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Warren Central student finds passion in helping others

A Vicksburg teen is giving back to others in Mississippi in a way that most teens wouldn’t even consider.

Laila Brown, a freshman at Warren Central High School, has started a health drive to give back to people affected with HIV in Mississippi.

“I found out about the Grace House through my sister,” Brown said. “She is very interested in the CDC (Center for Disease Control)  and working with sexual health and things like that.”

Grace House, located in Jackson, provides support, services and semi-permanent and permanent housing to homeless HIV-positive people in Mississippi.

Brown is collecting hats, clothes and travel-sized toiletries through March 20 for those individuals who use Grace House’s services.

Brown’s sister, Asia, who is a freshman at Selma University, coordinated a similar drive last year.

“I decided to do this project because my sister told me if I did not start doing things I am passionate about, I will never become interested in anything. I was talking about sexual health in my health class, but the only thing we talked about was abstinence,” Brown said. “And when we actually did talk about STDs we were just told that they were gross. This project has been important to me to help break the stigma and let people know about others who are affected by HIV. My work with this project has led me to consider going into a women’s health major in college.“

Grace House also provides other support services such as counseling, therapy, transportation, life skills education and more to homeless HIV-positive men and women in Mississippi.

If interested in donating to Brown’s campaign, you can reach her by email at ariebrown245@gmail.com or by phone at 601-783-2532.

Ann Wallace DeRossette is a senior at Warren Central High School and a student intern with The Vicksburg Post.