Monday, October 23, 2017
Interview by: Lily Jones
September 27, 2017
Maryam Ghazala is an Iraqi student at Oberlin College. She volunteers at Community Action for Saving Strays as a part of her Bonner Scholarship.
Q: How did you start volunteering at Community Action to Save Strays?
A: I started volunteering for Community Action to Save Strays (or CATSS) as soon as I started school here because its related to the Bonner scholarship that I'm enrolled in, so I'm required to do community service during my time at Oberlin. And I went to the site at Ginkgos and I really liked it so I started going there.
"Personal efforts matter and stepping up and finding where you're needed is really important."
Q: What aspects of volunteering at CATSS have made your experience special or impactful?
A: I think when I first started community service, especially working with CATSS, I first found it a little pointless, because its something that everyone does, saving strays. But with time I realized but complicated the process is and how much time everyone who works for the organization puts in, and that just made me realize that personal efforts matter and stepping up and finding where you're needed is really important.
Q: Have you volunteered elsewhere outside of Oberlin and if so how was that experience different?
A: I have volunteered at different places in the past. For example, food services, metal recycling, and a home for senior residents. Theyre all really different but I think the biggest difference is that the more time I spend with an organization the more it has an impact on me. If it's only a one or two month commitment it doesnt really feel like you're part of anything.
"It made me realize how important it is to stay in touch with the community..."
Q: How has volunteering in Oberlin impacted you?
A: It made me realize how important it is to stay in touch with the community, and it makes you realize that Oberlin is like a bubble, everyone around you is a college student and they have similar experiences. When you're doing community service in the town you realize theres just this huge range in where people come from and what people do with their lives.
Q: Has volunteering at CATSS made you view Oberlin differently?
A: Yes definitely, I think the range of people that I see when I work there and the people that are on the board for the organization are all very different. It sometimes makes teamwork a little hard but it also makes me realize that there are different people out there.
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