On Staying Alive’s 10th Anniversary, Gym Class Heroes Singer Travis McCoy Named 2009 Foundation Ambassador

To coincide with Staying Alive’s tenth anniversary on World AIDS Day (December 1st), MTV Networks International has announced the appointment of Travis McCoy, lead vocalist of the alternative hip-hop band Gym Class Heroes, as the Foundation’s new 2009 Ambassador.

Travis joins a host of celebrities including Kelly Rowland (Ambassador since 2008), Beyonce, Mary J Blige, Justin Timberlake and Diddy, who have all lent their names over the past ten years, to raise the profile of Staying Alive — MTV’s global campaign dedicated to HIV and AIDS issues. As 2009 Ambassador, Travis becomes the first male face of the Foundation.

Commented Bill Roedy, Chairman and CEO of MTVNI and Chair of The Staying Alive Foundation Board of Directors, “As Staying Alive reaches ten years, we are happy to have Travis on board as Ambassador. He has a strong connection with young people, especially young males, and will have a profound impact as a role model for them. His mandate will be to speak to them about prevention, stigma and respect.”

Said Travis McCoy, “I’ve been that young naive boy, running around, not caring, wanting to have sex … I can definitely relate to the young guys out there now who are thinking about sex and having sex … I want to try and be a positive influence on them, talk to them about respecting themselves, protecting themselves and the girls and women around them. Staying Alive has done amazing work over the last ten years and I am really excited to be part of it all. It’s really important that we just keep talking about it.”

Travis’ new role as ambassador will be to carry on the legacy of Staying Alive and Kelly Rowland’s dedicated efforts as ambassador. In this new role, Travis will use his inimitable style to encourage, energize, and empower young people who are involved in HIV/AIDS awareness, education and prevention campaigns as well as help tackle the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS by talking openly about HIV and safe sex to MTV’s audience.

Staying Alive uses three core initiatives to fulfill its overall mission of empowering young people to protect themselves and their peers from HIV and AIDS — the television campaign, the grant-making Foundation and its newly revamped online platform.

To celebrate its first decade, ‘Staying Alive’ has launched a series of new initiatives which will leverage on these core approaches — through on air programming, by grant-giving, with thirty new grants announced today and through aggregating all its content onto its new portal — www.staying-alive.org.

On December 1st, three new programs will be aired, amongst them ‘The Diary of Kelly Rowland,’ an hour-long documentary chronicling the star’s first-hand experiences with young people affected by HIV/AIDS throughout her journey across Africa and beyond, in her role as Ambassador. Kelly herself gets tested for HIV in Kenya, in an attempt to break down the stigmas associated with the topic of HIV/AIDS, and to encourage young people globally to know their status. ‘The Diary of Kelly Rowland’ will be airing across all MTV channels including an additional 100 broadcasters.

In addition, thirty new grants will be given to projects led by young people who are fulfilling the Foundation’s mission to educate and inform their peers in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The grants, which start from December 1st and run for the duration of a year, have been made possible through the support of The Body Shop and MTV’s “Move Your Lips” campaign, which raised a total of $1.25 million.

“The foundation is privileged to be able to work with our young grantees who lead the way with their mission to break taboos, foster tolerance and spread the mission of protection. Our role is to support these inspirational voices and help ensure their sustainability in the future,” added Roedy.

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