Westchester resident, actress and singer Vanessa Williams has signed on to serve as the "Ambassador of Health, Hope, and Happiness" for Ubuntu Africa, an organization founded by Bedford native Whitney Johnson which provides health and social services to HIV-positive children.
Williams will work with the nonprofit organization—which counts many local residents among its board members and supporters— to build support for HIV-positive children in South Africa, and to highlight the impact of AIDS on a generation of children throughout the continent. She'll advocate for donations to Ubuntu, particularly on Dec. 1, World Aids Day.
"Having Vanessa Williams on board for our World AIDS Day campaign has been fantastic for Ubuntu," said Johnson. "The money she helps raise goes directly to our kids: $2,500 supports one UBA child for one year; $500 provides a month of medical supplies and $100 provides a hot meal to all 200 UBA children."
Several local businesses have signed on to help, too, by collecting donations and offering information on Ubuntu Africa. See the list at the end of this story for participating stores.
Johnson founded Ubuntu Africa when she was a student at Colorado College. The organization now serves over 200 kids in Khayelitsha, a township outside of Cape Town, through healthcare, HIV-education, food, counseling and social services. Fundraising is underway to support the opening of another center in 2013 are underway.
Williams visited Ubuntu's center several years ago with her daughter and has been involved ever since, said Johnson.
"Her tweets about Ubuntu reach her 200,000-plus Twitter followers, which has benefited children immensely. We couldn't be more grateful to her," said Johnson.
For her part, Williams said Ubuntu brings medical care, a safe home, and a belief in the future for the children it serves. "I am proud to be a part of this organization and I hope that you will join me in supporting Ubuntu Africa as it fights to better the lives of South Africa’s children born with HIV,” she said in a statement about her role with organization.
For more information about the organization and its founder, click here.
Where you can shop and support Ubuntu:
- Table Market
- Fountainhead Wine
- Town Ridge Cleaners in Bedford Hills
- Suburban Groove
- Mrs. Greens in Katonah
- O2 Living in Cross River
- Katonah Wines and Liquors
- Katonah Shipping
- Valet Cleaners
- Boo Girls
- Kelloggs & Lawrence Hardware Store
- Ruby Sue
- Van's Service Center
- Robin McCormick Jewelry