In nourishing its advocates’ volunteer experience, LoveYourself holds a series of training opportunities for its members this month. 

LoveYourself founder and executive director Ronivin Pagtakhan genuinely shared, “Our volunteers, in synergy with our staff, are shaping our organization to what it is now.”  

“We hope to return the favor by equipping them with the necessary knowledge and life skills relevant to their functions to help further our larger society,” Pagtakhan added.

On September 5, the Integrated Communications (iCOMM) and Ministry of Fun committees of LoveYourself, together with the EON Foundation as the training facilitator, conducted a spokesperson training for volunteers representing the organization externally. 

EON Foundation’s advocacy lead, Adam Crayne, stressed that speakers should be aware of the organization’s core values, stakeholders, and stand on any concerns raised. Crayne also discussed the importance of being informed with national and international issues, affecting the different aspects of communicating for the organization’s causes, like HIV awareness and care. 

Parts of the Crayne’s training include the types of stakeholders, the messaging tools and strategies, and the things to remember when engaging in a conversation or interview with a stakeholder. According to Crayne, these are tools to effectively communicate the organization’s advocacy, especially in today’s context. 

iCOMM, the Community Wellbeing, SKPA Philippines, and Champion Community Centers network also spearheaded a community management team (CMT) handling training on September 20 of the new social media warriors for partners’ online platforms, such as the pages of the National HIV Prevention Month, SafeSpacesPH, Champion Community Centers, and PrEP Pilipinas.

Running parallel to this is the launch of LoveYourself University’s (LoveU) online life coach training program every Saturday until October 10.

Since most of the committee’s activities are considerably a social gathering, LoveU is feeling the brunt of COVID-19 pandemic. To adapt to the situation, LoveU also shifted to online platforms to keep up with the volunteers’ need for training and development.

LoveU chancellor JM Maynes said, “LoveU managed to adjust and continue learning sessions for the volunteers, using Google classroom and Zoom sessions.”

With the growing treatment clients, we envision to beef up our pool of life coaches from all of our active HIV counselors, thus the need to equip them with information that enable them to function as life coaches as well,” Maynes said.

LoveYourself provides holistic care to almost 7,000 clients living with HIV through its innovative life coaching program. These life coaches guide clients in the biomedical side of managing HIV and also address the psychosocial needs of the client in adjusting to and accepting their HIV status as well. With only 55 active life coaches, 29 volunteer counselors heed the call to become life coaches.

Despite the pandemic keeping our volunteers apart, LoveYourself ensures that it is not only able to connect with its volunteers but also enrich their experiences. With over a thousand volunteers expanding its reach and care on a national scale, LoveYourself is eternally grateful for their time and effort in spreading the organization’s message of daring to be oneself, caring for oneself, and sharing oneself with others.

Text by: Carlos Diego A. Rozul