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UNCP’s new ‘Keep A Child Alive’ group is the first in North Carolina

By Shelby Hughes
Guest Writer

The Keep a Child Alive organization at UNCP is the first chapter in the state.            

Keep a Child Alive is an AIDS awareness organization devoted to providing life-saving anti-retroviral treatment to children and their families with HIV/AIDS in Africa and other developing countries by directly engaging people of all communities in the fight against AIDS.     

Over 25 million people have died in Africa and Keep a Child Alive is working towards drastically lowering these numbers.

The Keep a Child Alive at UNCP chapter was founded by a few upperclassmen, who were drawn to the cause and the organization and worked to make the organization an established chapter.

¨I'm happy to be an adviser for Keep a Child Alive because it couples public awareness with real action,” said Dr. Scott Hicks.

“In Africa and the developing world, AIDS is ravaging families and weakening communities, and it's the children who suffer.

“Because of globalization, we know about the problem, and we see that we have a responsibility,” said  Hicks.            

The organization is hoping for campus support and participation.

“It’s a sleeping giant. No one knows how big it’s going to be,” said Parris Dottery, a member of the Nu Omicron chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi.            

¨I am a first generation Congolese-American so the AIDS crisis in Africa truly hits home,” said SGA Vice President Mo Mutima.

           “As student body vice president, myself and President Marvin Jacobs see a vision that many institutions have not emphasized, a vision of a unified university.            
           
“UNCP has over 20 different races represented and an idea of a consolidation of cultures brings a different dynamic to the entire UNC system and the South as a region,” he said.

“Once a chapter was adopted here, UNCP became the first university in our region to endorse Keep A Child Alive, and we look to set precedence in allowing us all to see the one important race, the HUMAN RACE,” Mutima said.            

The KCA at UNCP chapter plans to raise awareness of the ever-growing AIDS epidemic in Africa through various events, activities and fundraising throughout the year.

Keep a Child Alive is a huge milestone because it is the first organization of its kind at UNCP and it will bring recognition to UNCP and hopefully other schools will follow, organizers said.            

“It’s one of the best things to happen to UNCP, not to mention the state of North Carolina. This is the first chapter in the state” said Deanna Rooths, the secretary of the UNCP chapter.

Keep a Child Alive began in 2002 and now has nearly 30 college chapters. 

New York University was one of the first universities to establish a Keep a Child Alive college chapter.            

Kate Otto, director of Keep a Child Alive College Program and a representative of the NYU chapter, is responsible for helping college chapters from state to state get involved.

Otto came across the Keep a Child Alive organization in the Fall of 2005 and said, “As I have been involved with AIDS education and awareness for many years, upon seeing the AIDS ribbon in the KCA logo, I immediately researched them online.            

“I quickly became accustomed to the urgent and immediate call to action that encompasses all KCA projects and programs.

“Directing the KCA College Program is an incredible opportunity to tap into the passion of students nation-wide.             

“These students harbor the same frustrations about the obstacles to overcoming AIDS, but push with the same energy to overcome them,” said Otto.

This is the 25th year of AIDS and KCA college students across the country are working to raise awareness of the pandemic through programming and events on campuses.            

“People believe in overcoming this plague of our generation because they know we have the brains, the manpower and the heart to get the job done,” Otto said.
 

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Updated: Sunday, November 5, 2006
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