This week is National Volunteer Week, and we’re celebrating the amazing and varied work of our CAFOD volunteers. Schools volunteer Toni Woodhead shares her experience of visiting schools, getting creative and inspiring children to take action for CAFOD.
Being a school volunteer has been rewarding and enlightening, even with the preparation time and the first scary moments in front of the children. I have even found a creative side to myself and it is amazing how much it is developing!
The resources from CAFOD are always great and usually contains all the information about what is needed. At first this was all I used but as confidence grows, so do the ideas. From the first dirty water container and the wonderfully wrapped clean water, to the straw animal from Ikea that looked like a supergoat once a red cloak was added, I have started to look at every shape and size in a different way. I used glass spheres in a bucket for the weight instead of water. I bought child size garden tools for the “place at the table” and large sand toys for the “dig deep”. For the funny shaped food I got pictures from the internet and made them A4 size so the children could see them. They found them enjoyable. I found an old box in the loft that I cleaned and stuck on the words “treasure”.
I had a wonderful time with The town that came alive, an activity for children to explore CAFOD’s work in Mozambique! I separated some cardboard for the huts and used the plain bit for the roofs. I gathered some twigs and put them in oasis for the fences. An old hair spray bottle and a Christmas plant pot were the water pump and the flowers were pictures on plant id sticks, again in a strip of oasis. I used a tray and some soil from the garden and the child size tools again and luckily I had a friend who had some farm animals in her store. If you print two copies of an animal you can join them at the top and then they will stand up.
While exploring how communities adapt to extreme weather this Lent with children, I made some first aid boxes with an inside out cereal packet or tea packet and a red cross. A colleague suggested cardboard tubes for torches which I covered in brown paper and added some tinfoil at the edges. A votive candle shape fits to keep the roll from crushing. I gathered all the clothes from the reject boxes in the charity shop for less than £2 and books and small toys were found there too. The exercise books were made from scrap paper and a coloured front piece stapled together. Pencil cases could be made from empty cartons turned inside out.
I have continued to look at my ‘junk’ and ‘recycle’ box before I throw anything away and I am saving those things I have used as they may be useful again. What’s next this Harvest Fast Day? I’m looking forward to it.