At this AIDS groove-a-thon, teens bust a move for awareness...and meet a semi-star or two
If the past season of Dancing With the Stars has taught us anything, it is probably this: If Billy Ray Cyrus and John Ratzenberger think they can boogie, well then, by golly, maybe we can too.
The AIDS educators behind “Come Wit It,” an epic two-day teen dance-off scheduled for Atlanta on August 3 and 4, have had the good sense to tap into our national talent-show obsession—while kicking up a storm of HIV awareness and prevention. The group’s inaugural, 2005 event, in Sacramento, was a triumph of jigginess, raising over $15,000 for local and national AIDS charities. More than 700 kids ages 13 to 17 brought it on, hearing the stories of HIV-positive youth of many races between dance rounds. The competitors themselves were racially diverse too—Asian, Latino, white and African-American.
The winners, six high schoolers who exploded all previously held notions of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” moonwalked their way straight to the $500 first prize. “We had all kinds of celebrity judges,” says co-organizer Steve Woodyard. “Even the bailiff from Judge Judy.”
Woodyard hopes Atlanta’s event (www.comewititfoundation.com) will pull in $25,000; the kids can be tested on-site for HIV and get free follow-up counseling as well. This year’s celeb judges? “I’m not at liberty to say,” Woodyard adds. To fight this thriller killer, he needs all the help he can get.