New Urban School group seeks to have students FACE AIDS

Cupcakes+made+by+Urban+student+Anna+Boyer+for+the+FACE+AIDS+bakesale.+Photo+by+Anna+Boyer.

Anna Boyer

Cupcakes made by Urban student Anna Boyer for the FACE AIDS bakesale. Photo by Anna Boyer.

Marney Kline, Staff Writer

Juniors Isabel Fife-Cook (’13) and Nicki Greenberg (’13) have started a chapter of FACE AIDS, a youth-led organization helping to raise awareness and money to fight AIDS worldwide, but particularly in Rwanda, Africa.

Greenberg stresses the importance of spreading awareness since “there is a stigma and a lack of education around AIDS. Kids and adults have preconceived notions that it is a ‘gay’ disease.”

In 2005, three students from Stanford founded the FACE AIDS organization. It has since created over 215 chapters in the U.S., which are scattered among universities and high schools. Volunteers at Urban hope add to the $2 million already raised by the organization.

The name FACE AIDS has elicited laughter from some people. Greenberg takes umbrage, saying, “I think if people knew about the organization and the disease they would not be laughing.” However, Laine Kendall, a junior at Mt. Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, says, “It just sounds funny. Like AIDS on your face. I know it’s not logical, but people aren’t logical creatures.”

Urban’s nascent FACE AIDS chapter held a bake sale on Jan. 17, offering various cupcakes and cookies decorated with the red AIDS ribbon, and raising approximately $250. Proceeds will go directly to Rwandans affected by the AIDS virus.

In addition, the group’s youth leaders and other advocates at Urban are selling handmade AIDS awareness pins for $5 each. Men and woman in Rwanda crafted these red and white beaded pins by hand and rely on them as a source of income.

A FACE AIDS pin. Photo by Marney Kline.

FACE AIDS, which began at Stanford University in 2005, proceeded to branch out into University of Oregon, then University of Texas at Austin and finally high schools such as The Urban School, Menlo School in Menlo Park, CA and Mayfield Senior School in Pasadena, CA.

Urbanites hope to raise more funds via “a walk-a-thon, maybe a dance-a-thon, a dinner party at someone’s house, or perhaps a benefit concert with the SHE’s … that would be rad,” said Fife-Cook. Other upcoming FACE AIDS events include a lunchtime forum or an on-campus coffee vendor in the morning. These will likely take place during the spring trimester. Their next effort is a 5K walk-a-thon in coordination with the FACE AIDS chapter at UCSF Parnassus, which will happen on April 15.

Biology teacher Mary Murphy advises Urban’s FACE AIDS initiative. Murphy’s new and popular “Infectious Disease” course inspired Greenberg and Fife-Cook to join the global movement against AIDS.

“We were in Mary’s ‘guinea pig’ class,” Greenberg adds.