign a Reminder of the 15 Million AIDS Orphans

 

Contact: Geraldine Ryerson-Cruz, 202-615-2608, gryerson@worldvision.org; Brian Peterson, 407-445-6484, bpeterso@worldvision.org, both with World Vision

 

MEDIA ADVISORY, Nov. 29 /Christian Newswire/ -- December 1, 2006 -- World AIDS Day 2006 will be recognized at some 80 colleges and universities across the U.S. through activities such as "Lives are at Stake," a program led by World Vision's Acting on AIDS movement.

 

Students nationwide will advocate on behalf of orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV and AIDS, mobilize their peers to meet the challenge of ending the crisis, and petition U.S. leaders to raise the national contribution to the global fight against the pandemic.

 

"Lives Are at Stake," the central activity of the day, is a powerful visual reminder of the 15 million children already orphaned by AIDS.

 

Photographs of children affected by the pandemic are placed on stakes in a prominent place on campus. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to take a photograph and carry it with them throughout the day to learn about the impact of the disease and consider how they can help turn the tide against this immense humanitarian problem.

 

Acting on AIDS is a grassroots movement of student activists supported by the international Christian humanitarian organization World Vision. Now a national network, it was started less than three years ago by a handful of Christian students at Seattle Pacific University to educate and engage their peers in the fight against the global pandemic. The program provides students with advocacy and service opportunities and encourages them to engage their communities and churches.

 

Additional highlights at some campuses will include:

  • "Make Your Mark for Children" – People will have an opportunity to send a text message from their cell phones or sign World Vision's petition asking that President Bush include at least $5 billion for fighting AIDS globally, with 10% set aside for the care of orphans and vulnerable children, when he submits his next budget request to Congress in February 2007.

  • "Do You See Orange?" -- One in every 20 students will receive an orange "ORPHAN" T-shirt to wear, representing the one in 20 children in sub-Saharan Africa who have already lost parents to the disease.

  • Fundraising -- Students at various Acting on AIDS chapters are raising funds to help establish home-care networks for people living with AIDS in Africa, to support care for orphans, and to provide vulnerable children with primary and secondary education.


The events are the culmination of a 40-campus tour in which World Vision and Acting on AIDS speakers challenged students to take action against the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time. Several speakers will also be at campuses on Dec. 1, including:

 

  • Jyl Hall, Acting on AIDS' director, at Washington State University. Hall, a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary, has spent considerable time researching and reporting on the AIDS crisis, as well as other issues, in six African countries. She has just finished editing World Vision' first educational book on AIDS and activism.

  • Serge Duss, World Vision's senior advisor for global affairs, at James Madison University in Virginia. He speaks to audiences around the country on a variety of relief and development issues. A former journalist, Duss built World Vision's formidable advocacy and lobbying voice to promote justice among foreign-policy decision makers in Washington, D.C. Duss has 22 years of experience in international humanitarian work, including service in the Philippines and the former USSR, where he opened World Vision's Moscow office in 1991
     
  • Steve Haas, a vice president of World Vision, at Abilene Christian University in Texas. Haas has a diverse background in pastoral and international ministry, including youth work in the Philippines and relief work on the Thailand border with Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees. After completing graduate studies at Fuller Theological Seminary and serving at Craigsbank Church in Scotland and Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois, he now leads an initiative to connect American churches with families, churches, and communities struggling against the ravages of HIV/AIDS.  Steve has been interviewed by CNN, Christianity Today and the New York Times.


To schedule a media interview with an Acting on AIDS leader or an expert from World Vision, please call Geraldine Ryerson-Cruz at 202.615.2608 or Brian Peterson at 407.445.6484.  A full list of participating campuses is available upon request.

 

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.  World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.  For more information, visit www.worldvision.org.