AIDS Calgary Awareness Association

AIDS Calgary Awareness Association

August 13, 2012 14:20 ET

ACAA's Bow Valley Cares Centre Unveils New Youth Program

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Aug. 13, 2012) - Bow Valley Cares Centre(BVCC), a program of AIDS Calgary Awareness Association(ACAA), and BanffLIFE have partnered together to create a young adult program called 'Gravity'. This program was designed with the intention to heighten community awareness through teams of volunteers. The premise was to have each team given a very specific community challenge and as a team - plan events, fundraisers, or publicity to raise awareness of "Play Safe in the Bow Valley" when it comes to sex.

The team of volunteers met every Wednesday during the month of July at Central Park in Banff, where BVCC and BanffLIFE supported the team to create, design, and deliver their self-created event. The skill building meetings were designed to encourage innovative thinking, collaboration, and idea generation as a group while focusing on safer sex messaging and HIV and STI awareness.

The group decided that the best way to reach their audience was to go find their audience, as one gravity volunteer said, "We could host an event here in central park, even do a fundraiser but we would miss so many locals who live here. Why don't we go out on local's night and engage the young people where they are at!"

This type of creativity was just what BVCC was expecting when creating an atmosphere for the group to create their own ideas. The group decided that if they went to the local nightclubs with t-shirts that highlighted questions and statements about HIV, STI's, and safe sex that they could engage many more youth.

The Gravity volunteers gave nightclub patrons the chance to win glow sticks if they answered questions on safer sex practices correctly but everyone received a condom package with condoms, lube, and HIV & STI information. The group reached over 1000 people on their scheduled evening out on Sunday, July 29. Now that the program is over, the group energy is still high and the group has decided they want to do another night before the summer concludes.

As a group, the Gravity volunteers were rewarded with a white water rafting trip on the Kananaskis River. The dedication, enthusiasm, and energy that this group of highly engaged volunteers brought to making this a memorable summer program leads to the hope that this program might run again in the winter months. The Banff Community Foundation funded this program and has been a great support of BVCC and BanffLIFE's work.

AIDS Calgary is a local not-for-profit AIDS service organization that offers support services to individuals who are at-risk for, infected or affected by HIV/AIDS and provides prevention and education throughout the Calgary, Medicine Hat, and Bow Valley regions. For more information, please contact AIDS Calgary at (403) 508-2500 or online at www.aidscalgary.org.

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