The Grassroot Project serves to educate at-risk youth from Washington D.C. about HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention by utilizing Division I “student-athlete” role models. Founded in January 2009, The Grassroot Project is one of the first 501(c)(3) organizations to be designed, initiated, and managed completely by NCAA Division I varsity athletes encompassing athletes from Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University and University of Maryland. We are also unique in our approach to HIV/AIDS prevention—instead of using a traditional education program that is lecture-based and taught by teachers or health educators, we use games that teach lessons and athletes as our messengers.
The mission of The Grassroot Project is to use sports to educate at-risk youth in the community about HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. Our curriculum focuses on creating a fun, friendly and safe environment in which youth learn healthy life styles. The programs allow kids to share their feelings and beliefs, increase knowledge, and develop healthy attitudes and behaviors pertaining to HIV/AIDS through the use of interactive games and activities. By using the vehicle of sports to influence social change, student athletes use the curriculum to combat the high rate of HIV/AIDS in D.C
The Grassroot Project Goals:
- To create a citywide core of athletes of all ages in the fight against AIDS in D.C.
- To work with schools and community based groups to implement our HIV prevention program.
- To continually provide systematic monitoring and evaluation of our innovative curriculum and program model
Our ultimate goal is that The Grassroot Project would lead youth in creating an AIDS-free generation in DC. And we believe that the first step is empowering kids with information about HIV/AIDS, with role models, and with a comfortable setting to speak openly about the disease.
Where We Work:
We work at more than 40 sites across the city, through partnerships with public and charter schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, MetroTeenAIDS, Latin American Youth Center (LAYC), and DC SCORES. We are always looking for new partners.
The Launch of TEAM UP
In 2010, The Grassroot Project launched the Team Up campaign, a sports-based HIV/AIDS education program uniting 15 at risk youth in Washington, DC and Soweto, South Africa. Each student in DC is partnered with a ‘teammate’ in Soweto, and for six weeks they participated in the same program side by side. To promote discussion, they were be provided with their own flipcams to share what they were learning and get to know each other on a personal level. The campaign will culminated in June 2010 with a ten day trip to South Africa where the teammates will met each other, participated in an AIDS awareness event and together attend a World Cup Soccer match. These youth are now actively continuing the momentum from this experience by implementing their own education programs back at home.
To find out more, check us out on the Team Up website