By Bonnie Strouse Sobrino
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — Over 500 Broward County students took photos in front of the authentic AIDS Memorial Quilt sewn together by friends, lovers and family members, commemorating the life of someone who has passed away due to AIDS. Provided by the NAMES Project Foundation, the quilt was prominently displayed at the Urban League of Broward County in honor of World AIDS Day and as part of the 2013 POETT (Prevention Outreach Education Technology Training) Teen Summit held on Dec. 4th.
“Each three-by-six foot panel is a reminder of those who have lost their lives and many of those are children. Whether you are 10, 25 or 65 – no matter what age – the virus does not discriminate. That is why the Urban League’s AIDS United program and supporting events are critical to our work as a community convener to ensure the health and well-being of our residents,” said Dr. Germaine Smith-Baugh, president and CEO of the Urban League of Broward County.
The teen summit provides a forum for teens to participate in discussions on issues that affect their everyday lives. Such topics include social media realities, HIV/AIDS education, STD prevention, teen pregnancy prevention and how to create and maintain healthy relationships. This year’s 2013 POETT Teen Summit, themed “Beyond This Moment/Take a Stand” (Stay True and Never Deviate), had a special focus on social and sexual awareness and personal development. The day also featured keynote speaker Dr. Patricia Garvey, as well as an exhibit of local youth talent, a variety of social service agency vendors, giveaways and confidential rapid testing for HIV.
“The summit was a huge success as it brought people together to honor those who have lost their lives due to the virus. The event helped educate and further our community’s outreach through the Urban League’s AIDS United program,” said Latrice Thomas, AIDS United program coordinator for the Urban League of Broward County. The AIDS United program provides services such as safe and confidential rapid HIV testing, case management services, referrals and linkages to care as well as individual counseling sessions to Broward County residents.
The educational conference-style event was presented by Broward County Public Schools, Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Center, Children’s Services Council of Broward County, Florida Department of Health, Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC) of South Florida, Planned Parenthood, SunServe, the Urban League of Broward County and the United Way of Broward County.
“We are happy for the opportunity to collaborate with our community partners and vendors while providing a venue for dialogue, interactivity and education among Broward County teens on such an important topic,” said Dr. Smith-Baugh.
For more information on the Urban League of Broward County, call (954) 584-0777 or visit us online at www.ulbroward.org.