A Wealth of Talents at All Hallows

One month on and our class in Year 8 at All Hallows Catholic School in Farnham have come to the end of their Harvest of Talents project and what a fantastic job they’ve done!

As you may remember, the class were part of a special national CAFOD pilot based on the Biblical parable of talents which reminds us that God gives us gifts and skills that can be used for the good of others.

Each student thought about their own abilities before thinking of as many ways as they could to use their talents for the benefit of others.  They were then given £10 each to invest in their ideas with the aim of multiplying this money as much as they could over four weeks.

They had some cracking ideas and really got behind the whole project!

As one student said, ‘This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I hit it with everything I had!’

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Some groups used their talents in baking to make around 300 cakes to sell at break times,  whilst another of their classmates made the most of his swimming skills and organised his own sponsored swim.  Some groups put their organisational skills to the test by holding a ‘sponge the teacher’ event, football penalty shoot outs and car washes whilst others used their entrepreneurial talents to source and sell pencil cases and wrist bands.

One group even decided to make and design their own tie-dyed clothing to sell, telling us ‘We thoroughly enjoyed it, but we did make some mistakes.  As soon as we were given the money, we set out that weekend and bought the clothing.  We tried to find good value clothing and dye but it wasn’t all cheap!’

Another group made dinner for their families as part of the project, using their culinary skills to raise funds.  “Dad can’t cook so he was pleased as Mum was away,” one student said.  Another pupil made dinner one evening to ‘give Mum a break’.

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The students told us they had learned ‘responsibility’ as a result of the project and ‘how to handle money properly’. They also discovered how to ‘cooperate together as a team in order to benefit others’ and that ‘helping charity can be fun and effective’.

Some pupils also told me how important it was to ‘spend some time thinking what to do’ and to ‘listen to the advice of others’. They also warned against ‘spending too much money at the beginning’ and would urge others to ‘think about their pricing realistically’.   Overall they felt it was important to ‘try your best’ ‘not give up’ and to ‘really spend some time thinking about marketing and publicity.’

However the main feedback was clearly how much fun it was.  Students told us:

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‘This has been an enjoyable time and I will remember it for years to come’

‘I found the experience very exciting and inspiring!’

‘My team and I felt very proud and I feel happy because I know that I have raised money for a good cause…. Thank you CAFOD for letting us share this great experience with you!’

Another participant said, ‘Thank you to CAFOD for giving us this opportunity to raise money for others who need it worldwide. It was a really fun, inspiring task to do.’

No – thank YOU everyone at All Hallows for all your hard work!  It was our absolute pleasure and honour to work with you!

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The final amount raised was an impressive £205.06– and this is likely to rise as one student plans to talk about the project at his local church (using his very good public speaking skills).

Because of the pupils’ hard work, we are going to be able to help more people like 16-year-old Mari and her community in Brazil.  The class heard Mari’s story at the introductory workshop held at the beginning of the project.  CAFOD works with local partner organisations in Brazil, to help favela communities speak out for their needs and negotiate with the city government for improved living conditions.

Back in Brazil, Mari had this message about her dream for the future.  “One of my dreams is to go to university. I want to help people – people my age, younger kids and older people. I want to do a job where others benefit from my skills. I’d really like to be part of a project or a movement where I can help not just myself, but other people as well.”

The students’ determination to help others is reflected in Mari’s words. Their help will enable others like Mari to realise their potential and use their talents for the wider community too.

We would like to say a HUGE thank you to the students who have done such sterling work, all the teachers and parents who supported them in their fundraising efforts and their fellow students across the school.  We’d also like to give our special thanks to Ms Houghton who has organised the whole project with her class and to Mr Tucker and Mrs Lutzeier for all their support.

Thank you everyone!

For more information on CAFOD’s work in Brazil please click here.

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