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100 PARTIES FOR AIDS ORPHANS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 10, 2009

CONTACT:
Steve Kallaugher
413-586-2953
press@youngheroes.org.sz


100 PARTIES FOR AIDS ORPHANS

Young Heroes Foundation Works to Make the Day of The African Child a Day of Action on Behalf of Orphans in Swaziland


Nonhle Similane is one of over 1,000 orphans now supported by Young Heroes.

Northampton, MA (BlackNews.com) - From Montclair, New Jersey to Bellingham, Washington -- and from Bergen, Norway to Lilongwe, Malawi -- people are responding to the call for "100 Parties for the Orphans." Timed to coincide with the Day of the African Child on June 16th, the initiative is the undertaking of Young Heroes Foundation, which supports families of AIDS orphans in the kingdom of Swaziland, the nation with the world's highest rate of HIV/AIDS.

"Too often, the Day of the African Child is just another day of empty promises for these children," says Steve Kallaugher, founder and president of Young Heroes Foundation. "We're asking people to help us turn it into a day of action that delivers on those promises. We've signed up 18 parties right from the start, and we hope that many more will join. It's a way of doing good and having fun at the same time."

The grass-roots effort asks people to hold any kind of party they want with a goal of raising funds -- from barbeques to potluck dinners, from sports tournaments to school or church outings, from wine tastings to clothing swaps. Full information on the movement is found at http://youngheroes.org.sz/dayofaction.asp, where visitors can register their party and see it featured on the Web site. Young Heroes guarantees that a full 100% of funds received will go directly to supporting the orphan families.

Gary and Karen Guetzko of Dubuque, IA, pledged to hold a party as soon as they heard of the idea. They became aware of the orphan's desperate plight when their daughter Megan served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Swaziland. "The work Young Heroes does is amazing," says Mrs. Guetzko. "We feel very fortunate that through it, we can continue to support the children and families our daughter worked with."

Kristina D. Tsipouras first heard of Young Heroes when her friend Aliza Waxman asked for donations to the cause instead of birthday presents last year. Now living in New York City, she signed up immediately upon hearing the call. "I'm hosting an event," she says. "Now, I just have to plan what kind!"

In Northampton, MA, where Young Heroes Foundation is based, a larger party called "Art for the Orphans" will bring together the contributions of artists from the U.S. and Swaziland for an auction and African dance party featuring a performance by renowned percussionist Tony Vacca. More information on this event is found at http://youngheroes.org.sz/hamphelps.asp

"We began and we've grown very much as a grass-roots, person-to-person effort," says Young Heroes' Kallaugher. "We believe in the power of individuals helping each other. This year, as it becomes harder to raise funds through institutional donors, we hope that people realize that every effort counts, and every action matters. That's why we created this idea -- because everyone can help in whatever way they'd like. And they can share their good work with their friends, families and community."


SIDEBAR
The Day of the African Child
On June 16, 1976, thousands of school children in Soweto, South Africa, walked out of school to protest their inferior education due to apartheid. In the two weeks of turbulence that followed, more than 100 people were killed and more than a thousand injured.

To commemorate their bravery, the Organization of African Unity designated June 16th as the Day of the African Child. It has been celebrated annually since 1991.


-END-



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