Ann Joshua


Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, Major & International Studies, Minor, 2nd Year 

Course: CSL 100 (Winter 2022) with Instructor Jay Friesen 

Who was your community partner, and can you describe the project objectives? 

I worked with the Ribbon Rouge Foundation (RRF); an organization committed to raising the voices of people affected by HIV. RRF believes in the liberating power of the arts to promote self-expression, build community, and facilitate positive social change. While working with RRF I had to facilitate and coordinate the Black History Month campaign and partake in the listening campaign survey. The objective of the BHM project is to raise awareness of the significant strides that African, Caribbean, and Black communities (ACB) people have made, not only globally but also locally. The BHM subproject used storytelling, dialogue, and arts to engage learners and staff to develop an 'inclusive engagement competence' mindset by sharing posts on different social media platforms. In doing so, we try to educate people through various facts and statistics regarding the lives that made BHM possible and what's happening in the 21st century. The second subproject I worked on was the Listening Evaluation Campaign, a retrospective assessment gathered from other projects and different aspects of the program in the past. My team and I were to conduct and gather interviews, peer interviews, records, and surveys as we tried to get insight into what was happening to ACB men and women at that time. 

The medium I use to further illustrate my knowledge and experience with RRF is demonstrated through a world map poster. The world map portrays this idea of how the organization's goal of spreading its visions is not just local but a global endeavour, which I represent by following their ongoing goal of the arts and self-expression. When looking at my project, one might notice three details, the purpose of choosing the selected half of the map, choice of colouring method, and the band-aids over the countries. All of which were intentional actions. First, I decided to colour the middle and east portions of the world because of the various countries and groups of people I engaged with through social media. Another reason half the map is coloured is that it depicts the idea of how far the journey of spreading awareness of the RRF mission is. Second, I didn't do the typical notion of how things are coloured. I did this to prove things don't always go the way you want. Hinting toward how the second subproject I had to complete was not accomplished, regardless, the show must go on, revealed by the way everything on the outside is still coloured, but when you look deeper into the details, you see the flaws. Third, the band-aids over the countries have quotes and facts written on them to represent the  RRF mission.

Ann Map

What was your biggest takeaway from your CSL placement? 

I had to work on two subprojects. The second project, the Listening Evaluation Campaign, had not been completed as there were many complications and a lack of effective communication. As a type-A person who likes to be in control and have things done in an orderly fashion, not finishing this section of my work was my biggest struggle. When trying to handle the situation and figure out ways to complete this portion of my work, I realized that sometimes you can't always be in control, and things won't always end up the way you want. One can't always put pressure on yourself to get things done. Effective communication entails listening intuitively to the other person, asking questions, and developing an in-depth, meaningful understanding of one another. Most importantly, I would say effective communication means acknowledging each other's unique contributions and priorities and constraints, thus developing a stronger sense of mutual engagement. In other words, sometimes effective communication also means compromise, asking for something realistic and being ready to have each other's needs met for the sake of the community or whatever goal that needs to be completed. During my placement, I realized that effective communication is a two-way partnership. Sometimes in life, work doesn't always have to be done alone; you must be proactive and reach out to others to make things happen. I need to ask my supervisor and workmates to problem solve – it's a team effort. As I mentioned before, effective communication is an act that requires mutual effort; it's a partnership, and even though things might not go the way you want, it doesn't mean we have to stress about it because it doesn't always mean it's your fault. I did everything in my power to get the tasks done promptly and efficiently; however, I understand people get busy and occupied with other things. Regardless of what type of communication you are having with a person, organization, or community contact, it is essential to remember that you represent your organization. It is your job to represent the organization's mission and ideals. Despite the hardships one might face, staying professional will help you gain integrity and build rapport for yourself and your organization.

How can you apply any newly gained knowledge/skills to your future endeavours (courses/employment/volunteering)?

At the beginning of this placement, I had three goals in mind, and looking back I find all three goals have been successfully achieved as a result of volunteering with the Ribbon Rouge Foundation. The first goal was to develop a growth mindset. The idea of ​​growth is to support diligence and dedication as the key to success and improvement. This increases resilience and sees failure as a learning opportunity. Challenging me in this way will help me achieve results in the workplace. In addition, the idea of ​​growth improves the way I set goals and track both my learning and performance. 

The second goal is to improve my public speaking skills. As I work with social media platforms, it is essential for me to understand the inner workings of digital literacy. So often, we think of public speaking skills performed in front of others, and although this is an important skill to hone, I believe in the 21st century being able to articulate your point of view online is just as important. Digital literacy refers to the ability to find, evaluate, and communicate information through typing and other media on various digital platforms. Assessed based on your ability to create text, images, sounds and designs using grammar, writing, typing skills and technology and these are all skills that I have developed with my time with RRF. 

Lastly, my third goal was to communicate effectively with different age groups. This is the first time I am not communicating with children/youth or people my age. Therefore, I believe it is essential for me to learn how to communicate with adults in everyday connection-building and work-related conversations. I have completed this portion of my goal through the Listening Evaluation Campaign where I allowed myself to make mistakes and learn from them all while actively engaging with a variety of people.

What are some of the ways that COVID-19 has affected your community partner or your placement? 

COVID has stolen our means to connect like we used to be able to do. The practice of physical separation limits the spread of a virus, but it also limits in-person social interaction. Of course, safety is of utmost importance to me, but it meant not being able to work closely with the Ribbon Rouge members and be hands-on. Like most places, not being able to see people and make genuine contact with others physically has been challenging, but the Internet and Zoom made things a little easier. Despite not meeting in person, my team and I had weekly retrospective meetings where we could freely talk about our lives and try to have some deep connection with others, even if that meant we couldn’t see each other in person. I like to think that working at COVID has prepared me for the future, and I like to think of it as an opportunity rather than adversity.