All I want for Christmas…is bees

Victoria Ahmed works in CAFOD’s education team.

Socks, check. Dad’s book, check. Queen bee, check.

Like many people, I’ve been rushing about this week in a mild panic. When’s the last date for online delivery orders? Have I missed the last post?  I’ve been scribbling away on my little present checklist, making sure I’ve remembered everything. The Happy queen bee World Gift is probably my favourite on the list to buy this year, and both my five year old God- daughter and my 89 year old Nan will be proud owners of one come Christmas morning.

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Brighten Up: Buzzing with fundraising ideas

Margaret Hodgson is a CAFOD school visitor and has been inspiring children to Brighten Up for Harvest Fast Day.

Find brighten Up resources for primary schools
St Bede’s are brightening up this Harvest Fast Day.

Are you planning to get involved with CAFOD’s Brighten Up event next week? St. Bede’s school in Darlington wanted to learn more about CAFOD’s work in El Salvador and invited me in to help them plan a Brighten Up fundraiser. It was the first time they had invited CAFOD into their school and so I was more than delighted to visit!

Book a CAFOD visitor for your school

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Step into the Gap: Welcome to the new volunteers

We’d like to introduce and welcome the new team of CAFOD gap year volunteers as they settle into their placements this week. Read on to find out a little bit about the 2017/2018 team as they gear up for a year of volunteering with CAFOD.

Christopher is a Step into the Gap volunteer based at Walsingham House in Brentwood
Christopher

Christopher Burkette – Walsingham House, Brentwood

Hello, my name is Christopher. I am 18 years old and over the next year I am going to be doing a placement at Walsingham House within the Brentwood diocese in the South-East of the UK. I have been previously involved with the work of CAFOD at a campaign raising awareness of the growing issues surrounding Climate Change – One Climate One World; for me an important topic, more today than ever as the effects of climate change appear so prominent in the World around us. For me, it is important for us to care for the World around us – given to us by God as a gift: one we must be stewards of, spend special attention to and care for.

I joined the Step into the Gap programme once the opportunity arose due to my desire to really help people in the wider world around me – I felt the programme gave me an opportunity to make a real difference! This joined with the fact that I have always took an interest in the many varied works of CAFOD. I wanted to be a part of it – in some way acting to represent the values set by CAFOD – not just in work but in my everyday lifestyle. I think that many people don’t have a full grasp of the spectrum of how far-reaching CAFOD work and the amount of people’s lives of which are transformed completely through action of CAFOD and their partners. I feel that I can be a very vocal person, and so feel that the Step into the Gap programme is helpful for me spreading this message of love to others and act towards visible change!

Work with young people? Explore our resources

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Back to school: A parent’s reflection

This week Claire Bolt is helping her daughter prepare to start school. In this blog she talks about her hopes for the year ahead.

Claire is a parent preparing to go back to school
Claire with her family.

My eldest daughter is starting school in September. Honestly, despite the‘time flies’ warnings you get from elderly aunts, I can’t quite believe it. As the start date draws nearer, I’m remembering Kathleen’s baby stage with glee (sleepless nights, what sleepless nights?), watching with pride as she runs around the park, or grins down at me when she makes it to the top of the climbing frame. She’s only little so what am I doing buying pinafores and black shoes and hair bands to match her uniform?

Getting ready to go back to school? Check out our top tips for teachers

And then comes the panic. How on earth will we get out of the house on time every morning when just getting dressed or having breakfast can take the best part of an hour? What if she doesn’t like her teacher? Will she make friends? Deep breath. Reception, here we come.

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Back to school: Volunteering with CAFOD

Kezia is from Brentwood and has just finished a year volunteering with CAFOD as part of the Young Leadership programme, and has written  about her experience to inspire others to get involved this year. 

Young leader Kezia
Kezia taking part in the Power to be campaign.

My year with CAFOD would not have started without my faith. My faith drove me to apply for CAFOD’s young leadership programme and to develop my passion for helping others. I had heard about CAFOD through my school but not in much depth, so when I applied for the programme, I didn’t know what to expect. Looking back, what I loved about the programme is the hands-on attitude. In my spare time, I do a lot of dance and that has made me want to get in and get involved. The young leadership programme is all about getting involved and raising awareness of CAFOD’s campaigns, so this programme was perfect for me. I was lucky enough to experience this for a whole year.

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Dear World Bank, build a brighter future for every child

Jo Walker is a teacher at St Anthony’s primary school, and this term her pupils have been learning about renewable energy and writing messages as part of the Power to be campaign.

Solar energy allows children like Veronica to have a good education so they do well at school and to do well in the future. Please help all children to have the power to be the best person they want to be. Solar power is healthy for the earth and can help fulfill dreams – St Anthony’s pupil

St Anthony's take part in the Power to be campaign
Pupils at St Anthony’s learning about renewable energy.

We introduced CAFOD’s Power to be campaign with our Year 5 children and it was a huge success! The children were engaged throughout and were really affected by the content. They found the story of Veronica so moving, learning how solar energy has transformed the life of her community, helping more children study, and being able to compare her daily life with their own provided them with a really powerful stimulus for the activities, and children wrote hopeful messages to Veronica.

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Great Generation: Meet our young leaders

“Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.” Laudato Si #13

CAFOD young leaders
Volunteering with CAFOD.

We know that many young people take action with CAFOD, working together to overcome poverty and injustice throughout the world. Many of our partners across the world empower young people to transform their societies.

We’re inspired by them, and know that young people in the UK have the same ability to take the lead, which is why we focus on this area of work in the UK, supporting young people to be key influencers of their peers and local communities.

The CAFOD Young Leadership programme is one of the ways we engage a younger audience in our work, offering sixth-formers an opportunity to take the lead by volunteering for CAFOD to make a difference in fighting poverty and injustice.

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Great Generation: Playing my part

Oscar is a CAFOD volunteer who joined campaigners from across England and Wales at a parliamentary reception on 24 April.

“If young people shout loud enough, the government will listen!” Oscar.

Oscar campaigning with CAFOD
Oscar (left) at the parliamentary reception.

The CAFOD MP Correspondence on Monday the 24 April was a truly great experience, and was inspiring in many ways. I came along for multiple reasons.

One key reason was to make the best use of my time as a CAFOD young leader. CAFOD is truly a great organisation with meaningful aims, and I wanted to be a part of that and represent that at Speaker’s house in parliament. Also, I have a passion for politics, so going to parliament and talking to MPs and campaigners about CAFOD’s work and my work as a young leader was a great chance to gain experience and visit parliament.

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Youth leaders: My year with CAFOD and Youth Ministry Team

Charlie, CAFOD youth work ambassador.
Charlie, CAFOD youth leader ambassador.

Charlie is a youth worker at the Youth Ministry Trust (YMT) in the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. He works with young people to inspire and encourage them in their faith. This year he has volunteered as the ‘CAFOD ambassador’ at YMT, championing global justice work on the team.

My year as a volunteer

My year at YMT has been absolutely incredible, heightened by joining forces with CAFOD to promote social justice and CAFOD’s key projects and campaigns.

My year here at YMT as CAFOD ambassador has been one of great growth and progress, having the opportunity to grow in my skills, confidence, and joy for the Gospel! My work with CAFOD has also very much challenged me, in researching and learning about major social and political issues that impact the world around us, and us personally.

The general election 2017 comes at a crucial time. Choose from seven ways to build a better world.   Continue reading “Youth leaders: My year with CAFOD and Youth Ministry Team”

The fish – a symbol of hope

Kathleen O’Brien writes our resources for secondary schools, and has been thinking about our scaly underwater friends during Lent.

What does the fish symbol mean?
What does the fish symbol mean?

How often do you notice those fish symbols on the back windscreen of cars? I see them all the time. I think most people now realise that they are a Christian symbol, but perhaps don’t know why. They may think the fish is used because Jesus’ first followers were fishermen.

Meet Bob the fish from Zambia Continue reading “The fish – a symbol of hope”