Hey there Bruins Nation!
Hope you all are having amazing days. I know you, like I, are all waiting on pins and needles for the announcement of our new defensive coordinator. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for Randy Shannon but we'll just have to see where that goes. With that and the upcoming UCLA-$UC* basketball game Wednesday night, it really is an exciting (if not trying) time to be a Bruin .
That, however, isn't the reason I'm writing this post. As we all know, being a part of the Bruin family isn't all just about athletics (although that certainly is an enjoyable aspect of it). Personally, my favorite thing about being a Bruin has been interacting with so many talented and caring individuals. I've been a student at UCLA for five years now and I've never met a more amazing, fun-loving, and hard-working community. Time and time again I've seen the Bruin Nation come together and rally for a meaningful cause or advocate for much needed change. This, for me, is just as an important part of the "Bruin Spirit" if you will as showing up to basketball and football games and showing our school spirit.
After this long winded introduction, you're probably wondering where this is all going. The meat and potatoes of it all (with apologies to the vegetarians out there) can be found after the jump. Please click and read on!
As I mentioned earlier, I'm currently a student at UCLA. In fact, it's my fifth and final year here, so I'm taking part in my "victory lap" if you will. During my extended career here, I've had the great fortune of being a part of a number of amazing programs, from being an Orientation Counselor and aiding new students' transition to UCLA, to being a Resident Assistant in the residence halls, to taking part in an incredible philanthropy that you may have heard of - Dance Marathon at UCLA.
For those of you who have not yet heard of this event, Dance Marathon is the largest philanthropy on the West Coast - one that many schools around the country is trying to emulate. Essentially students pledge to stand on their feet for 26 hours and dance - no sitting down, no sleeping. They also fundraise a minimum of $219. All of this money goes back to our beneficiaries, who have dedicated themselves to the fight against Pediatric HIV/AIDS. The beneficiaries are the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Project Kindle, One Heartland, and the UCLA AIDS Institute. I could go on about the amazing work these groups do but I don't want to bore you with the details. Last year, well over 2,000 UCLA students participated in this amazing event. If you're interested in more information, please do not hesitate to ask.
At any rate, the reason I ask is I could really use all of your help. I've been involved with Dance Marathon for four years now, and my previous three years I've managed to raise over $1000 for this amazing cause. This year, instead of asking my usual sources (family, friends, etc.) I really wanted to expand my network and spread this opportunity to take part in something great and really save lives to as many people as I could. So please, please, please if you can, find a way to donate for this amazing cause. All it takes is $8 to distribute this drug, nevirapine, throughout the world, which drastically reduces the chance that a mother infected with HIV will pass it along to her child. For $15, the rate goes from 30% to essentially 2%. That's money we spend on a decent meal for a day or on something trivial like a DVD - money that could actually go towards saving a life.
Please find it in your hearts to donate. I know times are hard and money isn't the easiest thing to come by these days, but I really do believe in making a difference in this world, big or small. My fundraising page can be found at http://support.pedaids.org/goto/acespedes - just click on the "Support Anthony" link on the right side of the page and make your donation. Any amount, large or small, is greatly appreciated. I've seen this community do amazing things for people not just in the Bruin family, but for causes around the world. Let's continue this civic tradition that defines us as a part of the UCLA family.
Thank you for reading and as always, GO BRUINS.