Saturday, Apr. 9, at 6:13pm EDT, Awareness achieved a stable orbit around the earth.
For many years in America and abroad, numerous grassroots efforts have sought to raise Awareness on a wide variety of causes, and now those innumerable hours of jogging, dancing, and biking have paid off. "Awareness is now at an all time high. I'm really on cloud nine about this," says Karen Pochissimo, president of Aware-R-Us International. We spoke with Ms. Pochissimo at the Aware-R-Us headquarters, located in the festive Roman suburb of Troppi Eventi, Italy.
Ms. Pochissimo founded the Aware-R-Us organization in 1993. She recalled how, nearly a decade earlier, she had been inspired by both the Hands Across America and We Are The World events, but also recognized their inherent logistical problems. "Hands Across America suffered from large gaps in the human chain, due to the logistical problem of getting such a huge number of people holding hands stretched all the way across the North American continent. Similarly, We Are The World suffered from large gaps in intelligibility, due to the logistical problem of getting such a huge number of egos crowded into one recording session."
Ms. Pochissimo recalled that one night, while watching a rerun of Knots Landing, she suddenly became aware of an idea, and that idea was simply Awareness. "Up to that time, I had been wandering through my life completely unaware. I had mistakenly looked to other things to erase that feeling, little realizing that Awareness itself is as easy as a walk in the park."
The idea of Awareness spread even more quickly than Karen could have expected. Numerous groups across America soon realized that by organizing a normal social activity under a banner of Awareness, attendance would dramatically increase at that event. Seemingly overnight, the Awareness movement had been launched, and it spread like wildfire.
As successful as it has been, the Awareness movement has not been without its problems. "During the early days of Awareness, groups were free to choose their own Awareness ribbon color, and conflicts quickly arose as to color ownership." recalls Ms. Charite Fausse, spokeperson for the Cause-Color Coordination Center of Cape Canaveral, FL. "By now, every possible color of ribbon has some associated cause in the Awareness rainbow. We are now even seeing a looming shortage of color patterns. So our organization stays quite busy pinning down issues of color registration, cause overlap, ribbon suppliers, and other red tape. And on rare occasions, we have to find a way to tie in some pre-CCCC-regulation color we had overlooked." She admits the organization had briefly considered sponsoring a Color-Cause Confusion Awareness week, but had quickly rejected the idea.
As you may remember, Ms. Fausse first became known for ending the conflict between Sky Awareness and Robin Egg Awareness over their identical theme ribbon color. Despite the numerous challenges she has faced over the years, Charite is elated over the success of Awareness, and proud of the support the CCCC has given to it.
In addition to the duties mentioned previously, the CCCC also keeps track of the heights to which Awareness has soared, and compiles data of the amounts that participating groups help to raise Awareness. Tuesday morning, the organization confirmed that the specific event that placed Awareness into its stable orbit was the "2nd Annual Bowl-a-thon for Athelete's Foot" event held by the East Side Junior League of North Westchester, South Dakota.
But by no means are Aware-R-Us and the CCCC resting on their laurels. Ms. Pochissimo enthusiastically states, "The next goal we have planned is for Awareness to achieve escape velocity. And in the far future, we hope to make Awareness universal."