Education is one of the cornerstones of CAFOD’s work in England and Wales, and a visit from a CAFOD volunteer can be one way to inspire your school to learn more and take action in the fight against poverty. But how does one become a CAFOD volunteer? Here, volunteer Stephen Bone talks about why he wanted to become a school volunteer, and how he signed up to do so:
Two months ago, CAFOD held an ‘Understanding CAFOD’ day. As well as background information, an overview was provided of all the roles that we, as CAFOD supporters, could engage in. This was where my story as a school volunteer began.
When I look back at my school days, I still remember the times when a guest speaker would talk at our assemblies. Their speeches broke the monotonous boredom of announcements about who stole Mrs Newton’s plant pot and, moreover, broached matters of importance. When the opportunity to be a school volunteer was suggested at an ‘Understanding CAFOD’ day, it naturally caught my interest.
Having put my name forward to my local Diocesan Office, the next step was the first schools volunteer training day on the 26 of February. The diversity of my fellow volunteers astounded me; from economists and government advisors, to teachers and students such as myself. The first day of training was extremely engaging. As well as learning more about CAFOD, we were all thrown in the deep end and performed a practice presentation. This was a great way of identifying which audience we were most comfortable with as well as our strengths and weaknesses. I found that I was best suited to speaking with older students; adopting the right tone for this age group came naturally and I enjoyed discussing advanced topics. The feedback also helped me develop skills such as interacting with the audience in an efficient way. I also found further inspiration from this session. It was conveyed to us that this is an opportunity to increase the awareness of the younger generations to the mass poverty and injustice in the world. This awareness will one day lead to action, and it felt important to be a part of that.
I would urge anyone who has even the slightest interest in schools volunteering to get in contact with CAFOD Westminster Diocese Office via phone (0208 449 69 70) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). A talk with the office team will be a great starter. It is a great way of finding out whether this form of volunteering is for you.