It all started with a seminar at the 2002 Rotary Youth Leadership Award last summer.
It spread to a senior project and a Web site dedicated to AIDS awareness. It will continue in David Keesee's Eagle Scout service project Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta.
David, a senior at Lakeside High School and junior assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 2, was astonished at how little many teenagers knew about HIV and AIDS. In addition, his research indicated that there were no advocacy programs or organizations in the Augusta area, which included teens as principal partners. He slowly began to develop the idea for organizing a youth AIDS organization and playing host to an AIDS awareness fair to serve the entire community.
David has teamed with the youth group at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta and area organizations including MCG AIDS Outreach, the Red Cross, Planned Parenthood, the Richmond County Health Department, St. Stephens Ministry, and CSRA AIDS Resource and Education to coordinate the AIDS awareness fair.
In addition, representatives from the Atlanta-based AIDS Survival Project and the TORCH Foundation (for Truth or Consequences Helps) will be available to provide advocacy information. The AIDS awareness fair will include a series of breakout sessions, advocacy and information tables, and educational games and activities.
The day will include a "Chair-ity Auction," which will showcase chairs as works of art created by area youth and artists depicting significant issues in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Not only has the youth group adopted the AIDS awareness fair, but it also is an official sponsor of the 20th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial to be held May 18.
To become an Eagle Scout, a scout must earn 21 merit badges. The scout also must serve for at least 16 months in a position of responsibility and provide leadership in an Eagle Scout service project.
The service project must provide a significant benefit to the community, and the scout must plan, execute and direct all aspects of the project.
David began his project by collecting information for his senior project at Lakeside High School. He then developed a Web site, which has been linked to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta's web page. He then organized volunteers from the church's youth group into an AIDS advocacy group known as Unitarian Universalist Youth Against AIDS. He has worked with Creative Expressions to develop a youth-group logo and a variety of brochures and informational handouts.
The group has held a hot dog sale and an Easter Basket Silent Auction to raise money for the AIDS awareness fair. They are currently selling a variety of original T-shirts.
Starting as a Cub Scout, David's experiences in scouting have been filled with campouts, hiking, a National Jamboree, and developing an appreciation and respect for the environment. David has held many positions of responsibility as a Boy Scout, including assistant patrol leader, patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader and senior patrol leader.
David also was initiated into the Order of the Arrow Brotherhood, Scouting's national honor society. He has been an integral member of the Bobwhite Lodge Ceremonies team and has served as ceremonies chair and Dixie chair.
If you go
The first AIDS Awareness Fair sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Youth Against AIDS will be Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta.
The AIDS Awareness Fair will include a series of breakout sessions, information tables and educational games and activities. The day ends with a "Chair-ity Auction", which will showcase chairs as works of art created by area youth and artists depicting significant issues in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Events and activities are planned for all ages throughout the day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Area organizations including MCG AIDS Outreach, the Red Cross, Planned Parenthood, the Richmond County Health Department, St. Stephens Ministry and CSRA AIDS Resource and Education have agreed to participate in the breakout sessions and with information tables. In addition, representatives from the Atlanta-based AIDS Survival Project and the TORCH Foundation (for Truth or Consequences Helps) will be available to provide advocacy information.
For more information or to volunteer, call David Keesee with the Unitarian Universalist Youth Against AIDS at (706) 414-6515 or email@example.com.
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