Volunteer Interview: Mohamed

What is your role at CAS and what does it involve?

My current role at CAS involves support during meetings, and assistance with the creation of promotional and communications material. I sometimes speak at events but I’m generally a ‘floating’ member right now with no set role.

In the past I’ve worked as a Graphic Designer and Workshop Facilitator for CAS, and in those roles I also acted as Co-founder (in the very early stages of the organization!) From that hybrid role I moved onto serve as Communications Coordinator for 2 years, which fills most of my work history as a CAS Volunteer. The Coordinator role had me leading a small team to ensure we delivered promotional material such as flyers, facebook event pages and social media graphics. The role also involved supporting the Website Manager in building and updating our website. It was my first leadership role and I feel like I learnt a lot through it! 

How did you get into volunteering with CAS?

I asked the former Director, if they were after volunteers. They said yes. It was literally that simple. For a while there were only 3 of us, and that closeness (and frankly, lack of resource) kept us together and determined to succeed. Myself and those other two people really did the formative work in what CAS is today. 

What do you enjoy the most about volunteering at CAS?

The openness and acceptance. I was a student for most of my volunteering, and never did those I reported to ask me to weigh my CAS volunteering above my uni work. I could come in and wouldn’t feel like a volunteer, I just felt like I was with friends, and up-skilling in things I felt confident in learning. This is in great part thanks to an amazing support system, I felt encouraged and understood every step I took onto unfamiliar ground. CAS helped me feel comfortable in learning things I otherwise may not have felt capable of learning. 

How do you manage finding time for volunteering? 

This is a funny question, because honestly sometimes it was so difficult to find time! I think there were a few effective ways to manage myself & others :

  • Having a routine: If I didn’t keep myself familiarized with workflows and consistently deliver I would have probably let it fall off. A routine and schedule, even if its just an hour of thinking and taking notes would really keep me on track.
  • Keeping CAS stuff scheduled: When I’m on break, I’m on break. Having a constant trickle of work to do can get so exhausting! Its important to take breaks and make sure you’re crystal clear to yourself about that. Having messages for CAS pop up in the middle of me working on uni stuff or on a weekend was is not a sustainable way to volunteer. Having a set few days in the week for CAS stuff, and configuring notifications for set times (or turning them off completely!) are ways to ensure you manage your time (and wellbeing) efficiently. 

What skills have you developed through volunteering with CAS?

Time management, organization, design of collateral, info-graphics, publication. A handful of digital pipelines that maximize efficiency (e.g. the Google Suite, how to watermark 100s of photos in a few seconds). I learnt a handful things around marketing, like data collection, how to build a website, how to write release forms/similar. I’ve learnt leadership and management skills and administration skills. A huge one is communication , interpersonal and intercultural skills! These lead my success in each role, they were very needed skills! 

What has been the highlight of your experience at CAS so far?

Working with Refugee/Asylum seeker background people has been the most rewarding experience at CAS. I learnt so much from many community members from that situation & have made friends I hope to keep for a lifetime. In 2015 we delivered a series of after-school workshops to students of this disposition. Their specified curriculum didn’t include art classes. Each and every one of them were so skilled and bursting with creative flair. It was so great to seem them comfortably express and practice. Many of these students have gone on to begin truly wonderful artistic careers. I’m very excited of what’s to come for them, CAS as an organization, and the other attendees we might help!

CAS is currently on the lookout for volunteers to join our enthusiastic team! We are looking for a Human Resources Coordinator, Facebook & Website Manager, and general Connection Team Members. Visit our volunteer information page to find a role that suits you. Applications close on Tuesday 5th November.

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