National Volunteer Week : Planting seeds in young hearts

This week is National Volunteer Week, and we’re celebrating the amazing and varied work of our CAFOD Volunteers by sharing their stories with you.

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We begin with CAFOD Education Volunteers and John Vine, who visits Primary Schools on behalf of CAFOD, tells us what inspired him to volunteer.

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John Vine, CAFOD Education Volunteer

When I was a child, missionary priests used to visit our school from time to time to show us pictures of the children they worked with in Africa, who always looked happy but obviously poor. Ever since then I have had a feeling of compassion for those overseas who don’t have as much as me. So, when CAFOD started up it seemed natural for me to support it financially.

In 2000 I retired and wanted to keep myself active so I decided to get more involved in CAFOD.  At first I signed up to be a Parish Contact and MP Correspondent but a few years later I heard that CAFOD were looking for School Volunteers. I was wary, as I had worked for Inland Revenue and had no experience of teaching but my wife encouraged me, pointing out how well I got on with our grandchildren, so I decided to give it a go!

I went for training at CAFOD and then it was time for my first school visit. My main worry was that the teachers would realise my lack of experience but actually they were just as eager to learn about CAFOD as the children.

I love being with young children who are so willing to learn and so willing to
participate. I feel I am planting a seed, just like meeting those missionaries did for me.

The ethos of Catholic schools means that they want to encourage the children to do something positive and CAFOD gives them an opportunity to do this. And it’s not just about raising money – children can pray, find out more about their global family, do their bit to save the planet for instance by joining a walking bus, and take part in campaigns. Many children show such an amazing commitment to justice and I think the younger we can make them aware, the better.

Feeling inspired? Find out more about volunteering with CAFOD>>

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