Congratulations to our Young Leaders!

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Congratulations to all our young leaders who have now completed our Young Leadership programme this year.  Last Friday, 73 people from six dioceses travelled to London for their last session, to celebrate everything they’ve achieved over the past year.  Thank you so much to all the students from our diocese including St Joseph’s College in Reading, Farnborough Hill, Oaklands in Waterlooville, St Anne’s in Southampton, Salesians College in Farnborough and Christ the King College on the Isle of Wight.  You’ve been amazing!

During the course of the year over 70 Year 12 students in our diocese have learnt about CAFOD’s vision, mission and values, explored different issues of social justice and received leadership training in skills such as communication, planning and project management.

In between the training sessions they’ve been putting their knowledge and skills into practice by organising fundraising activities, taking campaigning actions, delivering assemblies and leading others to learn about CAFOD’s work.

The young leaders who were able to make it on Friday calculated that they had collectively reached out to almost 40,000 people through their volunteering, which is a fantastic achievement!

CAFOD Director, Chris Bain, presented the young leaders with their certificates and addressed them, “Your generation is the one that can make change.”

We try to log everything the young leaders do and they’ve carried out some great activities this year including organising special events to mark World AIDS Day and Fast Day appeals, holding a basketball tournament, visiting neighbouring primary schools to give assemblies, raising awareness of global justice issues throughout their own school  through assemblies and form tutor time, organising a whole raft of activities throughout Lent, organising a swimathon, speaking at Mass, visiting Parliament, writing blogs and using social media to spread the word!  Wow!

As well as reflecting on their volunteering experience, on Friday the young leaders looked at ways they can stay involved after their ‘graduation’, and how they can continue to make an impact in their communities, in solidarity with the communities we work with around the world.

The group looked at CAFOD’s campaigning work and explored our current refugee campaign, hearing stories of refugees from Lebanon and planning how they can respond to the Refugee crisis in Europe with their school communities. The young leaders also ‘Brightened up’ over lunchtime, dressing in neon coloured wigs, sunglasses, feather boas and thinking up creative ways to get others involved in the Brighten up theme for Harvest Fast Day in a couple of months time.

It was a great day of celebration of all that the young leaders have achieved over the past year, and all the time, energy and effort they’ve given to support CAFOD’s work. It’s always inspiring to see young people passionate about working towards a fairer world, and Friday was a real example of this.

Thank you so much to all the young people who’ve journeyed with us this past year and our special thanks to all their teachers and staff who have supported them. We really appreciate all your help.  Already looking forward to next year!

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