Nonprofit unites two rival college football teams, Georgia Tech and UGA, for worthy cause

November 28, 2009, football teams GA Tech and University of Georgia will play in the 116th rivalry game nicknamed, ‘clean, old-fashioned hate.’ The game will feature one love of the two teams; H.E.R.O. for Children, a nonprofit organization.
 
 
Oct. 21, 2009 - PRLog -- 4497 S. Old Peachtree Road
Norcross, GA 30071
Tel: 770.417.1665, Fax: 770.417.1870
email: aisha@heroforchildren.org
www.heroforchildren.org

Media Contact: Aisha Harris
aisha@heroforchildren.org
770-417-1665 ext. 313

Atlanta, GA, October 21, 2009 – On Saturday, November 28, 2009, college football teams, Georgia Institute of Technology (GA Tech) and University of Georgia (UGA) will play in the 116th rivalry game nicknamed, ‘clean, old-fashioned hate’ at Bobby Dodd stadium on the campus of GA Tech. However, this year the game will feature one love between the two teams; H.E.R.O. for Children, Inc., a nonprofit committed to improving the quality of life for children infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Both schools have student-led philanthropy organizations that support H.E.R.O., GT HEROs and UGA HEROs. Over the past five years the students have raised over one million dollars for the organization, while hosting annual events on their respective campuses for the children that feature fun and games.

During the game each team - including coaches, staff, cheerleaders and others - will wear specialized wrist bands in their team colors to raise awareness for the effects of this life altering epidemic in the lives of children throughout Georgia. The bands will highlight the fact that at the end of 2007 there were a reported 2 million children living with HIV around the world. In the United States, Georgia ranks sixth highest in reported pediatric and adolescent HIV/AIDS cases (see www.cdc.gov).  Almost 33 percent of H.E.R.O. kids are HIV positive and the other 67 percent have an infected parent, sibling or residential relative.  Approximately 25 percent of H.E.R.O. children have lost a parent to HIV/AIDS complications. UGA HEROs Executive Director Joanna Harbin says, “Six years ago, no one was providing quality of life services to children in Georgia affected by HIV/AIDS or even recognizing the need for such programming.  Today UGA HEROs is one of the most recognizable philanthropies on our campus, being named UGA's "Organization of the Year" three years in a row and breaking fundraising records. While these accomplishments are exciting, it is the smiles on the HERO children's faces and the moments we share with these incredible kids that keep our members motivated and our cause alive at UGA."

“The game is going to set a precedent by bringing the two schools together for the first time in history to lend their support to help raise awareness for children affected and infected by HIV/AIDS in Georgia by wearing gold or red wrist bands during the game!   GT HEROs is thrilled to share in this unified vision” explains GT HEROs Executive Director, Brent Clark. H.E.R.O. allows the two schools to continue to compete but at a level that has rewards far beyond bragging rights, including a direct impact in the lives of kids they serve through their philanthropic efforts. Both team coaches have taken leadership roles by working with students on their campuses to build stronger networks.

UGA head football coach, Mark Richt is an original H.E.R.O. board member, and currently serves as an honorary board member for the organization.  GA Tech head football coach, Paul Johnson came on board to work with the students this year. “Both Coaches Richt and Johnson are community-service-oriented individuals who work diligently to instill the value of ‘giving back’ in their teams. We are honored that they have chosen to come together to recognize our organization and the population we serve during their Thanksgiving game. We are pleased to count the students and coaches at UGA and GT amongst our most ardent supporters.” said H.E.R.O. Executive Director, Donna Drakes. The social responsibility being built into the moral fiber of the students will span generations. Over 2500 GT and UGA students have joined the fight to help by supporting H.E.R.O’s award winning programs.

About H.E.R.O. for Children
Hearts Everywhere Reaching Out for Children, Inc.’s mission is to improve the quality of life for children infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS through enriching programs, unforgettable experiences, and connections with the community. H.E.R.O. was founded in 2003 by two young men who had separate but similar experiences working with children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Though basic needs (food, housing, and medical attention) were being addressed, no specific ‘quality of life’ (QOL) care services were provided. Research in Georgia uncovered that only 12 of 500 HIV/AIDS service organizations offered support to children, and none addressed QOL needs.  As a result, H.E.R.O. for Children was created. H.E.R.O defines quality of life as the degree to which an individual enjoys physical, social, and emotional well-being, and sees him/herself as being able to experience future success and fulfillment. Under this umbrella, we offer life skills development, emotional support through mentoring relationships, and expanded life exposure through a wide variety of opportunities and experiences.  For more information please visit: www.heroforchildren.org, www.gtheros.org and www.ugaheros.org.

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About H. E.R.O. for Children, Inc.: Hearts Everywhere Reaching Out for Children, Inc.’s mission is to improve the quality of life for children infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS through enriching programs, unforgettable experiences, and connections with the community.
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