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Rock Bridge students raise $14,500 for YouthAIDS

Saturday, December 20, 2008 | 8:53 p.m. CST
From left, Daniel Burke-Aguerro, Maggie Kaurffman, Will Schauwacker and Ryan Bocklage finish up on mile 20 of their walk through the halls of Rock Bridge High School on Saturday. The four are attending separate colleges across the country, but came back to the school from which they graduated in spring 2008 to help raise money for the YouthAIDS program.

COLUMBIA — Rock Bridge High School held its second annual YouthAIDS Walk on Saturday, raising $14,500 for YouthAIDS, a global HIV/AIDS education and prevention program.

Forty-five participants, including students, alumni and community members walked a combined 900 miles through the hallways of Rock Bridge. The walk ranks as one of the top two fundraisers across the nation this year for YouthAIDS, said Rock Bridge history teacher and walk sponsor Matthew Cone.

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"Everybody should take part in it," said Rock Bridge senior Mahir Khan. "You only have to walk 20 miles," Khan said.

His father oversees the regional AIDS center in southern Sudan through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"I don't think about it too often because I don't really like to, but my father lives in Sudan right now… I guess this issue has to do with my father and me because he is right there, right now, where everything is happening, and the least I can do — I can't actually go there — is this," Khan said. "So this is one of my other motivations."

Participants were asked to walk 20 miles at the event. Although fundraising fell short of the $20,000 goal, participants still raised twice as much as last year.

“It's inspirational to think of the people who gave so much money,”  Rock Bridge senior Sarah Jacobson said. “My feet hurt, but I’m not gonna stop.”

This is the second walk for Rebecca Akutekha, a Rock Bridge graduate and freshman at Anderson University in Indiana. Akutekha, who moved from Kenya five years ago, has firsthand experience with the effects of AIDS. Her cousin died from AIDS in 2004.

"She's part of my motivation to do this,” Akutekha said. "I think of what she went through and how people treated her. That just wasn't right. I should do something to help and to educate people about AIDS so they stop treating people with AIDS like second-class citizens."

Atutekha said even people who don't share her firsthand experiences with AIDS should be concerned about the issue.

"Just because you're not close to someone who is affected by it doesn't mean you shouldn't get involved in it," Atutekha said. “It's a global issue, so it should be a global community effort. We all have a moral obligation to help."

Rock Bridge graduate Mercedes Carter-Cone said she hopes to work for an organization like YouthAIDS someday.

“If I can do this for the rest of my life that’d be awesome,” she said. “We began something that really makes a difference.”

Cone said he was impressed by the students' interest.

“It was a success in spirit, really. The walk completely exceeded our expectations,” Cone said. “It’s not just about how much we raise. I’d be happy if even two kids got really excited about making a difference."

Cone encouraged each student to find 20 people to donate to YouthAIDS. The students received donations from about 650 sources in amounts ranging from $5 to $300.

“There's only one university (George Washington) that is even close to competing with us to have raised the most for YouthAIDS," Cone said. "They may or may not beat us, but we are really the number one or two in the country, and we're competing against universities, fraternities, high schools, everybody, and so we did a fabulous job."

Cone will not be teaching in Columbia next year. He said he hopes another teacher will continue the effort.


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Comments

Ray Shapiro December 20, 2008 | 9:19 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
timtim December 21, 2008 | 1:26 a.m.

I could not imagine a better way to waste your money.

Maybe flushing it down the toilet?

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 21, 2008 | 5:34 a.m.

Mission: YouthAIDS, an education and prevention program of PSI, uses media, pop culture, music, theatre and sports to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and reach 600 million young people in more than 60 countries with life-saving messages, products, services and care.

History Of PSI: PSI was founded in 1970 to improve reproductive health using commercial marketing strategies. For its first 15 years, PSI worked mostly in family planning (hence the name Population Services International). In 1985, it started promoting oral rehydration therapy. PSI’s first HIV prevention project — which promoted abstinence, fidelity and condoms — began in 1988. PSI added malaria and safe water to its portfolio in the 1990s and tuberculosis in 2004.

Target Population: High-risk groups such as: sex workers and their clients; injecting drug users and their sexual partners; men who have sex with men; mobile populations; uniformed personnel; and vulnerable youth.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 21, 2008 | 7:18 a.m.

"Just because you're not close to someone who is affected by it doesn't mean you shouldn't get involved in it," Atutekha said. “It's a global issue, so it should be a global community effort. We all have a moral obligation to help."

---What about the moral obligation not to get HIV/AIDS in the first place? Apparently having a moral obigation and fulfilling it are two seperate things.

(Report Comment)
Matt Y December 21, 2008 | 11:11 a.m.

Wow, Ray. What an enormously ignorant comment. Not that that is anything new for you.

Tell me this - how many children born to mothers who have HIV or AIDS do you believe made a "moral decision" to acquire the virus? Is it around the same time that people "choose to be gay"? Enlighten us.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 21, 2008 | 12:14 p.m.

If you got HIV from a drug-addled or promiscuous lifestyle, and then choose to have kids, you've shirked your moral obligations multiple times. Period.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 21, 2008 | 1:21 p.m.

Matt T: What part of my comment do you consider "ignorant?"
Who's to tell me that I personally have a "moral obligation to help?" Volunteering to help excludes any "moral obligations." In fact, if I think the virus is being spread via immoral acts, I may choose to have a "moral obligation" to allow their behaviors to face the natural consequences of their actions.
Last night I posted a much more poignant response to these "idealistic fundraisers." Apparently, it was "too real" and not "politically correct." I get alot of that. ("Political correctness" is just another form of censorship and is used to avoid controversy, ideas, discussion and maybe protect someone else's feelings at the expense of the truth.)
You probably wouldn't have liked what I wrote, last night about this organization, no matter how I put it.
There's a lot of cash flow being thrown around our global economy over HIV/AIDS. Most of it goes to salaries. It has become a big business.
I'm all for health education and medical research.
I wouldn't waste my time on those who choose lifestyles and behaviors based on their hormones instead of their brains.
You can't fix stupid.
And, thanks Ayn for doing something I couldn't do in my original post, last night. Keep it short and "sweet." Period.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 21, 2008 | 1:31 p.m.

HIV/AIDS gets a disproportionate amount of attention and funding. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's and even the flu kill far more Americans annually. When was the last time you saw a walk for the flu? Or cirrhosis?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 21, 2008 | 2:15 p.m.

More appropriately is when did you ever hear one partner in a relationship thank the other partner for giving them H.I.V?

I rest my case.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 21, 2008 | 2:21 p.m.

If Church Missionaries can't get these people to behave responsibly, what makes anyone think a Public Relations organization like YouthAids will? What's their track record and who are they really helping?
I trust Jerry Lewis and MDA a whole lot more than what I've learned about YouthAids, per their web-site.

(Report Comment)
k s December 21, 2008 | 11:32 p.m.

Ayn, It is interesting you know how many people died from the flu, when even the CDC doesn't http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/season.h... . And you still fail to answer how a child BORN with HIV/AIDS have made a "moral decision" that would lead them to having the virus. And Ray, I liked how you took parts and pieces from the YOUTH AIDS website to make your point, in fact the portion of your post about who the plan is targeted at, is for INNOVAIDS, in Southeast Asia, not YOUTHAIDS. Their mission is
Who We Are
YouthAIDS, an education and prevention program of PSI, uses media, pop culture, music, theatre and sports to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and reach 600 million young people in more than 60 countries with life-saving messages, products, services and care.

It's on their front page of the website. I'm not sure how you missed it.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 22, 2008 | 3:02 a.m.

k s how many children have you ever heard say "Oh thank you mommy and daddy for giving me H.I.V. or AIDS"?

I have never heard of a single one ever.

I rest my case.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 22, 2008 | 4:36 a.m.

KS, according to the CDC, here are the leading causes of death:

Heart disease: 652,091
Cancer: 559,312
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 143,579
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 130,933
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 117,809
Diabetes: 75,119
Alzheimer's disease: 71,599
Influenza/Pneumonia: 63,001
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 43,901
Septicemia: 34,136

KS, go back and read my post. Then quote where I said that a child made the moral decision. You can't, of course. It's the parents who are to blame for their irresponsibility. By the way, the rest of us are NOT to blame.

(Report Comment)
Matthew Laye December 22, 2008 | 10:43 a.m.

Ray I got a serious laugh out of this statement,
"I wouldn't waste my time on those who choose lifestyles and behaviors based on their hormones instead of their brains."
So do you really think that we should not waste our time on people with health complications from type 2 diabetes, heart disease, colon cancer, and obesity since those all have been shown to be significantly reduced by certain lifestyles choices. It is awfully simplistic minded (to the point of stubborn ignorance) to think that people make choices by their brain or hormones and not that the two are intimately linked.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 22, 2008 | 1:13 p.m.

No, responsible people should not be forced to subsidize and enable poor lifestyle choices, such as www.columbiamissourian.com/stories/2007/....

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 22, 2008 | 1:43 p.m.

Ayn Rand come on now you know not all of that group you mentioned are being totally subsidized by the Feds. There are alot who try to watch their dietary intake,meds and more.

This thread here is about the H.I.V. and AIDS issues and lets try to keep it as such.

(Report Comment)
k s December 22, 2008 | 2:01 p.m.

But don't people get the flu from not washing their hands, or hanging out with people who are already sick, I have to say Ayn, I vote no on walks for the flu. After all, it's poor behavior choices .....

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 22, 2008 | 2:14 p.m.

Chuck, do you realize how much care for each irresponsible person costs? It's easily tens of thousands per person annually for acute and end-stage cases of HIV, diabetes, etc. Multiply that by even a small amount of people, and it's an enormous cost to society -- one that could easily be avoided. Plus, if these people are able to claim disability as a result, then they also are not contributing to society.

KS, just as one can choose to get a flu shot -- which is free, if you qualify -- so, too, can one choose not to shoot drugs or have unprotected sex. If you feel so bad about these people, why not take them into your home and care for them?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 22, 2008 | 2:15 p.m.

This topic is about HIV/AIDS not about Diabetics.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 22, 2008 | 2:49 p.m.

Hey Laye
You say: It is awfully simplistic minded (to the point of stubborn ignorance) to think that people make choices by their brain or hormones and not that the two are intimately linked.

I say: When it comes to sexual behavior, as human beings, we have a choice, to be ruled by our hormonal implses or by our "brain power." You used the concept of "intimacy" I'd use the word "distinct."
Which one do use to decide your sexual behavior?

And KS:
Your response to me is bogus. I called up the web-site posted in the news article, just like anyone else could and posted the same Mission statement that you did on YouthAids.

No where in the newspaper article is there any mention of any group called PSI or INNOVAIDS. In fact, when I googled your INNOVAIDS, I still was not impressed. INNOVAIDS is just another small layer of this massive pubic relations market-driven cash flow business built around the newest trend, "AIDS." Cash flow being spent on promiscuous people. (Let the Church do its job in saving these people from themselves.)
"INNOVAIDS is a regional programme of Population Services International (PSI) that operates in the six Mekong countries of Cambodia, China (Shanxi and Yunnan), Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. It seeks to improve access to existing HIV prevention products, and introduces new products and services such as male and female condoms, water-based lubricants, pre-packaged therapy for treatment of sexually-transmitted infections, voluntary HIV counselling and testing services and products/services to reduce drug-related HIV risk. It is targeted at high-risk groups such as: sex workers and their clients; injecting drug users and their sexual partners; men who have sex with men; mobile populations; uniformed personnel; and vulnerable youth. INNOVAIDS also provides training and technical assistance to host government counterparts, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and private sector providers."
Is this where the money raised in Columbia is going?
At least show me an organization which takes care of AIDS/HIV infected babies born and abandoned by these "ignorant hormonal driven promiscous gay/bi/straight hedonistic driven irresponsible" people we are throwing our money at.
I can understand those who have a relative or friend working in the YouthAids, PSI or INNOVAIDS movement to be defensive of their cash flow and involvement, but when there are so many other ways to address this outbreak, let's put our resources towards finding a cure and allowing some religion into these people's lives to address their "tribal/cultural/hormonal driven" choices. Then, maybe will see some changes in behavior.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 22, 2008 | 2:55 p.m.

Chuck, Type 2 diabetes and AIDS are similar in the sense that many, if not most, cases are brought on by poor lifestyle choices. It's a valid comparison.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 22, 2008 | 3:42 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
Ayn Rand December 22, 2008 | 3:52 p.m.
This comment has been removed.
Ray Shapiro December 22, 2008 | 4:02 p.m.

From the YouthAids web-site. One of their partners:

Out Impact, Inc. is an gay omnimedia company for both gay men and women with a strong focus on making a positive impact in the gay community. Out Impact is committed in supporting the gay, artistic and activism communities, driven to make a positive difference. Out Impact, Inc. is committed to excellence by informing and entertaining our audience while giving back and having fun!

Out Impact was launched June 2007 and is currently a gay online magazine on OutImpact.com. Out Impact produces events benefiting various non-profits all over the country. Out Impact creates comprehensive, unique media campaigns to raise awareness for various philanthropic causes while bridging the non-profit, activism, artistic and gay communities.

Out Impact is a unique brand because we give every aspect of our progressive company a philanthropic connection, as well as marketing to both gay men and women, instead of marketing to a specific niche in the gay community. Our brand advantage is appealing to the entire gay community, raising awareness for philanthropy causes as well as providing quality content that is easily accessible to everyone on entertainment, style, news in our community, and everyday life for both gay persons and their allies.

--Nice.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 22, 2008 | 4:23 p.m.

The heavy-handed mod strikes again.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 22, 2008 | 5:04 p.m.

Take-downs are getting so bad, (without an e-mail explanation) I'm starting to e-mail copies of all comments as they appear, when I can, to myself just so that I get to read what people "really think."
(Including my own "original" comments!)
Then I have the option of posting again as a "Missourian comment-lite"

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 22, 2008 | 5:20 p.m.

Or we can find another local board. There are plenty of options. Then the Missourian board's traffic will resemble the Missourian's subscribership.

(Report Comment)
Danielle Bentley December 22, 2008 | 6:18 p.m.

I believe our purpose in life is to give back to the world, for the world has given so much to us. Therefore, I would like to commend these students for giving back and helping the world become a better place. I challenge these students to continue to stand up for what they believe in and ALWAYS do what they can to make society better.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 22, 2008 | 6:54 p.m.

I would never castigate any young person for their desire to be helpful or willingness to learn.
I do, however, question the motives of "pro-gay driven" organizations and the methods they use to recruit volunteers who may be told a biased/agenda-driven portion of the entire story.

(Report Comment)
Matthew Laye December 22, 2008 | 10:11 p.m.

Ray I know that your real problem is the association with the homosexual community. That is the root of your distaste plain and simple. You always come up with other ways to justify your disgust with talking points about sexual promiscuous or biased organizations (what are any religious groups). It would be a lot easier if you just said, "I am against the gay community and therefore don't believe in HIV/AIDS support through research, volunteering, or any other mechanism".

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 22, 2008 | 10:31 p.m.

I would have absolutely no problem with any organization which takes care of AIDS/HIV infected children born as the result of homosexual copulation.
As far as how I feel about the gay community, that is none of your business.
And, I don't appreciate you telling me what's easy to say.
My "easy to say" postings are usually removed from this site, by the Mssourian's moderator.
Have a nice day and keep "plugging" away.

(Report Comment)
Matthew Laye December 23, 2008 | 4:49 a.m.

Wow. Seriously. Well obviously you would have no problem with an organization that takes care of children resulting from gay copulation because it would be a physiological impossibility for such an organization to exist.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 23, 2008 | 5:21 a.m.

The problem is Matthew Laye you are not willing to face is that those children who contacted HIV/AIDS from their parents through being born did not have that choice their parents who are supposed to be responsible adults obviously did.

That is a point you do not want to seem to go towards and needs to be addressed in it's context openly.

When is the last time Matthew Laye you ever heard a child as soon as they were old enough to understand what was going on with themselves and about the disease they were given from their birth parents "Oh thank you mommy and daddy for giving me HIV/AIDS. I am so happy you cursed me with this disease"?

I have never myself heard of one instance ever.

There are though children who do thank their parents daily though for being conscientious adults and taking care of themselves while carrying those children for the term and bringing them healthy into this world.

We need more such responsible adults and traditional married parental couples in our society today.

(Report Comment)
Jake Sherlock December 23, 2008 | 8:04 a.m.

Ray and Ayn,

The most common reason I remove comments are: 1) Personal attacks on each other; 2) profanities; 3) abusive language. If y'all can't have a civilized conversation, then I moderate. My suggestion would be not to post comments you wouldn't otherwise say in the presence of your own mother. If you guys can do that, I won't take down your comments.

Thank you,

Jake Sherlock
Missourian opinion editor

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 23, 2008 | 11:07 a.m.

remove comments are: 1) Personal attacks on each other; 2) profanities; 3) abusive language. If y'all can't have a civilized conversation, then I moderate. My suggestion would be not to post comments you wouldn't otherwise say in the presence of your own mother.

--I know your rules and if you are following them, as best as possible, someone else has been taking down my posts.
1. I don't curse on-line.
2. My removed posts will usually "attack" the articles' subject matter or is critical of its author.
3. The language I use is the same my mom used and the style/sarcasm/wit is from my dad.
If you have the ability to find those removed articles, at best someone else may label them as rude or outspoken. (I considered them poignant, but within your rules.)
I have copies of a few of them and IMHO they don't fall into the criteria you have listed.
It would be nice if you'd e-mail to me your actual reasons for taking these posts down so that I can make them more "politically correct" for your readers and not feel like you are censoring me for some unknown reason.
That would be just "Jake" with me!

(Report Comment)
Jake Sherlock December 23, 2008 | 11:34 a.m.

Ray,

I e-mailed you last week with reasons why some of your posts have been deleted. I also just e-mailed you again. If your e-mail has changed since you first registered with the site, please drop a line to SherlockJ@missouri.edu with a current address and I'll update our records.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 23, 2008 | 1:32 p.m.

Jake, the most recent post you removed was where I reminded Chuck that this is not his board and said that if he didn't like the way the thread was evolving, he should leave. It's silly to interpret that as a personal attack.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 23, 2008 | 1:46 p.m.

Ayn Rand never have I stated this is my board but you seem to think it is yours and you will not use your real name.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 23, 2008 | 3:00 p.m.

Chuck, if it's not your board, why do you constantly complain about people posting under pseudonyms? Does it annoy you that not everyone follows the rules?

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 23, 2008 | 4:51 p.m.

Ayn Rand if you cannot use your real name in the community you live in on the front page of one of the online newspapers that alot of people may read but not respond to what does that really say about your over all accountability,creditability and responsibility as a real concerned citizen and more.

What are you scared of putting yourself out there? I'm not.

If I use a moniker on a blog or forum board there is a valid link right to my own two personal blogs that anybody can see and go to and see exactly who they are reading from.

Besides it says so right under where it says "Leave a comment":

>>> When you post, please use your actual name. <<<

What you do not have the courtesy or the decency to honor our host's wishes in this simple request?

You asked and I am explaining in very simple and basic terms.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 23, 2008 | 4:57 p.m.

You two guys are being so "gay."

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 23, 2008 | 5:20 p.m.

Chuck, if started using my real name, then you wouldn't have this dead horse to beat every time you post yourself into a corner and find that you can't get out.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 23, 2008 | 5:59 p.m.

Yes ray shapiro I am quite happy but not in the sense that word is used these days.

(Report Comment)
Dave Held December 23, 2008 | 6:31 p.m.

I'd like to thank the Missourian for allowing every article, whether it's an opinion piece or not, to be associated with an on-going dialogue of bigoted, racist, homophobic, half-formed, simple-minded, knee-jerk responses by the same tired handful of confused and compulsive posters. Our community clearly needs this kind of online forum, if only to help this self-righteous and sorry lot to feel empowered in some manner. Thanks again for providing the forum that gives voice to Columbia's finest, most thoughtful, and genuinely engaged citizens, so that we can all be just that much more englightened and better informed. I, for one, hope that you will continue to encourage their every never-ending exchange.

(Report Comment)
Jake Sherlock December 23, 2008 | 6:49 p.m.

Dave,

The Missourian is committed to community conversation. If you don't appreciate something another member of the community has to say, please use the "report comment" link to tell us why, or e-mail me at SherlockJ@missouri.edu.

How much stock any one of us puts in another user's post is entirely up to the individual. While we could ban some of the users you describe, in the age of the Internet, anyone can post anything they want. All you need is a free account at Blogspot, WordPress, et al.

If you don't like what's posted here, please help steer the conversation to something more worthwhile. Comments that are particularly inflammatory or that get off topic are removed as soon as possible. Those who are a consistent problem will have their access removed.

Thanks,

Jake Sherlock
Missourian opinion editor

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 23, 2008 | 7:26 p.m.

And thank you "Dave Held" for being, what appears to be, a first-time responder. Where have you been? Did you have nothing to say about any past articles, until now?
Feel free to "click on" my name and read all my comments over the last year. (I've vented more than once.)
And, exactly, why do you fear homophobia?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohfJCYobS...

http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_ph...

(Report Comment)
Kristin T December 23, 2008 | 10:20 p.m.

"I would have absolutely no problem with any organization which takes care of AIDS/HIV infected children born as the result of homosexual copulation."

Wait, what?

(Report Comment)

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