“Faith, without works, is dead” – this quote, from the book of James, epitomises our Christian faith and was emphasised by my grandparents. They are the reason why I have come to know, since I was a child, that in our own little way, we can each make a difference. Simple acts like a smile, or sharing your food, umbrella or even your clothes with someone can brighten someone’s day. All we need is a little bit of compassion, love and, most of all, our faith. In addition, words such as ‘thank you’, or ‘I’m sorry’ are powerful enough to encourage forgiveness, peace, hope, healing, happiness and love, all of which the world needs.
About The Author: Alana Kristi Balicdang has been a CAFOD schools volunteer in the Westminster diocese since September 2010. She visits different primary schools promoting CAFOD and global justice issues in presentations to children and their teachers.
I’ve learnt that I can do more through my faith. This has lead to my aspirations to inspire others and be an example through doing what I love to do. I volunteer with the hope of helping or, simply, making my brothers and sisters (who are in great need) smile. This is what CAFOD means to me – encouraging smiles through its humanitarian works across the globe. A smile that is not simply defined as happiness, but a smile which also means dignity, equality and solidarity for the common good (the key values of CAFOD).
I am a CAFOD education volunteer, visiting different primary schools to do talks during an assembly or provide workshops to raise awareness on issues like global warming, inequality, Fairtrade and social justice. The whole experience has been an amazing, life-learning, humbling and inspiring journey, meeting different people and being greeted by children who have so much compassion and so many dreams. Their ideas, opinions and their passion in wanting to make a difference, surprises me. I have met children who, instead of receiving presents at their birthday party, decided to be the giver and give their gifts to the needy. Some of these children are only ages 9-11.Volunteer with CAFOD >>
Although the presentations can be challenging, you know you have done something incredible by just sharing the stories of CAFOD’s partners, which in turn have inspired children into action.
Some of the schools I visited this Lent took part in the Thirst for change campaign highlighting the plight of our brothers and sisters who do not have access to clean and safe drinking water. Some of the schools and parishes arranged prayer reflections and fundraising events like cake sales and quiz shows. Another school created a ‘Wall of Change’ for harvest fast day which demonstrates their commitment to making a difference through prayers, sharing what they’ve learnt with others and becoming ‘ambassadors of change’.
My whole experience reminds me it is not impossible for us to make a difference. It is not only about giving money, offering some of your time is one of the best ways to create a chain of difference. I was also involved with my friends in the ‘Spirit in the City festival 2011’ in Soho Square and we became CAFOD ambassadors for a day. Our aim is to introduce CAFOD to everyone we see and meet regardless of their nationality, religion or creed. It was a rewarding and unforgettable experience – meeting new friends and being able to promote and share the good works that CAFOD does.
As a young person, I know that I represent a generation which stands for hope and reformation. This is one of the reasons I do voluntary work and why what I do is, and will always be, rooted in my faith. I’ve always believed that each and every one of us is capable of doing great things, because all of us were blessed with different gifts, talents, abilities or skills. We are given all of these because there’s a purpose, just like our body parts: eyes for sight but also to see beyond what is visible, ears for hearing but also to listen, hands for touch but also to take action.
Let me end my blog with a quote but also a reflection and challenge to each and every one of us: “Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great, you can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom,” said Nelson Mandela. What better way to take action than through checking the website below and see how you can make a difference in your own simple way.