Miami: AIDS Walk

As a new member of Delta Epsilon Psi, I found myself confused by the massive amounts of responsibility and opportunities proposed to me. Strolling, meeting new Greeks, presenting for philanthropy events, it all began to build on me. Moreover, I really wanted to do new kinds of community service. Then, this past weekend I volunteered at the AIDS walk in Miami Beach with four other Nu Colony brothers. I had never experienced something so new and eye opening as the community affected by AIDS. I always saw Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome as an epidemic that didn’t affect the United States as much as third world countries. It surprised me when I saw so many people of various ages who actually had or knew people with AIDS. People from different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds were also afflicted with the disease.

After waking up around 6 A.M., my brothers and I eagerly woke up and walked to the convention center where the walk was taking place. We began by setting up the registration and pre-walk hall with trash cans, recycling bins, tables, and other essentials. After, we were told to keep the hall clean because hundreds of participants would be walking through the area to sign up for the event. However, during this time, we had the opportunity to interact with many of the participants as they browsed around the sponsorship booths. One of the handicapped elderly ladies which we had the opportunity to interact with, had been diagnosed with AIDS. She hadn’t been fully affected with all the symptoms and could still adequately move around. This woman’s family suffered several losses from the terrible disease, yet her story serves as an inspiration and motivation for our service. Another man in his late twenties was participating because his spouse had been diagnosed with AIDS and they, like us, believed they had the power to overcome what he personally claimed as, “one of the worst epidemics in the world today.” All these stories humbled our group. We reached a connection with several of the participants that ignited our passion for service and leadership in our community.

This has been an event that touched the colony on a personal basis. Interacting with participants who were suffering from this disease showed us that there are many citizens in our Miami community that need our assistance. We realize that often we fail to notice many of the problems going on around us. Every time we conduct a service project, we come to realize exactly how large of a difference a concentrated effort can make on a city, a small community, and even a single person. We as a group have decided to undertake these types of service events as frequently as possible in order to provide a service to our fellow citizens and learn about the problems that afflict our community.

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Sarthi Dalal
Nu Colony