Arts and Entertainment

Island Athletic Club holds silent auction to fight AIDS

Jane Gerlach, Sarah Birger and Chizue Rudd are the Dance4Life team that is helping Island Athletic Club members and the rest of the community to help in the fight against AIDS. - Photo courtesy of Chizue Rudd
Jane Gerlach, Sarah Birger and Chizue Rudd are the Dance4Life team that is helping Island Athletic Club members and the rest of the community to help in the fight against AIDS.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Chizue Rudd

Local people and those around the world are kicking up their heels for fitness and for a good cause.

Island Athletic Club is proud to support “Dance4Life,” an organization that provides funding and education to actively involve young people in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Group athletic director Chizue Rudd and her team, Sarah Birger and Jane Gerlach received more than 50 donations from individuals and local businesses.

“We walked all over Langley and Freeland to get donation items,” Rudd said.

“A big thanks to all those business owners and managers. I love those people!”

The club is welcoming both club members and nonmembers to participate.

The silent auction is already under way until Feb. 15 in the lobby of Island Athletic Club.

The mission of the Dance4Life team is to inspire and mobilize young people to eliminate HIV and AIDS in their lifetime.

Half of the new HIV infections each day inflict young people younger than 25 years old.

These young people have never known a world without HIV.

The international initiative of Dance4Life seeks to unite the afflicted people of the world and teach them to demand change in order to make a difference in their lives and the lives of generations to follow.

Leaders of the organization are in the field teaching HIV- and AIDS-infected youths the life skills needed to protect themselves.

Additionally, Dance4Life teachers inspire these students to become actively involved; to become “agents of change.”

Their mission is to create a movement of one million “agents of change” by 2014.

Students who participate in at least two of the three Schools4Life activities officially enter the “agent of change” status.

Schools4Life isn’t about books and homework but about dance, music, media, events, drumming, videos and taking responsibility for oneself and others. Using the language of young people, Dance4Life becomes an attractive pursuit to those in desperate need of change in their lives and in their communities.

Schools4Life is made up of four parts. The first is the kick off with the Heart Connection Tour.

The Dance4Life Tour Team of dancers, musicians, peer educators and young people living with HIV visits schools around the world.

Using the model of a fun, interactive experience that educates young people and energizes them with enthusiasm to take responsibility in the response to HIV and AIDS, the Heart Connection Tour seeks to get young people involved on their own terms.

Next, the students are given the opportunity to delve more deeply into taking responsibility in their communities by participating in Skills4Life.

Skills4Life is an in-depth program that teaches the facts about HIV including prevention, sexuality, drug abuse and the rights of the afflicted.

Students also learn valuable skills about negotiation such as “no means no,” along with sharpened communication skills and decision making, and how they can apply such skills to their daily lives.

Finally, the activities conclude with the Act4Life phase.

As the name suggests, students are taught to take and maintain action.

Opportunities include becoming a volunteer, fundraising or simply spreading awareness.

The grand finale of Schools4Life is the worldwide Dance4Life event which takes place every two years on the Saturday before World AIDS Day, which is Dec. 1. Agents of change are invited to use their voice — and their feet — in a dance event held live throughout the world via satellite. Students and teachers dance together in front of each other and the world.

The idea is to give these young people a chance to demonstrate what they believe in and what they have achieved as part of the Dance4Life team. They dance to inspire the world, to gain support, and to remind the world leaders of the promises they made regarding the Millennium Development Goals.

The Island Athletic Club participates in the Dance4Life fundraiser every year through the silent auction and by launching its Bodyjam group exercise classes.

Having just launched the new classes this past Sunday, Rudd included the

Dance4Life music in the program as part of the club’s overall effort to contribute to the HIV and AIDS awareness cause.

“Anyone can participate,” Rudd said.

For more information, contact Chizue Rudd at chizue@islandathleticclub.com or call 331-2582.

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