Great generation: My year as a CAFOD young leader

Flavia at the CAFOD young leaders celebration day.
Flavia at the CAFOD young leaders celebration day.

Flavia has been volunteering for CAFOD this year as part of the Young Leadership Programme. She’s had a busy year of fundraising, campaigning and raising awareness in her school of CAFOD’s work and social justice issues that are important to her.

Earlier this year Flavia was nominated for the Dorothy Day award, a Million Minutes award for fostering community participation. Here is an extract from her sixth form leavers’ speech, where she reflected on the journey she’s had in college and with CAFOD over the past twelve months.

My journey began last year when I went on a climate change rally to lobby MPs. At first I wasn’t very interested in the topic, however after going on the rally and understanding the impact that our voice has in the world we live in, it really surprised me that I can make a change. It may not be a massive change, but I learnt very quickly throughout this year that it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.

Download our Olympic resources to explore global justice issues with your youth group, class or group of friends.

Flavia and her friends on their nativity walk to raise money for World Gifts.
Flavia and her friends on their nativity walk to raise money for World Gifts.

This year I joined the CAFOD young leadership programme through college. For me this programme really demonstrated that the smallest things really do make a difference.

In December I organised an event on behalf of CAFOD alongside my chaplain Claire, to raise money to buy World Gifts for children suffering from HIV. A group of twelve students including myself walked from Victoria to CAFOD’s head office dressed as the nativity set. We raised £250 in total and this meant that six World Gifts were bought for these children and that as a result they could have six days of being children, of living like children.

Flavia reflects on her visit to Parliament in April, which she attended on behalf of CAFOD and our One Climate, One World campaign:

Flavia, with CAFOD young leaders, at to Parliament to lobby MPs on climate issues.
Flavia, with CAFOD young leaders, at Parliament to lobby MPs on climate issues.

Nick Hurd, the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State at the Department for International Development, shared a story based on a project he is working on around climate change. He spoke of one family and how renewable energy resources had impacted their lives tremendously, how the young girl no longer needed to spend her days collecting water and how the young boy could now stay up at night and read his school books. The mother was also able to make some income through renting out her power sockets to others in the village.

For us being able to charge our phones is not a privilege, but for them just having that power socket was amazing. However, at that moment I realised that this family’s life had changed so much by the hard work of others, so… What was I going to do to make a change?

Another speaker at that event also touched my heart profoundly. He said that as humans and as religious beings of whatever faith, we are called to look after the world and be Good Samaritans of it.

So, apart from the friendships, and memories, and grades, I can say that our college has helped me, not only through the association with CAFOD and getting to learn more about their work and be involved with them as a young leader but most importantly, learn that my voice matters and making a change is not easy but the smallest things in life sometimes bring about the biggest change.

Download our Olympic resources to explore global justice issues with your youth group, class or group of friends.

 

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