Part of my job here is to post things to social media, Facebook and Twitter, and now a You Tube channel that we created; which houses a few videos the ACYR team has put together. This blog itself is a contribution to communication. Our website has been re-developed to be more friendly and easier to navigate.
Online communication is the trending fashion these days and because it is getting so busy with traffic I sometimes wonder if the messages we are all trying to convey are really being heard. But, all we can do is try our best and share our information and most valuable experiences.
Establishing media contacts (reporters, photographers) and engaging with the community are also things I do in my position. Letting people know about our organization and that HIV/AIDS is a prevalent, chronic illness that should be acknowledged with compassion and inclusivity. This is enhanced even more so through our outreach team the consists of a Community Engagement Coordinator, a Women’s Community Development Coordinator, and a Men’s Health Promotion Coordinator.
Medically, HIV can be treated, managed to allow individuals to live good lives. In many ways this is where our Manager of Support Services and our Wellness & Life Skills Coordinator come into play and make their contribution toward communication; working one on one with our clients and creating group sessions where people can learn, build and socialize.
All of us are responsible in our own ways for proper communication to exist and be passed on.
Things can become a bit complicated when it comes to accepting and then eliminating misconceptions, but it can all come together through education and awareness; education and awareness that is spread through proper communication.
Whether it be in person at events, in newspaper columns, or online via websites and social media platforms, communication delivered with either or both accuracy and thoughtfulness is much needed; even if not always properly heard or understood. I believe communication is the key to learning and growing, and that is what leads us all to becoming a real community. If we don’t or can’t move forward together in the art of communication, then we continue on by making assumptions, and that helps no one.
As someone living with a brain injury as well as being a caregiver toward someone living a brain injury and coping with the after effect of aphasia, (a speech disorder) I have come to learn the real value of communication. It is not just words alone, but also sound, gestures, body language, facial expression, eye contact.
Communication is about establishing connection; and that is what ACYR is all about. We want to create a dialogue and to offer support, to create awareness, help educate, and provide care.
By Mark Koning
Mark is the Communications & Administration Coordinator with the AIDS Committee of York Region. Mark is also an Author and Blogger of Challenging Barriers and The BIST Blog. (Brain Injury Society of Toronto)