Volunteer spotlight: Cara Castillo from Events

Blogs, Volunteers article written on the 08 Oct 2014

Photo: OxfamAUS

Guest blogger: Cara Castillo, volunteer for the National Events Team

My name is Cara Castillo and I’m currently a volunteer in the National Events Team at Oxfam and also studying a Bachelor of Commerce at university. I started my Oxfam journey as a intern in January 2014 and once my internship was completed I chose to continue as a volunteer.

I’d had a few volunteer roles before joining Oxfam, such as helping out at an arts festival and at university events. So volunteering is something I’ve always enjoyed, because of the knowledge that I’d helped others and because of the diversity of people I meet. I’m also part of the Melbourne University’s Fair Trade Steering Committee, which has definitely opened my eyes to the issues of Fair Trade and ethical consumption, especially at such a large organisation.

When I was in high school I came across Oxfam Unwrapped and thought it was such a creative initiative. I loved the idea of being able to give my friend the gift of knowing that we were helping to provide a goat and some chickens to another family in need.

So when I had to choose an organisation to complete my internship at as part of one of my uni subjects, I went straight to the Oxfam website to see if they offered any internships. Sure enough there was an opportunity to join the events team that sounded interesting, could meet my subject’s requirements and also complement the marketing side of my degree.

I found the recruitment and induction process very well organised. Jen Duffy (Event Fundraising Coordinator) and Kate Delbridge (National Events Manager) first met with me and they were lovely. I was shown around the office and was introduced to lots of people (whose names I struggled to remember for a few weeks, I’ll be honest).

My first major job as an intern involved working with the events team on the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. That was such an exciting event to work on and I couldn’t wait to see what else I could be a part of. After my internship had officially finished I knew for sure that I wanted to continue as a volunteer.

I absolutely love working at Oxfam. Being part of big events like the Civil 20 Summit and the Sustainable Mining Symposium has allowed me to hear from some really great speakers. I’ve learned so much about the ins and outs of managing and organising major events and campaigns.

Whenever I come in I feel really welcome,  not just the events team, but also by everyone else around the office. Jen, Annie and Kate make working here so much fun and they are more than happy to help if I have any questions.  I really couldn’t ask for a better experience as an intern!

What inspires me to work at a non-profit organisation is the knowledge that I’m helping other people in need. When I see how much money an event has raised or how many people have signed up to take part in a campaign we’re organising, it’s really fulfilling. It reminds me that many other people also care about the issues of social justice that organisations such as Oxfam address.