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!

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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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Great Generation: Mountain top moments

Rachel Mannix is a CAFOD volunteer who has written and performed her spoken word poetry for CAFOD. Inspired by her faith, Rachel explains how she learned a new form of prayer. 

Rachel Mannix before preforming her spoken word poem.
Rachel Mannix before preforming her spoken word poem.

Growing up there have been so many times that I’ve come home after an incredible experience of God and thought, “What next?”

During special events, like youth conferences, the atmosphere is electric and you feel so connected and strengthened in your faith but then when it is over you get a feeling of withdrawal from that community and spirituality – you can feel lost, deflated and on your own.

Learn how you can volunteer and make a difference in your community

It can be really difficult to keep the momentum going when you are faced with your normality but I’m learning more and more that God doesn’t ask us to do that on our own. He wants to be a part of our day-to-day lives and I don’t want to just have a relationship with Him when I’m at an event, but all the time.

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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”

Great Generation: Carrying the flame of hope with refugees

Eleanor Margetts was part of the CAFOD team of young volunteers at Flame. Here she describes how young people learnt about the plight of refugees and were inspired to take action. 

Eleanor volunteering at Flame
Eleanor volunteering at Flame.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of being a part of CAFOD’s volunteer team at Flame, the Catholic youth gathering by CYMFed at Wembley Arena. I had never been to Flame before, so it was very exciting to attend such an inspiring event. I was amazed, not only at the enthusiasm of all the young people in attendance, but at the wonderful messages of hope and solidarity shared by all of the speakers. The striking presence of the boat, a small vessel used to transport refugees from Turkey to the Italian island of Lampedusa in 2013, on the stage of Wembley Arena set the tone for the event as one both of a celebration of Christian faith and one that really aimed to challenge people to put that faith into action by striving for justice.

Take the Flame challenge today – write a message of hope to refugees

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Preparing for Flame 2017

Leah and Ryan in Lebanon last year.
Leah and Ryan in Lebanon last year.

We caught up with CAFOD volunteer Ryan who is getting ready to speak to over 8,000 people at the Catholic youth event, Flame 2017, at the SSE Arena, Wembley on March 11. Read on to find out more.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved with CAFOD.

Currently, I am a volunteer at Savio House, the Salesian residential retreat centre. I really enjoy working with young people and helping them to build relationships with each other as well as with God. When I was in Y12 I joined the Cafod Young Leaders program in my school and as a part of this, I went to the Houses of Parliament to speak to my MP about climate change. From this, I continued to volunteer for a second year on the program with different people.

Buy your ticket to Flame today

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Great Generation: Speak up for CAFOD this Lent!

Young leaders from Portsmouth Diocese, spoke up for CAFOD this Harvest by running an assembly in their school. (Emily, front row, centre.)
Young leaders from Portsmouth Diocese spoke up for CAFOD this Harvest by running an assembly in their school. (Emily, front row, centre.)

Emily is training as a CAFOD young leader volunteer in Portsmouth Diocese. Alongside other young leaders, this Harvest she spoke up for CAFOD at her school by running an assembly. Their assembly helped fundraise a record amount!

 CAFOD’s Brighten Up campaign this Harvest was an opportunity for all of us involved in the CAFOD young leadership programme at my college to co-ordinate our own fundraising in aid of CAFOD’s work, focusing on their partnership in Bolivia.

By using an assembly and service as our main means of communication to students and staff at our school, we were able to get across the message of CAFOD in such a positive way and give CAFOD a new face at our school. By literally trying to Brighten Up this Harvest, we encouraged our student body to all wear scarves to our Harvest Festival whilst giving charitable donations which made for a much ‘brighter’ day!

Speak up for CAFOD this Lent Fast Day, 10 March, in your parish or your secondary school. Continue reading “Great Generation: Speak up for CAFOD this Lent!”

Youth leaders: Georgia’s year ahead

CAFOD Youth leader ambassadors 2016-7
CAFOD Youth leader ambassadors 2016-7 (Georgia centre, seated.)

Georgia is a youth leader at The Briars Catholic youth retreat centre. This year she will work with hundreds of young people, enabling them to explore their faith. She has just started a year volunteering with CAFOD as a youth ambassador, championing global justice work in her centre. Here she reflects on her year ahead.

Last week I was fortunate enough to be a part of CAFOD’s ambassador first training programme, in which myself and eight other youth ministers joined forces to work together on how we could further raise awareness on the current refugee crisis.

Write a message of hope to refugees in your parish or your youth group or class. Continue reading “Youth leaders: Georgia’s year ahead”