Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Teen AIDS Ambassadors
Santa Monica, California, is far from Tanzania. But a group of high schoolers there makes the distance seem closer. The Crossroads Teen AIDS Ambassadors are the youngest certified educator-activists in the country working toward the eradication of the disease.

The California students bring their mountainous mission to Africa. They travel to Tanzania and other countries to help tell their young counterparts about the history of the pandemic, the virology of HIV, and the importance of safe sex. Kids from Tanzania have come to California to go through the program to experience and see inspiration of a life minus the disease.

The hours are long, the information is daunting, and the trek is substantial. But from the AIDS Ambassadors' perspectives, even their small hands can help start move the mountain.

Update: Watch the CNN.com Live interview
I think it's very good way to teach african children about AIDS etc. But we needs more and more projects like this...!!
This does seem like a fantastic project. My question is how these teens raise the money to be able to make all of this happen - so many young people could get involved in projects like this around the country, but first need the funds to do so.
My good friend and his brother have spent the last three years producing a non-profit documentary to help spread the word on AIDS in Africa...both are just out of college...and live in the Santa Monica area as well...check out their film and learn how you can help...http://www.intothelightfilm.com/
It is so important for all of us to know that education is the key to success. What these teens are doing by educating the African children about HIV is the right thing to do. Let us encourage more teens to join.
I am so inspired by the vision and work of these young ambassadors. African children, like other children elsewhere, will learn much faster from other children. I know this through the work we do at Action Africa, Inc., a non-profit organization working in Africa (www.actionafrica.org). Children are our focus. HIV/AIDS is a nightmare that does not have to rule another day. Prevention is key. Thanks to the CA kids.
Dr. Chris N. Egbulem, President.
What a great story! These kids should be applauded, and I hope their story inspires others to do the same. It does not take a million $ to save a life in Africa! Every little bit helps.
Keep us posted on what happens next.
The safest sex is abstinence. If these young people spread that message, they're on the right track.
I am one of the Crossroads Teen AIDS Ambassadors. We started this program 2 years ago with an intensive training weekend at UCLA. 40 students, including myself, were trained there about the HIV virus, how to prevent it, misconceptions about the virus, what causes AIDS, and the global impact of the pandemic. Since then, our group has more than double the students it started with and we continue to go strong and spread awareness,
We don't just educate the African children. We stravel all around Southern Californi going to school and doing a presentation covering every element of the disease. We have all become experts in the field and do countless presentations, both educating our peers and urging them to get involved. I feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to participate in this program. Knowledge is power, and we hope to spread power all around the world until this pandemic is eradicated.
-Ali, 10th grade Ambassador
I think this is awesome. My mom just went on a pilgrimage to Africa. When she was there she help put with this organization that had child care workers take care of orphaned children. The children's parents had died of aids and they had no where to go. When my mom came back she saw he whole life in a whole different perspective.
Love Life!!! Stop AIDS!!!
Kudos to the Teen AIDS Ambassador program....Sounds like an excellent initiative. I hope teens can continue to help teens in this very and meaningful way!

Interesting to read from other comments below that the Teen AIDS program is very active in Southern California, carrying prevention info to local schools.
This is great and wonderful work that needs to be done. However, it would also be nice to see similar initiatives making progress and changing lives here at home - particularly among our young and vulnerable gay youth.

It's amazing that discussions about safer sex can take place in Africa, when similar discussions are stifled at home by religious interests groups. Here's hoping the safer sex message will spread just as quickly as the disease has.

Way to go!

Young People Who Rock is a weekly interview series focused on people under 30 -- from CEOs to entertainers to athletes to community and political leaders -- who are doing remarkable things. CNN Anchor Nicole Lapin introduces them here, then interviews them Fridays on CNN.com Live. Log on in the 3 p.m. ET hour to catch the interviews.
Know someone who rocks?
Maybe your neighbor or your friend? Let us know.

Got a question for the interview?
Fire up your camera and send it in, then look for your video on CNN.com Live.
    What's this?
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. Please note that CNN makes reasonable efforts to review all comments prior to posting and CNN may edit comments for clarity or to keep out questionable or off-topic material. All comments should be relevant to the post and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying information via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.