Sixth Formers 'graduate' from CAFOD Young Leaders programme
Our participants in this year's CAFOD Young Leaders programme - Annabelle B., Sophie C.-B., Rosie T. and Ana W. - attended a celebration and 'graduation' at CAFOD's HQ, Romero House, next to Southwark Cathedral, on Tuesday 25 June. Since September, they have attended three training days run by CAFOD with students from a couple of other schools from the Eastern region. The programme has helped the students to think about relevant skills for those working or volunteering around international development issues, whether in schools or as a career. Themes have included presentation skills, project management, fundraising, raising awareness, campaigning and lobbying, and looking in some detail at recent and forthcoming CAFOD campaigns regarding refugees and climate change. It has also been an opportunity to meet and make friends with those taking part from other schools.
The day in London was different in that it was a national celebration involving about 120 Young Leaders (about half of all who took part in the programme at different centres around the country), with some groups travelling from schools in the Isle of Wight and Bristol to attend. It was a chance to celebrate the work of CAFOD and its volunteers and to review and evaluate the lessons and activities of the year. It was a chance also to reconnect with old friends from the course and meet new ones. Students were made aware of possible volunteering, gap year and career opportunities for the future and there was a Q&A discussion with a panel of three CAFOD employees - an emergency response officer, one of the team working in governance, and a copywriter working on publicity and campaign materials. Much pizza was eaten, and the day concluded with a brief address and the presentation of certificates by the new Director of CAFOD, Christine Allen. She spoke about the importance of Catholic social teaching to her own career and the work of CAFOD, and said that she hoped this was only the beginning of the students' relationship with CAFOD - she herself first worked for them as a campaign manager about 30 years ago. She commented also that she found the energy of the young people in the room both an inspiration and slightly intimidating and that she was sure that many of them would continue to effect change and advocate for those most in need and most vulnerable in our global family.