The Foundation's logo, drawn by Ariel, Elizabeth's daughter.

Have you ever heard about Elizabeth Glaser? Well if you haven’t, read this:

Elizabeth Glaser contracted HIV in a blood transfusion in 1981 while giving birth to her daughter, Ariel. She and her husband, Paul, later learned that Elizabeth had unknowingly passed the virus on to Ariel through breast milk and that their son, Jake, had contracted the virus in utero.

The Glasers discovered, in the course of trying to treat Ariel, that drug companies and health agencies had no idea that HIV was prevalent among children. The only drugs on the market were for adults; nothing had been tested or approved for children.

Ariel lost her battle with AIDS in 1988. Fearing that Jake’s life was also in danger, Elizabeth rose to action. She approached her close friends, Susie Zeegen and Susan DeLaurentis, for help in creating a foundation that would raise money for pediatric HIV/AIDS research. (via The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation)

When I was a sophomore in college, I was on the Hospitality committee for our Dance Marathon. Our DM is a 12 hour event where we learn new dances, hear amazing speakers (like Elizabeth’s son, Jake), meet new people and have a great time. At the age of 19, I found out so much about pediatric AIDS through this campus organization and through this organization, that I fell in love with the idea of helping to educate different people on pediatric AIDS. As a junior in college I became the Hospitality Chair for the Steering Committee and had an even better time and then as a senior I was the Entertainment & Facilities Chair. (This year I finally get to dance and I couldn’t be happier!!)

When I was nearing the end of my senior year, I was wondering how I can continue to stay involved. I reached out to our contact with the foundation, Rachel, and she mentioned the Young Professionals groups that some people have set up in different cities across the country. She told me I should start the Cleveland chapter and that is exactly what I did. Getting together a team of my peers was very easy. We set up a Facebook and Twitteraccounts.

Our official logo for the Cleveland chapter of The Young Professionals

Now, actually creating fundraising events as soon as you graduate and are beginning graduate school are a little difficult. However, at the beginning of February, we were able to have an all you can eat (and drink) fundraiser at a local restaurant. We also had a 50/50 raffle and baskets as well. In total we were able to raise $1,041 for the EGPAF! Of course we had wish we could have raised more but that day was a blizzard out, so the amount we raised was an amazing number for the yucky weather conditions.

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Having such strong ties to organizations that you have a strong connection to is amazing. Helping students find things- whether it be a cause, activity, or whatever it may be, is going to help the succeed later on in life. Helping students see the true meaning of philanthropy is what I aspire to be- helping them find their personal philanthropy is what I am looking forward to doing as I become a Student Affairs professional.

Philanthropy can come in many different forms too, many organizations (especially Greek organizations) already have a mission to wish/charity to which they serve. I feel as though it is my duty to help students see that they can make a difference in someone’s life by showing goodwill to ‘fellow members of the human race’. And by being an good example of that we are able to better support our students to become better citizens in our world. Most students are already committed to some form of service project, but helping them continue to grow and continue to see this is where I want to step in and help guide them.

If you can, please donate to my online page by clicking HERE. It only takes $19 to help save the life of a child! (I have raised my $200 & more, but this only reflects online donations!)

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