Feedback on Speakers
Feedback from schools and organisations where our speakers have spoken:
“I am writing to express my ongoing gratitude for the wonderful work of the Positive Speakers Bureau.
Several times a year members of the PSB deliver a session to people undergoing accreditation in HIV and Hep C Pre and Post Test Discussion. Without exception, post training evaluations always declare that the PSB session an absolute highlight of the course.
It’s possible to create a learning environment where people engage with the meaning of HIV through class discussions, videos, research summaries and presentations. All of these, however, pale in comparison to hearing and discussing experiences of people living with HIV and Hep C.
This is the way that ideas and myths are challenged, and concepts like risk and chronic illness are brought to life, and people have powerful realisations that there were pieces of the HIV puzzle that they had never even thought about.”
“Susan Paxton spoke to a group of 60 staff from Australian Red Cross on World AIDS Day 2009. The talk highlighted the issues of stigma and discrimination, particularly for positive women and she talked about her publication Diamonds which tells the story of 11 women from the Asia Pacific region – this is particularly of interest to Red Cross which supports HIV programs as part of its international work.
The group were completely engaged by Susan and after the session surrounded her to ask further questions. Since the session I have received several requests for the publication and DVD – people were deeply touched by the DVD footage and for staff from other departments it gave them an insight into the issues faced daily by positive women in this region”.
“I have regularly engaged Suzanne as a guest speaker for my classes at the CAE. I teach overseas trained health professionals and each class has been deeply moved by her story.
I would not hesitate to recommend her as a speaker for any organisation. I have also been impressed by the professionalism of the Positive Speakers Bureau and I commend the important services which they provide”.
“Their stories and the information they presented were extremely eye opening to most students (exposed their ignorance)!
The content and delivery were pitched extremely well at our year 11 student audience. It kept them all engaged and attentive for the entire 80 minutes.
Students had definitions/terms/information clarified – many “gaps” in their understanding of the issues involved were addressed”
“We have used the Positive Speakers Bureau for more than 10 years and have always found the variety of guest speaker to be very informative, entertaining and engaging to our students. Discussions are on a wide range of topics to do with sexual health. The students appreciate the honest and often frank dialogue from the speakers and staff use this as an introduction to Sexual Health classes. I recommend them highly to you”.
“The Adolescent Forensic Health Service values the contribution that the PLWHA Victoria Speaker's Bureau makes towards the health education of young people involved with juvenile justice in Victoria.
This collaborative partnership has seen many of the young people in custody exposed to real life stories of people living with HIV/AIDS via Health Promotion and Education at the Adolescent Forensic Health Service.
The quality and sensitivity of the HIV speaker facilitates mutual respect, allowing an interactive discussion about HIV/AIDS and associated issues to happen with the young people.”
“Michelle was fantastic. She spoke with genuine honesty, and explained a difficult topic to an apprehensive audience with ease. She encouraged them to ask any question they wanted, and the matter of fact way in which she answered them quickly broke down any barriers the students may have felt. Michelle's 'real' story and the way in which she told it had a significantly greater impact than anything I could have taught them, or that they could have read themselves. She was factual, and most importantly, challenged some of their preconceived notions of HIV."
“I am very honoured to be able to provide a quote for the Speakers Bureau website. Brauer College has had a long and much respected connection with the Bureau, and we really appreciate the effort made by the Bureau, to be a part of the College's Health Program.
Brauer College would sincerely like to thank the Speaker's Bureau for once again providing such outstanding speakers to talk about the topic of HIV/AIDS. The speakers presented a very interesting, informative and engaging session to our year 10 students and teachers. The fact that the speakers were so honest and open about sharing their stories was really appreciated by the College audience. We were all able to share many laughs which was great! We look forward to inviting the Speakers Bureau again.”
“Real people, real stories, raw honesty about the realities of living with HIV.
Our senior school students were totally engaged and focused.
The presentation underlined the level of awareness needed for them to take ownership of their life, their health and their wellbeing.
Thanks Glenn and Meg”.
"Having a guest speaker has added a personal element to our training program. The students gain great insight into the speakers life and meeting and chatting with them puts a lot of issues into true perspective. Feedback from the students consistently indicates that this session has a positive impact for them and broadens their understanding of HIV/AIDS."
“The Speaker Bureau (SB) has been a wonderful addition to Peer Education workshops at the Victorian AIDS Council/Gay Men's Health Centre. They provide the lived experience of gay men who are living with HIV or AIDS to men of difference age groups, culturally diverse backgrounds, various stages of coming out and social economic backgrounds as well as difference HIV statuses.
The SB makes HIV education come alive by using their personal stories and putting HIV in lived contexts that participants can relate to. Furthermore, the SB reduces the gap between positive and negative men by creating and engaging participants in dialogue where frank discussions take place in a safe environment.”
“I wanted to pass on some feedback about the addition of the Positive Speaker's Bureau to the course. The Speaker's Bureau has provided an added dimension to the course that has evoked a lot of discussion, reflection…in challenging and enlightening participants. Every participant has provided positive feedback and it has been very rewarding as a facilitator to watch participants become aware of the human side of the disease. Many have commented that they had previously never had any contact with anyone with HIV (at least that they were aware of).
It has provided a safe forum for real discussion and sharing of ideas and provides us as volunteer worker's the opportunity to challenge certain assumptions and request participants review their thinking on certain issues. I hope that this pivotal and engaging part of the course continues and I believe it is now one of the most effective means of VAC being able to educate and to promote the complexity of issues involved in contracting and living with HIV.”
“Stefanie was fantastic as the Bureau’s speakers always are. The nurses were in awe and feedback from them was that they realised HIV can happen to anyone. Stefanie gave more insight of what it is like on the other side and more understanding for when the nurses look after our clients. The Bureau’s speakers open our nurse’s eyes to the realities of living with HIV/AIDS.”