Zuzanna Oliwkiewicz

My name is Zuzanna, I am currently studying human and social sciences at Cardiff University. I’ve had the opportunity to work with CASCADE over the past semester as a part of my placement journey. I’ve joined meetings, webinars, searched for venues and even got sucked into helping with the big move! As I enjoy planning and organising, working at CASCADE has helped me get a sneak peak of what it is really like event organising in the real world.

I attended the Assets, Strength and Rationality: Integrating Approaches in Theory and Practice’ webinar as a co-host, which allowed me to get an insight to the backstage of an event (which was exciting but a little stressful as I had to be careful not to click any buttons which would end the whole zoom call!). It was interesting for me to attend the webinar as a social scientist but also a student. As a student, I enjoyed the fact the slides were presented on viewers’ screens; making the experience visual as well as audible helped the experience become more memorable.  As a social scientist, I really enjoyed the fact that the focus was on adults. I really appreciated the fact that such efforts have been put into positive reinforcement when it comes to helping adults in social care, reminding them that it is never too late for change. The existence of the webinar topic itself shows the attempts to educate more people on these systems and approaches, and it’s been proven that many people are willing to be educated, as 70 guests attended the call.

It’s great to see positive steps towards changing the community and focusing on what people can do, not what they can’t. During the webinar, Professor Jon Franklin said that ‘we need to change the question, instead of: what is wrong with you? how can we fix you? we ask: what matters to you? how can we help you achieve that?’. This quote really stood out to me, as it keeps the focus away from the ‘individual as problem’. People in social care should not be made to feel like they are a problem or a burden, strength-based approaches help individuals realise they are capable of positive outcomes. Giving people confidence to find positive attributes, skills, and gifts within themselves can really help with their quality of life, making them feel like valued members of society. Overall, the webinar was an amazing experience which I would recommend to anyone! I think it is so important to keep our minds open and to continue to educate ourselves alongside our hectic everyday lives.

My experience working with CASCADE has been very enjoyable, it has been beneficial for me to work in a professional yet easy-going environment. Being behind the scenes of events which I would usually be a guest of has really helped me build my interest in event organising. I would love to end this blog by saying a thank you to Dan, Jo and especially Sian for making my experience at CASCADE so wonderful!

By Zuzanna Oliwkiewicz