Joanna Brown is volunteering with CAFOD as part of her gap year before starting university in Autumn 2016. Jo writes about how she got involved with CAFOD and how much she is enjoying being part of the team.
Well, where shall I start? It was one crisp evening and I was attending a careers fair at my 6th form school, just to browse around and have a look at the many volunteer and job opportunities that were on offer there. I strolled around admiring all of the stalls, but then I saw one stall that never came across my mind, ‘CAFOD’. I decided to speak to Eileen and a current 6th form student about the charity in more detail and gradually became more and more interested in the volunteer projects and the organisation as a whole. I decided to take Eileen’s email so I could get in contact with the charity, to see if I could get involved with its work during and after the summer. Once the exam season had ended, phew, I visited Eileen for a short interview, about possible volunteering prospects.
I decided that I wanted to help volunteer at a scoot for schools project that took place during the summer holidays. It was a fantastic, energetic day, where we created a scoot race track, with various obstacles that made it that little more competitive. Everyone was satisfied with the results, especially as we raised money and awareness of CAFOD, but also at the same time, everyone enjoyed themselves. I thought to myself, I really want to get involved more in this type of work, especially as I have a passion for the environment, which CAFOD has put a big emphasis on this year.
I began to work with the CAFOD Southwark office in September, to help out with administration and some office work. Every week I look forward to different tasks that may arise, from sorting out letters and files to writing draft blogs and posters for the charity. I cannot put into words how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with such a great charity and team of people.
I remember being interested in attending the Paris climate summit and the climate march in London of which, both took place in the year 2015. All of these vibrant events taking place throughout the year, are of pronounced interest to me and so gives me the chance to immerse myself in the world of CAFOD. But, when working for CAFOD, one realises that it is the small things that make such a big difference. If I just take the example of decorating the office for the festive season or going out for a Christmas dinner at the carvery with other volunteers, it gives people the chance to share their experiences and to feel part of an aspiring community.