Steve Deadman our Parish Volunteer Coordinator for the Southampton area and a school volunteer shares what inspired him to become a CAFOD volunteer ….
“Five years ago, I was in the fortunate position of coming up to retirement. I wanted my retirement years to be active and useful, especially in terms of living and expressing my faith more fully in daily life. A school, where I am a Governor, has the mission statement that “We follow the loving example of Jesus.” This is my aim and, following Jesus, my focus must be especially for the poor, sick and marginalised of our world. Therefore, I began to research locally and further afield into possibilities of work and activities that might action these aims.
For many years I had known through parishes and schools of the general work of CAFOD in England and Wales and abroad. For over 30 years I had also run Youth Clubs and other events for young people and the Portsmouth Diocesan Manager, Lynda Mussel, had been to a few of our youth events and she had led very interesting and successful workshops.
The Holy Spirit decided to have an advert for a CAFOD Education Volunteer to be put into our parish newsletter. I saw this and decided to reply in order to find out more and discern if this could be part of the retirement work the Holy Spirit wanted me to do. Having done an application, I studied the CAFOD website and was surprised but excited to see the range of work that CAFOD is engaged in, the different types of volunteering and especially the philosophy and values of the organization. The values such as Dignity, solidarity, partnership, and sustainability were very much what I was looking for in terms of any engagement I might make.
Following this, I underwent the training days in London and decided to initially become an Education Volunteer as through this I could use my teaching and youth work skills and experience, and the workshops for schools were particularly attractive to me as they were well prepared tools for learning. They are relevant, to our world today, especially for developing countries and for global issues such as refugees. The workshops are done in an interactive, practical way very suitable to young people of the ‘20s’. Moreover, I very much value the practice and commitment to prayer which underpins all CAFOD’s meetings, events, and activities. Again, following Jesus, prayer and active relationships were key to His mission and to CAFOD’s.
So, to action! By this time, Lynda had moved on and I began to work with Jo Lewry, our new Diocesan Community Participation Coordinator. Over the past, 4 years, I have worked in 11 primary and secondary schools, with workshops and assemblies, supported Sixth Form Youth Leader training days, helped to co-ordinate parish volunteers in the Southampton area. I have always found it so encouraging that the quality materials are so well prepared and received by very welcoming school staffs, who do some amazing teaching of the issues as well as terrific fundraising, and students who are open to learn, share ideas and experiences and come up with some very thoughtful and imaginative ideas and possible solutions to situations and problems. In the thick of all this, CAFOD staff and volunteers are amazingly gifted, generous, and loving people – an example to us all and wonderful to be sharing with.
This gives me great hope and encouragement for the future of our society and our relationships with the developing countries. This can be seen especially in relation to the environment and the problems of Climate Change, in which CAFOD is giving a strong lead with information and campaigning in the UK and abroad. Even in our COVID19 lockdown, the webinars with other countries and the prayer and masses have extremely useful and supportive.
Christine Allen and the leadership team have now launched a new strategy, building on ‘Just One World’ and, as this unfolds, the next few years should be even more productive and effective in CAFOD’s work in UK and the world. I can thank God for the call and inspiration to be a part of something which is making a difference in our world and makes my retirement a joy!”
Many thanks Steve for volunteering for CAFOD not just as a school volunteer, but also a parish volunteer and the Parish Volunteer Coordinator for Southampton !
If you have been inspired to volunteer for CAFOD then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org