Thursday, December 30, 2010

WE Movement Looks Toward 2011…

The WE Movement is thankful for the tremendous support that it has received over the last seven months!  Without the support from people like you, it is hard to imagine how we could have touched the lives of so many people in need.   With a renewed sense of spirit and firm commitment to continue helping people, 2011 looks promising.
With many economists still bearish about the prospect for significant economic growth, coupled with the changing political environment pointing toward increased austerity, only together can we help those most in need…and those most vulnerable…from falling through the cracks.  The WE Movement’s flagship HELP4U online platform provides an excellent opportunity to reshape how products and services are linked to the people seeking them – especially during these challenging economic times.
So, how can you help?  Here are just a few simple things that you can do:
  • Tell your colleagues and friends about the WE Movement and ask them to join; there is no cost to join but the benefits are invaluable.
  • Encourage area nonprofits in your community to create profiles on our HELP4U platform, so that people seeking products and services can learn more about them.
  • Become a WE Champion in your community by volunteering your energy, expertise and time where it is needed the most.
  • Alert the WE Movement when events are planned to allow us to help promote them.
  • And never give up hope that together, we can surly make a meaningful difference in the lives of people who have lost hope, or are in need of a little help.
The foundation of the WE Movement’s success is built on shared values; it is our shared values, after all, that allow us to look beyond that what divides us and focus on the things that unite us.  One of the most basic tenants of the WE Movement is people helping people.  Over the last three months, we have used our weekly blog to highlight many of these worthwhile initiatives.
With so many vulnerable populations needing help – such as the homeless, people with disabilities, domestic violence victims, Veterans returning from Iraq & Afghanistan and communities recovering from natural disasters, just to name a few – we have our work cut out for us!  But by coordinating resources and harnessing the power of the World Wide Web with tools like HELP4U communities stand to increase the likelihood that these vulnerable populations are served.
So as the WE Movement looks toward 2011, reflect on how best you can help your community…and we will be right there waiting to help you.
We have joined, will you?  Learn more at

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WE Movement Seeks Champions…

Hulk Hogan was the Champion of the World Wrestling Federation.  Andre Agassi was the Champion of Wimbledon.  Kelly Clarkson was the Champion of American Idol.  But what about everyday Champions that make a meaningful difference in the lives of their friends and neighbors?  It is their kindred spirit that offers hope to so many people. That is why the WE Movement is seeking WE Champions!
WE Champions are those enthusiastic individuals who are well—established in their communities and willing to volunteer their time to coordinate community resources. With the help of WE Partners, they give presentations to inform the community about the WE Movement, and they also actively recruit and enroll Providers—those with goods, products and services they wish to donate gratis. They also identify and enroll WE Recipients, those individuals, organizations and associations most in need of the donated items.

At its official launch press conference in Sacramento, California earlier this year, WE Founder Tom Loker “pinned” Oakland, CA WE Champion Marsha Martin for her service.  Marsha has demonstrated her commitment to her community.

Photo: WE founder, Tom Loker, "pins" Oakland WE Champion, Marsha Martin

But WE is still seeking well-connected community activists to become WE Champions—civic-minded volunteers whose purpose is to educate, inform and enlist the support of his or her respective community in the WE Movement.
At a time when the government cannot accommodate everyone’s needs due to the tough economy, the WE Movement’s vital service in coordinating community resources needs WE Champions to facilitate the match process generated through HELP4U – a web-based system that solves the problem of matching and connecting individuals who are in need of assistance as well as those re-entering the community from state correctional facilities with available program and resources that are available with a state/county/city. WE Champions are “always looking for a match!”  Can you or someone you know step up?
WE is immediately looking for Champions in Sacramento, Orange County, and Los Angeles. To volunteer, contact WE Movement coordinator Jordanna Perez for more information (510-587-2643;

Champions come in numerous styles!  It could be someone starting a toy drive in preparation for the upcoming Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza holidays, or offering tutoring for people with English as a second language (EAS), or even delivering warm blankets to the homeless during the cold winter months.  No effort is too small, or insignificant.  So, volunteer your time as a "
WE Champion" today!
We have joined, will you?  Learn more at

Friday, December 10, 2010

HELP4U provides linkages to those in need…

It seems like increasingly we hear about more people needing a little help, especially with the downturn in the economy as more people are struggling to make ends meet.  Yet at the same time, Americans are unyielding in their commitment to help those who are less fortunate by donating their money, time, expertise or noncash items.  While government programs exist to provide a ‘safety net’ often times it is the community nonprofit organizations that link people in need to the necessary supports and services.
Each week the WE Movement highlights an important initiative or program designed to help people.  The flagship outreach effort, however, is the HELP4U web-based system that solves the problem of matching and connecting individuals who are in need of assistance as well as those re-entering the community from state correctional facilities with available programs and resources that are available.
Whether it is providing assistance after a natural disaster, linking people to appropriate medical care, donating a warm coat or ensuring that the homeless have a warm meal, every little bit of help goes a long way in making each and every community a better place.  HELP4U was launched because many programs have been cut or eliminated, but there remains a very real need in communities across the United States.  By harnessing the power of the Internet and the World Wide Web, HELP4U is available 24-hours a day and seven days a week and is accessible to help people with needs assessment, identifying resources and providing appropriate linkage to care and support.
What started as a pilot project in Oakland, California has now spread to Sacramento, CA and Los Angeles, CA, and efforts are underway to broaden the outreach efforts nationwide.  HELP4U is designed to link participants, facilitators, providers and sponsors.   Each play an important role in linking providers – individuals or companies with goods, products or services they wish to offer gratis to recipients – those in need and most fragile among us.  Government agencies, nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups are encouraged to visit HELP4U at and enter their information, thereby making it available for people who are looking for help.
If you’re curious as to who should help, then the answer is simple.
  • AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs) trying to link people living with HIV/AIDS are invited to help.
  • Homeless shelters offering food and shelter for people living without homes are invited to help. 
  • Pantries making available food and warm meals for families in need are invited to help.
  • Tutoring programs providing English classes for EAS migrants are invited to help.
  • Transitional programs giving assistance to post-incarcerated inmates are invited to help.
  • And you are invited to help…
In reality, HELP4U is perfect for just about any type of program.
The benefits of using the HELP4U platform are numerous, but the rewards are priceless.  They are priceless because by helping just a single individual or family in need of help is what it is all about!  HELP4U is not just about linking individuals or companies offering supports and services, but it is also about providing seamless coordination of services and programs of departments within a state, county or city.  The environmentally-friendly system leverages technology to greatly reduce paper usage, provides the creation of new jobs for intake workers who will facilitate care services and offers the ability to track key metrics for quantifying the number of participants assisted by the services made available, just to name a few.
Over time the success of the HELP4U platform will be contingent on the community “buy-in” as more and more agency and providers create their profiles, thus providing a more complete assessment of products, resources and supports being made available to the people in need using it.
We have joined, will you?  Learn more at

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WE commemorates s Worlds AIDS Day by asking Americans to help people living with HIV/AIDS

December 1st marks World AIDS Day, when people from all around the world commemorate the fight against HIV/AIDS by honoring the more than 25 million people who have died, as well as reaffirming the promise to help the 33+ million people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs).   Twenty-three years after the first World AIDS Day was celebrated in 1987, we’re reminded of the struggles that continually face PLWHAs abroad, and here at home in the United States.
The red ribbon has come to symbolize hope in the fight against the deadly disease, as well as remember the lives lost since HIV/AIDS first started its devastating impact.  The red ribbon – which can be seen on celebrities wearing lapel pins to churches hanging ribbons from their steeples, and postage stamps to designer t-shirts – embodies the spirit that drives people to help others living with HIV/AIDS, or even those who have dedicated their lives to fighting the epidemic.
In issuing his Presidential Proclamation, President Obama said, “Today, we are experiencing a domestic HIV epidemic that demands our attention and leadership.  My Administration has invigorated our response to HIV by releasing the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States.  Its vision is an America in which new HIV infections are rare, and when they do occur, all persons    regardless of age, gender, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socio-economic circumstance    will have unfettered access to high quality, life extending care.”
WE encourages everyone supporting our movement to learn more about how you can help PLWHAs in your local community!  Whether it’s donating clothes to an HIV/AIDS-sponsored thrift store, delivering meals, driving patients to/from medical appointments or even making a tax-deductible donation to a local AIDS Service Organization, anything – everything – that you do really does help!
Non-cash donations, such as furniture, clothes, appliances and art prints and frames, can be made to thrift stores such as Out of the Closet, Shop Housing Works, Lifelong Thrift Store or Philadelphia AIDS Thrift, just to name a few.  Or maybe you would be willing to volunteer at a local AIDS Service Organization, such as Broward House in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Shanti in San Francisco, California, Regional AIDS Interfaith Network in Charlotte, North Carolina or AIDS Services of Dallas in Dallas, Texas.
WE sees philanthropic initiatives all across the United States designed to provide assistance to PLWHAs who need it – including pharmaceutical companies participating in the Heinz-Welvista program.  As previously blogged, Welvista is a “unique public-private partnership of non-governmental healthcare intervention.”  With over 4,000 PLWHAs waiting to access their life-saving medications via the AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (a federal-state program designed to provide medications for people who are uninsured or under-insured) domestically, it is an initiative WE strongly supports!
With racial and ethnic minorities being disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS, there exists opportunities to establish partnerships and leverage relationships to help address ongoing trends, as well as raise awareness with younger generations as is being done by the Flowers Heritage Foundation.  Since PLWHAs are living longer, and healthier – with evidence showing that more PLWHAs are now over the age of 50 – it also poses new challenges to link this aging population to the unique supports and services that they need.
The WE Movement has committed itself to continue to help PLWHAs in the United States!  We have joined, will you?  Learn more at

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

WE is Thankful on Thanksgiving for all of YOU

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, it is important to reflect on the many people and accomplishments that make the WE Movement so rich with compassion, excitement and thoughtfulness.  Our heartfelt thanks go out to each and every one of you, because without you and your support, WE could not have started a movement designed to help people in need across the United States.
What started out as hopeful initiative in Oakland, California has truly turned into a “movement” as the WE Movement launched similar initiatives in the cities of Sacramento and Los Angeles.  Given the use of Ramsell’s “HELP4U” online “Search & Match” software program to assist the less fortunate, our movement let it be known that WE was in search of “champions” to coordinate community logistics.
Photo: WE founder, Tom Loker, "pins" Oakland WE Champion, Marsha Martin
But none of this could be made possible with our WE Champions!  WE Champions are those enthusiastic individuals who are well—established in their communities and willing to volunteer their time to coordinate community resources. With the help of WE Partners, they give presentations to inform the community about the WE Movement, and they also actively recruit and enroll Providers—those with goods, products and services they wish to donate gratis. They also identify and enroll WE Recipients, those individuals, organizations and associations most in need of the donated items.
Whether it was Buena Vista Foods and Foothill Unity Center connecting through WE, or Veronica Carrillo and Karen Gallinger enjoying results of our WE Match, positive connections are being made through our movement all the time.  Most times, connections made are offering hope and inspiration as individuals and companies wishing to donate goods, products or services are provided gratis to people needing a little help.
Since 1863, it has been an annual tradition to celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday in November.[1]  But for WE every day is one in which we “give thanks” for the many great volunteers, champions, providers, partners, sponsors and supporters like YOU for helping us make a meaningful difference in the lives of so many people.
The WE Movement wishes all of you a Happy Thanksgiving!  We have joined, will you?  Learn more at

[1] Wikipedia, “Thanksgiving,” Observances around the world, 2010.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Operation Turkey™ Gives Thanks

WE is thankful for the many people who have joined our movement, which has two main objectives: To coordinate community resources across the nation onto one unified platform and to engage the community in giving back both as individuals and corporations to those who need it most.  As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, WE wanted to call your attention to Operation Turkey™.
Each Thanksgiving, Operation Turkey™ effectively organizes local teams of volunteers - families, friends, and businesses - to cook, prepare, pack, and deliver thousands of hot meals and provide other necessities to many people in need.[1] 
The Austin, Texas-based nonprofit organization helps homeless residents and families in need who live in and around the Austin area by delivering food and other donations.  Austin’s Operation Turkey™ demonstrates how positive outcomes can be achieved when one community bands together to offer hope.  It is managed by the Austin Community Foundation.
Richard M. Bagdonas with Operation Turkey™ summarized, “Whether it’s providing food for homeless families, or simply helping families struggling to make ends meet, Operation Turkey shows them that their community cares about them.  With Thanksgiving being most widely recognized as the ‘holiday of giving’ our program embodies the spirit of people who ‘have’ lending to people who ‘have not’ and in this case, it is hot meals and other necessities.”
Volunteers prepare meals for Austin's homeless community.
Volunteers are asked to donate food, bake food, sort donations, package the food in to-go containers, and deliver dinners and donations.  Operation Turkey™ is also supported by the generous donations from various corporate sponsors in the Austin area – including Winstead Attorneys, Greenling Organic Delivery , RetroChannel, 97Degrees West, SpeedMenu, Lancaster | Helling , Bikinis Sports Bar & Grill, Tornado Pressure Wash and the Travis County Sheriff's office.
What better cause to support during a holiday that is best characterized by “giving thanks.”  With so many people in need – especially during these tough economic times – it is important for everyone one of us to take a step back and reflect on our lives, and where appropriate, help our neighbors who are less fortunate.  Can you imagine what it would be like not to enjoy a nice warm, cooked meal on Thanksgiving?
Last year, Operation Turkey™ fed over 4,000 residents of Austin.  How about helping feed even more in 2010? 100% of your donation will be used to buy food…and they are able to feed 50 people with just a $100 donation.
WE invites you to learn more about Operation Turkey™ online at  
The WE Movement and its HELP4U platform support this worthwhile campaign.  We have joined, will you?  Learn more at

[1] Operation Turkey,, 2010.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Saluting our Veterans on Veterans Day

WE believes that as a nation, every single day we should take a moment to honor the men and women of the armed forces who served the United States, especially those service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice.  But on Veterans Day, it provides a special opportunity for Americans to collectively express their gratitude and sincere appreciation for their commitment and service.
On Veterans Day, Shinseki will join White House and military officials, and leaders of major Veterans organizations, at the traditional Veterans Day wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.  Across the country, from the rousing notes of the “Star Spangled Banner” to the poignant bugle solo of “Taps,” Americans will celebrate U.S. Veterans with music, ceremonies and speeches.  Nearly 100 VA-sponsored activities are scheduled, highlighted by Birmingham’s 63rd annual Veterans Day parade and parades in Lexington and Denver; recognition ceremonies in Anchorage, Alaska, Chillicothe, Ohio, and Tomah, Wis.; concerts in Durham, N.C., Bath, N.Y., and Tucson, Ariz.; and the third annual Veterans Run/Walk in West Haven, Conn.  The oath of citizenship will be administered to 25 Veterans at the Fort Sam Houston Cemetery in Texas as they become official citizens of the nation they served.[1]
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs the projected U.S. Veterans population is 23,067,000 with 8 percent, or 1,824,000 being females.  Among our Veterans, 79.3% are white, 11.3% are black, 5.8% are Hispanic, 1.5% are Asian/Pacific Islander, 0.8% are American Indian and 1.3% are classified as “other” ethnicity.  The number of Veterans with service-related disabilities is just over 3 million.  And as of September 30th, there were an estimated 2,272,000 World War II Veterans still living.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, who serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, summarized it best when she stated: “This Veterans Day, I invite all Americans to never forget those willing to serve our great nation. Here in South Florida we have an extraordinary diverse cross-section of veterans, and I am honored to represent each and every one of them in the U.S. Congress. Whether they have served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or Merchant Marines, all members of our Veterans community have helped secure our nation’s values of freedom and democracy for future generations. Although America’s veterans come from all walks of life, they share one thing in common: A belief in the promise of America and the desire to protect the freedoms we all hold dear.”[2]
Unfortunately, many of our Veterans are homeless today.  The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans reports that there are 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, with an additional 1.5 million at risk of being homeless.  Racial and ethnic minorities represent a disproportion 56% of the homeless Veterans in the United States.
NCHV states that Veterans “need a coordinated effort that provides secure housing, nutritional meals, basic physical health care, substance abuse care and aftercare, mental health counseling, personal development and empowerment…[through] job assessment, training and placement assistance…helping them obtain and sustain employment.
There exists a need in almost every community to help our Veterans.  The NCHV database provides an excellent resource for homeless Veterans, but there are many other resources – including the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion, to name a few.  The VA lists accredited service organizations on its website here:
So on this Veterans Day, please consider donating blankets, or nonperishable food items, or unwanted clothes or anything that you think might help out a Veteran in need.
WE invites you to learn more about Veterans Day on VA's Veterans Day website at under “Regional Observances.”   
The WE Movement and its HELP4U platform support this worthwhile campaign.  We have joined, will you?  Learn more at

[1] U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, “On Veterans Day, VA Secretary Shinseki Recognizes, Thanks Veterans,” November 11, 2010.
[2] Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Veterans Day Message, November 11, 2010.

Monday, November 1, 2010

“All for Good” inspires new generation of volunteers

WE previously highlighted the importance of volunteerism in America, along with how “people helping people” is embedded into the very fabric of our society.  There is probably no greater sense of idealism and optimism then in our nation’s youth – especially on college campus across the entire United States. Enter “All for Good,” which encourages Americans to share ways to do good…but their message has a strong appeal to younger generations.
In 2009, there were 63.4 million Americans who volunteered in their community, working an estimated 8.1 billion hours of service valued at nearly $169 billion, that according to the Corporation for National & Community Service.[1]  All for Good” was inspired by President Obama’s call to engage more Americans in community service.
As part of his “Renew America Together” initiative, the President called for Americans to ignite the spirit of service in our nation by asking them to make a lasting pledge to serve their communities.  In June 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama announced the launch of United We Serve, a sustained effort to expand the size and impact of volunteer efforts in America. The initial phase of United We Serve runs for 81 days through a new National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11.
“This, more than anything, is the key point I want to make today – that this new Administration doesn't view service as separate from our national priorities, or in addition to our national priorities – we see it as the key to achieving our national priorities.We believe that the only way to build that new foundation for our economy is to establish a new role for service in this country,” said the First Lady when the “Call to Service” was launched.
Their motto is pretty simple: “Each of us has a role to play in improving our communities and our country. Small actions add up to a big difference.” broadcasts in one place the volunteer opportunities listed by 5 major competing/partnering orgs: volunteer match, service nation, meet-up, craigslist and idealist. The technological platform is enhanced by applications linking it to other platforms, such as iGoogle, Facebook, Blogger, Typepad, just to name a few.
According to their website, their core team is made up of volunteering enthusiasts from places like Google, Craigslist Foundation, UCLA, YouTube, FanFeedr and Aha! Ink. As a contributor to the All for Good project, Google is hosting the All for Good website and products. Several Google engineers worked on All for Good as a 20-percent project (Google lets engineers spend a day a week on projects that interest them), collaborating with a broader team to build the product.[2]
So whether it is volunteering your time at a food pantry, or donating your time answering phone calls at a local community center, or reading to under-privileged school children, every little bit helps!  Especially during tough economic times, volunteers often bridge the gap in linking supports and services to people who need them.
For example, “All for Good” is proud to support Waiting for "Superman"  See the film and find ways to improve public education in your community.
No job to too big, no task too small.  There are over 100,000 volunteer opportunities currently posted on the website.
By using an online portal, “All for Good” helps improves communities by offering important resources and tools, including:
  • Find volunteer activities near you.
  • Share volunteer activities with your friends.
  • See what your friends are interested in.
  • Track volunteer activities you care about.
To date, volunteer activities have been offered by numerous nonprofits, including, 1 Sky, AARP, American Solutions for Winning the Future, American Red Cross, City of New York, The Corporation for National and Community Service, craigslist, Girl Scouts of the USA, Habitat for Humanity, HandsOn Network and Points of Light Institute, Idealist, MeetUp, Mentor, Network for Good, Organizing for America,, Sierra Club, TechMission, The Extraordinaries, Truist, United Jewish Communities, United Way, Volunteer2, VolunteerMatch and Youth Service America.
All for Good” is designed to help small, as well as large organizations with their activities.  Organizations with fewer than 10 volunteer activities are directed to several partner website – such as,,,, – while organizations with 11-500 volunteer activities are encourage to complete an online spreadsheet template and utilize other online tips.
WE invites you to learn more at   
The WE Movement and its HELP4U platform support this worthwhile campaign.  We have joined, will you?  Learn more at

[1] Corporation for National & Community Service, Volunteering in America: National, State & City Information, June 2010.
[2] All for Good,, 2010.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Give a Coat, Share the Warmth!

Throughout much of the United States the temperatures are cooling off and the changing weather is reflected in the foliage taking on its seasonal fall colors.  But as the dog day of summer are replaced with more a pleasant climate outside, so does the reality that winter is right around the corner – with its shorter days, fridged nights and snowy conditions in many parts of the country.  With that in mind, WE embraces the ongoing “One Warm Coat: Give a Coat, Share the Warmth” campaign being kicked-off by Burlington Coat Factory starting on October 29th.
Burlington Coat Factory’s campaign is designed to Our provide any person in need with a warm coat free of charge because “providing this simple, yet vital, need helps people live productive lives all year round.”[1]  It is being supported by numerous retail partners, including Aeropostale, Eddie Bauer, Old Navy, Gap – as well as several corporate partners such as GLAD, Charles Schwab & Company Virtual Marketing Partners and Google.  Additionally, The Change Happens Foundation supports One Warm Coat with grant funds, allowing Burlington Coat Factory to hire staff during their busy collection months.
One Warm Coat started out in 1992 as a Thanksgiving Weekend coat drive in San Francisco.  Since then, more than 1 Million coats have been donated in thousands of local communities across North America.[2] The campaign places an added emphasis on children, stating that nearly one in five children live in poverty in the United States, and one in three homeless persons is a child under the age of 18.
One Warm Coat® operates by groups hosting coat drives at the community level; an Agency is selected to receive the coats – and the coats must be given FREE!  The list of Agencies on their website is not a complete list of organizations that support those in need -- it is just the beginning!  People are encouraged to perform a "Google search" for "homeless assistance + your town" or take a look in your telephone directory. Churches and food banks often distribute coats to those in need.
Tools and resources are provided to would-be coat drive organizers to help facilitate the process of collecting the donated coats, including a guidebook, flyers, draft press releases, tax receipts, etc.  One Warm Coat® also supplies a large banner and box label to each Organizer who submits the Share Your Plans form online.
One Warm Coat® exemplifies how individuals, corporations, philanthropic groups and nonprofits can collaborate at the local level to link providers – individuals or companies with goods, products and services they wish to offer gratis to recipients – those in need and most fragile among us.
WE invites you to learn more at  
The WE Movement and its HELP4U platform support this worthwhile campaign.  We have joined, will you?  Learn more at

[1] Burlington Coat Factory, “One Warm Coat®,” October 2010.
[2] Burlington Coat Factory, “One Warm Coat®,” October 2010.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Help People with HIV and Win a Cruise for Two!

Isn’t it inspiring when you help others who are in need?  Just knowing that your contribution – whether monetary or not – provided supports or services to the underserved in our communities is uplifting.  Equally uplifting is supporting efforts to educate others about important issues impacting local communities.
At the same time, wouldn’t it be great to “get away” from the hustle-and-bustle of the crazy work week and everyday responsibilities at home?
Well, why not kill two birds with one stone, as the saying goes!
But your chance to win an exotic vacation cruise and support people living with HIV/AIDS is running out! 
The Flowers Heritage Foundation (“FHF”) is offering a chance to win a 7 Day Cruise for two, for everyone who purchases a $50.00 raffle ticket – with the proceeds going to helps them provide emergency HIV/AIDS medicine to underserved PLWA and provide HIV/AIDS education and awareness to high school students through our innovative art program.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, FHF is committed to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic, specifically by offering educational resources in underserved communities and linking people living with HIV/AIDS to the treatment options that keep them healthy, productive members of their communities.  FHF’s efforts to combat HIV/AIDS are symbolized in its “Don't Turn Your Back on AIDS™” (DTYBOA) program, which is only part of the organization’s dedication to addressing health issues that improve the lives of the underserved through collaboration, outreach and education.
Don’t Turn Your Back on AIDS™ Awareness Art Competition provides an interactive environment orientation where high school students learn imperative information regarding HIV risks and prevention in the classroom through a 28-minute DVD. Students creatively interpret their views and artistically express themselves under their art teachers’ instruction. Consequently, their awareness is increased about contracting HIV and their risk behaviors are reduced.
Why is this competition important?
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (“CDC”), “young people in the United States are at persistent risk for HIV infection. This risk is especially notable for youth of minority races and ethnicities. Continual HIV prevention outreach and education efforts, including programs on abstinence and on delaying the initiation of sex, are required as new generations replace the generations that benefited from earlier prevention strategies.”[1]
The underlying currant behind HIV-infection rates reveals the need for new, innovative prevention strategies targeting youth and young adults.  The following is based on data from the 35 areas with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting[2]:
  • An estimated 4,883 young people received a diagnosis of HIV infection or AIDS, representing about 13% of the persons given a diagnosis during that year.[3]
  • African Americans were disproportionately affected by HIV infection; accounting for 55% of all HIV infections reported among persons aged 13–24.[4]
  • Young men who have sex with men (MSM), especially those of minority races or ethnicities, were at high risk for HIV infection. In the 7 cities that participated in CDC’s Young Men’s Survey during 1994–1998, 14% of African American MSM and 7% of Hispanic MSM aged 15–22 were infected with HIV.[5]
  • During 2001–2004, in the 33 states with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting, 62% of the 17,824 persons 13–24 years of age given a diagnoses of HIV/AIDS were males, and 38% were females.
The data speaks for itself.  The current HIV-prevention strategies are failing American teens and young adults because they are marred in an outdated model from the 1990s; it has demonstrated a diminishing effect on Generation Xers and younger.  According to the CDC, in 2006 young adults represented 4.4 percent, or approximately 48,400, of the 1.1 million people living with HIV infection.  Equally alarming is that nearly 50 percent of HIV-positive American teens and young adults don't know they are infected, which amounts to 9.9 percent – 23,000 youths – of the total 232,700 people living in the United States who are unaware of their status.[6] 
The CDC estimated by using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey that only 22 percent of sexually-active high school students got tested for HIV in 2007.  Yet, students who had learned in school about the human immunodeficiency virus were more likely to get tested for HIV.[7]
The CDC recommends routine HIV screening for all people 13-64 years old to decrease the number of undiagnosed infections and the spread of new infections.  According to the CDC, “the adoption of voluntary HIV screening in health care settings will help health care workers identify persons with previously unrecognized HIV infection and link them to clinical and prevention services, and further reduces sexual and perinatal transmission of HIV in the United States.”[8]
It is not surprising that “Lack of Awareness” continues to be identified by the CDC, and others, is a leading causes of HIV infection among young people in the United States.[9]
The Kaiser Family Foundation's National Survey of Teens on HIV/AIDS 2000, a nationally representative survey of teens ages 12-17, assessed attitudes and knowledge about the epidemic among a generation at risk. The survey, which remains widely considered groundbreaking in its assessment of youth attitudes toward HIV infection, documents teen perspectives about the impact of the epidemic on young people and their own personal concern about becoming infected. It also includes findings about where teens get their information about HIV/AIDS, their information needs, and attitudes toward HIV testing. Key findings include: greater levels of concern expressed by minority teens; many teens would not know where to go get tested for HIV; and teens want more information about HIV/AIDS.[10]
So, FHF is taking a stand against AIDS and offering an innovative solution, whereby linking youth and young adults with an opportunity to educate one another about HIV/AIDS prevention.  Don’t Turn Your Back on AIDS™ is a worthwhile initiative.
Enter by December 15, 2010 and be eligible to win a 7 day cruise from Norwegian Cruise Lines to any where they go (Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Mexican Rivera, Canada/New England, and Bahamas/Florida).  But even better, by entering to win you’re actually supporting a worthy cause.
The WE Movement and its HELP4U platform support this worthwhile program.  We have joined, will you?  Learn more at

[1] CDC, HIV/AIDS Among Youth, August 3, 2008.
[2] CDC, HIV/AIDS Among Youth, August 3, 2008.
[3] CDC, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2004. Vol. 16. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC: 2005:1–46.
[4] CDC. HIV Prevention in the Third Decade. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2005.
[6] CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 26, 2009.
[7] CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 26, 2009.
[8] CDC, Questions and Answers for Professional Partners: Revised Recommendations for HIV Testing of Adults, Adolescents and Pregnant Women in Healthcare Settings, August 22, 2008.
[9] CDC, HIV/AIDS Among Youth, August 3, 2008.
[10] The Kaiser Family Foundation, National Survey of Teens on HIV/AIDS 2000, November 16, 2000.