Second annual Knocking Down HIV/AIDS statistics in Broward County
CEO Mikelange Olbel signs community service hours sheet for volunteers.
By Mikelange Olbel
Team Saving Our Youth (SOY) hosted its Second annual Knocking Down HIV/AIDS in Broward County (Keep It Real With Our Youth) and was a major success. The event was held on July 12, 2014 from 11 am to 2 pm at the Mid-Town Commerce Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Team had over 60 young adults between the ages of 14-22 in attendance, and parents also showed up in large numbers to become more educated about HIV/AIDS in Broward County. Team SOY gave free book bags, school supplies, gift cards, and even gave away a free laptop at this event. Strong community involvement was proven true when some young adults showed up early to help setup for the event and were able to receive community services hours for school or legal requirements.
This educational event also included free lunch for the attendees. Team SOY really presented a great opportunity for community members to come together and learn how we can make better decisions in our future, specifically starting with the youth in our community.
Team is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit youth development agency providing educational, prevention, and early intervention services aimed at cultivating/strengthening families in South Florida. Team SOY is dedicated to ensuring that youth and previous juvenile offenders have access to innovative, quality programs and services that will transition and transform their lives to shape their future.
Team Saving Our Youth was founded by Mikelange Olbel back in 2012 who is a Broward County, Florida native. When Olbel was asked what inspired this level of work towards HIV/AIDS for the last few years he stated, “When I was about six or seven years of age, my uncle was diagnosed with HIV, and at that time medication was not helping people live longer like it does today. So like any young kid at that time who heard the word ‘disease’, you associated it with something deadly and you thought to yourself, ‘I am not going to touch him’. However, my lack of knowledge kept me from building a healthy relationship with my uncle. Need-less to say my uncle died months later. Once I became knowledgeable of this virus I made up my mind that I wanted others to learn about it as well, and to not miss out on an opportunity to continue to express love to those family members that may be living with HIV. What really started my community initiative was the fact that when I came home from college I found out Broward County was ranked number one in the nation for newly diagnosed HIV cases. I knew my task was big – and still is — so I wanted to make a difference by encouraging awareness of this virus to everyone in Broward County.” Olbel went on to say, “Everyone’s responsibility is to help educate our youth and families on healthy relationships and safe sex practices in order to prevent and reduce HIV/AIDS in Broward County.”
Team SOY allied themselves with The Westside Gazette, SunServe, Pride Center, and Community-Based Connections, Inc. to take their position to bring awareness to young adults in the Fort Lauderdale community.
Team SOY marketed this community event through the radio station Hot105 FM, social media, flyers, and community organization.
Two days before the event Olbel, CEO of Team , was going door to door to help promote this event in the heart of Sistrunk Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.
One parent who attended the event had learned about it by Olbel knocking on her door Thursday. She stated, “Mr. Olbel is the first CEO I have seen go door- to- door in the community to help prevent HIV/AIDS in the 33311 area, especially while it’s raining. This man really cares about the people.” When Olbel was asked what inspired his door to door com-munity outreach, he replied by saying, “The 33311 people here on Sistrunk Blvd., need to see who is really trying to help change their community for the better, and not just talking about it.”
Olbel’s vision for the future is clear; he strives to help develop a better community. He is truly a humble man with a huge heart for the people. Olbel’s plan for next year – “I am hopeful for BIGGER and BETTER because it’s about the people.”