As Outreach Coordinator for Alexian Brothers AIDS Ministry, I communicate and build partnerships with others in the community – whether they are other organizations, churches, campus groups or individuals. Because of this, I have connected with Chicago, my hometown, and Lake County in a brand new way. So many individuals and groups have embraced the vision of ABAM and have worked closely with us to support that vision by actions such as participating in World AIDS Day services, joining us on our AIDS Run/Walk or hosting a donation drive.
Since VISTA members have filled the role of Outreach Coordinator, ABAM’s ability to reach members of the community has grown. ABAM has formed new partnerships with businesses, churches and schools for events such as the Garden Party and AIDS Run & Walk. Last year, we worked with churches and other organizations to hold three World AIDS Day services. This year we’re excited to participate in Ride for AIDS for the first time. We’re also excited to open Bettendorf Place and have developed new relationships with groups such as “South Side HIV/AIDS Resource Providers” (SHARP) and “Faith Responds to AIDS.” ABAM also now has a blog and has built a growing online community on Facebook and Twitter. We’re also working towards creating a new and improved website. The goal has always been to effectively communicate our mission and connect with those who share our vision.
Personally, this year has been one of growth for me. I have learned more about HIV/AIDS and the need for housing, as well as how organizations and communities can respond to needs in Chicago and the surrounding area. As my year of service comes to a close in June, I look forward to seeing the new partnerships ABAM will develop in the future and the next VISTA member’s ideas for growth. ABAM’s message of health and healing is an important one to communicate.