It was a sea of red on December 1, 2009! YCI’s HIV/AIDS Volunteer Action Network team collaborated with other organizations within Ottawa for a World AIDS Day red theme party at 1848, a University of Ottawa campus bar.

At this event, there were opportunities to engage youth about the issues concerning those who are affected by HIV/AIDS in Canada and overseas, and to win great prizes. The World AIDS Day party took place on one of the bar’s busiest nights, and was a collective effort between six organizations, which made for a large turnout.

Our team of volunteers looked for small prizes from local businesses (~$10 and up) for a fundraising game that was run at the event called “Pop the Stereotype.” In this attention grabbing game, our volunteers circulated the pub with red balloons. On each of the balloons was a myth or stereotype about HIV/AIDS. This created an opportunity for youth to get engaged and learn about the issues related to HIV/AIDS in Canada and internationally, as well as win a prize ranging from local artwork to restaurant and store gift certificates. Attendees at the red party were invited to “Pop the Stereotype” for $10, all of which will go towards YCI’s work of engaging youth in their own development and in the development of their communities.

We would like thank the following sponsors for their generous donations: Cafe Alt, Kundstad Sports, East Side Mario’s, The Body Shop, Parma Ravioli, Sugar Mountain, and artist Melanie Lapointe. Because of our sponsors’ support, our team of volunteers were able to raise over $190.  “Pop the Stereotype” was a huge success. We would also like to thank the other organizations that we collaborated with to make this event possible: Faculty of Medicine’s Global Health Interest Group, Dignitas Youth, Keep a Child Alive, Health Promotion and International Health Program as well as University of Ottawa’s campus pub, 1848.

On behalf of Youth Challenge International’s HIV/AIDS Volunteer Action Network team, THANK YOU.

-Hilary Smith, Co-Leader for HIV/AIDS VAN Team

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