Tyler Spencer leading effort to educate D.C. youth about HIV/AIDS

Tyler Spencer, 24, is leading a unique effort to educate youth in D.C. about HIV and AIDS prevention.

After spending a few college summers in South Africa, Spencer wanted to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the nation’s capital.

“We realized that HIV was a big problem in D.C., some of us were shocked when we heard the actual stats,” he said.

Spencer delivered an educational curriculum and launched the non-profit Grassroots Project to teach local kids about HIV and AIDS prevention. In one game that looks like dodgeball, students play the roles of the human, the immune system and the HIV virus.

He recruits local college athletes from Georgetown, George Washington and Howard universities to coach the students.

Since 2009, Grassroots Project has trained more than 200 athletes and taught more than 1,000 students.