Araceli “Cheli” Mohamed is the Account Manager for National University’s Public Safety Outreach. Former Director of Volunteer Services and Community Leadership Development at the San Diego LGBT Community Center and Chief Operations Officer for the United States Police & Fire Championships and most recently appointed as a Commissioner by California Governor Gavin Newson to California Volunteers.
As the former Leadership & Community Resources Director for San Diego’s LGBT Pride, a human rights and social justice organization that fosters respect for and pride in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities locally, nationally, and globally, Cheli was responsible for overseeing all activities related to the organization’s volunteer programs, including recruitment, orientation, placement, supervision, development, retention, recognition, and appreciation for approximately 1000 volunteers year-round. She was the liaison to city, county, state, and federal elected officials. As a member of the development team, she was responsible for identifying and creating sponsorship opportunities and corporate volunteer partnerships, as well as increasing community in-kind donations. Additionally, she had to manage and increase festival and community partners, develop field placement opportunities for interns from local colleges and universities, head efforts to develop and train emerging volunteer leaders within the organization and community, and work with program coordinators to develop, manage, and train department volunteers.
Cheli is originally from Brawley, California, and graduated from the University of California, San Diego. She has spent 20 years in non-profit social services and 7 years working in local government. Her professional background includes program and corporate development, volunteer management, crisis intervention, HIV/AIDS prevention and education, fundraising, and special events.
A national speaker on Volunteer Development and Management, Cheli is a graduate of both LEAD San Diego’s EMBARK & IMPACT Classes and a finalist for the highly coveted Herbert G. Klein Award for Exemplary Leadership. In recent years Cheli has been named Woman of the Year, by the San Diego LGBT Community Center for her tireless advocacy and activism and recognized by the City of San Diego for community leadership.
Cheli is passionate about volunteering and devotes countless hours to community organizations. She is a firm believer in donating time, talent and treasure to cultural and educational organizations, and has sat on the board of directors for Diversionary Theatre, Bayshore Preparatory School and The Latino/a and Indigenous Peoples’ Unity Coalition, in addition to, Home Start, Inc., Lambda Archives of San Diego and being Board of Directors for San Diego LGBT Pride.
Cheli lives in San Diego with her children Brianna and RJ.
Volunteer with Cheli’s Story:
In February 2013, a community activist, Benny Cartwright, called Cheli and said, “I know that you have a lot of volunteers that follow you and I need your help tonight”. He was coordinating a Candlelight Vigil and needed volunteers for his event. Cheli put the word out on her social media network and told interested volunteers to reach out directly to him. The next day he called to thank Cheli, a dozen people had shown up – simply because Cheli asked if they could help. Cheli was overwhelmed and touched by the outpour of support.
Soon, other community groups and organizations reached out asking for volunteer help. Cheli kept putting the word out, volunteers kept showing up. One day when she was working on a specific project for back then Assemblymember Toni Akins, Cheli made a personal request for help. The response from the volunteer “Will I get to volunteer with Cheli if I show up?” and hence how Volunteer with Cheli was born! We launched our Facebook Group in January 2014 and quickly gain momentum in the community working on beach cleanups, helping organizations working directly with the homeless, youth, and the sober community.
We officially incorporated in 2017 as a non-profit organization and continue to grow with more than 300 registered volunteers and partnering with more than 35 community organizations.
To INSPIRE, ENGAGE and EMPOWER the LGBT community and our allies to be catalysts for change across our diverse and collective communities through volunteer service.
Volunteer with Cheli, is a movement created by volunteers, for volunteers, to increase awareness of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community by INSPIRING volunteers to make a difference in the communities we are all a part of. Our goal is to create a bridge between the LGBT community and allies to the World at Large. Our focus is to ENGAGE the LGBT community and our allies with access to organizations, projects, learning opportunities, and civic engagement work that improves our collective communities while we EMPOWER people each year to use their time, energy, talent, money, creativity, and voice to truly become catalysts for creating change.