Volunteer Stories Why I volunteer at CSF Peter Lewis Working at this Centre is a rewarding, satisfying and happy experience. The people I have worked with over the years are generous with their time and support. We continue to enjoy great support from the community and other service agencies. There have been many changes in society, and this is clearly reflected in the work we did at the CAB. There were no computers, bankcards or mobile phones, we only had the resources we brought with us. Our training was mainly to ensure we were the “right” sort of people. Most of our clients worked Monday to Friday, got paid in cash and had little access to loans. Most children lived with their family in a stable home. As society changed, so did our services, and we were well supported by “In Service Training” from people who freely gave their time and expertise. I was able to catch up the few sessions I missed due to work because they were recorded on cassettes. The shift to paying people into bank accounts and the arrival of bank credit cards and Centrelink changed our working methods. Clients were able to get into debt easily and couldn’t pay their bills. This created many problems and increased the complexity of the issues facing our clients. Computers were gradually introduced. The first lesson was to show us what a mouse was and what it did! Our first foray into food provision was bread. We had some freezers to keep the excess. Now we have a larder, vouchers and many more freezers to help people. When new people join, we always seem to get on well together, so here’s to the next 50 years. 20 It takes a community Delkhoa Allahayri Joining CSF in 2017 as a volunteer was a life changing decision for me. Coming from a refugee background, it has always been my desire to help those less fortunate within the community. I joined CSF through the RMIT program for student volunteers. I was adamant that I would be suitable for the position and able to assist clients in accordance to the guidelines of the centre. Going into my first day at CSF, my aim was to be empathetic towards clients and assist them to the best of my knowledge. I soon came to learn that at CSF it’s not about knowledge or experience, but rather assisting the community in any way possible, relieving the burdens that many endure. As my time at CSF progressed, I realised that even if we don’t have all the answers, we can still guide people to services that they may not have known about. It also means we are there to hear their stories. The environment at CSF is caring and inviting for both volunteers and clients, creating a safe place for those in need. The office is a supportive environment, designed to assist each other and share knowledge. We provide care to clients by working collaboratively with interviewers and management. The most rewarding feeling is seeing clients appreciative of our help during vulnerable times. Gaining this insight into our community has helped shape my perspective, and I endeavour to continue assisting these individuals. Although my university placement has come to an end, I am willing to continually commit to working at CSF, and would highly recommend volunteering at CSF in any capacity.