HUNTERSVILLE – It took eight years but North Mecklenburg High School freshman Jordan Mitzel met his goal of raising $50,000 for the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network through his participation in RAIN’s annual AIDS Walk.
The human services agency provides a comprehensive range of services to youth and adults with HIV/AIDS and their families.
Jordan began raising money for the organization in 2007 when he was 8 years old. He raised more money than any of the other estimated 3,000 people participating in that year’s walk.
Jordan has been among the top three fundraisers each year he has participated, making him the most prolific fundraiser in the event’s 18-year history.
Jordan’s approach to fundraising includes flamingo flocking, a practice in which people pay to have about three dozen pink flamingos placed in a friend’s yard for 24 hours. At pick up, the “victim” can pay to have the birds moved to another friend’s home.
He has also raised money by asking for individual donations, selling lollipops and recycling aluminum cans, old cell phones and printer cartridges.
His work recently caught the attention of POZ Magazine, which included him alongside President Barack Obama, Elton John, Alicia Keys and Elizabeth Taylor for his work to improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS.
Jordan also received Rosedale Infectious Diseases’ Hope and Inspiration award in 2012, given to those who inspire hope and demonstrate a willingness to give back to others.
Jordan has no plans to stop participating in the AIDS Walk. He continues to lead his own team, the J-Walkers, mostly comprised of area youth. For the past two years, the J-Walkers have claimed the prize of Top Community Fundraising Team and Best Youth Team.
Jordan’s goal this year is to raise an additional $6,000 for the walk, which takes place May 3.
Want to learn more? The 18th annual AIDS Walk Charlotte takes place May 3 at Gateway Village Promenade, 800 W. Trade St., Charlotte. For more information about this year’s AIDS Walk or to donate, visit www.aidswalkcharlotte.org.