Telluride AIDS Benefit: More than a Student Fashion Show

Telluride AIDS Benefit: More than a Student Fashion Show

The Telluride AIDS Benefit's Student Fashion Show, February 18, 6 pm., The Palm, is a warm up to the Big Event on February 27 at the Telluride Conference Center in the Mountain Village. But what is true of the gala fashion show is true of the teen event: beneath the sizzle, the through line is the persistence of the pandemic and the need for ongoing support of those with HIV/AIDS and their families and prevention education to keep everyone else safe.

The Telluride AIDS Benefit's Grand Vizer, Ron Gilmer, has been on a soapbox for years: he believes there should be Telluride AIDS Benefity events in communities around the world to help stop the spread of the disease. TAB board member/longtime student activist-educator Sandy McLaughlin wholeheartedly agrees. Year after year Sandy leads TAB's education initiative at the she want them to do more than listen. She want kids to hear. To get it. One who does is Sandy's daughter Mia, a graduating senior/ peer educator like all the models and 2010 Student Fashion Show director.

"Peer ed has been a part of my life since I entered high school and I have found what I learned really important and useful information," explained Mia. "HIV/AIDS is a preventable disease like STI's. By educating others my age and arming myself with new information, I feel I can really help prevent the spread of the virus. Being involved in peer education I have stayed safe myself, while helping people around me make informed decisions. Heightened awareness of safe sexual practices while still young helps individuals to make the right choices now and in the future."

Testimony to how well peer education works lies in the fact a number of Telluride High School grads have chosen to keep waving TAB's banner:

Edith Elliot, the first Student Fashion Show director, became an AIDS educator
Taryn Tindall was a peer educator at college
Rebecca Erickson, student director, continues her AIDS educational outreach at North Park University, Chicago, and just returned from Africa.
Maddie Fansler continues AIDS educational outreach activities at Vanderbilt University
Therese Broderick and Gisele Nelson continue to be involved in a peer education/AIDS outreach at college

"All student models in the program must commit to participating in peer education training/programs," explained Sandy. "Although our kids certainly enjoy 'strutting their stuff' on stage, the bottom line is the catwalk is NOT the reason we do this show. We do it to increase AIDS/HIV awareness and to raise money – via the auction and trunk show in the lobby afterward –  to raise money for our beneficiaries. We begin every student show with a film/slide show educating the audience about AIDS/HIV, our beneficiaries, and how we can help them."

On Friday, February 26, at the Telluride Middle School/High School students in grades 9 – 12 get to listen to presentations given by Brother Jeff of Brother Jeff Cultural Center/Heath Initiative, CHIP/Children's Hospital, and WestCAP. Each group talks with the students about the services it provides for individual populations and how students here can help. Last year, one of the Telluride AIDS Benefit's first directors, Amy Kimberly, spoke about her work in Manzini, Swaziland, a talk which moved the kids to tears. A group of kids expressed a heartfelt desire to join Father Larry and continue his good work at the orphanages. That's the kind of diplomacy that changes the world by breaking down barriers.

The idea is for Telluride peer educators to address their neighbors at the Ridgway School this spring.

To preview the Student Fashion Show, the work of Mia McLaughlin and choreographer Devin McCarthy watch Clint Viebrock's movie.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.