Local Hero: Diedra Sander
The Grassroots Project
While she was a student at Georgetown University, Diedra Sander learned that 1 in 20 people in her community was infected with HIV/AIDS—a rate 11 times higher than the national average and higher than many African countries. To combat the epidemic, Ms. Sander mobilized her teammates to help create The Grassroots Project, an organization that uses the popularity of college athletes to reach out to local youth about the risks of unprotected sex. They built a games-based curriculum to break the silence around AIDS and educate young people to better protect themselves from the disease. Since 2009, Ms. Sander and The Grassroots Project have engaged 257 college athletes from three universities to educate 3000 young people at 30 D.C. schools. The 2011 BET Awards is proud to honor Diedra Sander as a Shining Star for her invaluable contribution to the health and well-being of her community.
Local Hero: Howard "Flute" Gentry
Young Blacks in Action
Howard Tate "Flute" Gentry has put in over 30 years of work with Orlando's youth through Young Blacks in Action, a group that he organized. An avid marching and band participant himself, Mr. Gentry sought to provide youth in predominantly African-American communities with constructive after-school activities. He has used precision marching drills to instill a strong work ethic in our community's youth and teach the value of hard work. The 2011 BET Awards is proud to honor Howard Gentry as a Shining Star for his invaluable contribution to the health and well-being of his community.