Maureen Birkett has been a CAFOD primary schools volunteer for over 12 years and she shares with us her recent new experience of making her first virtual schools visit this term.
Well I’ve finally done it! After months of listening to the distant talk of ‘virtual visits’ I finally got the email:
“One of your schools has requested a virtual visit.”
Not wishing to be daunted by this I immediately took up the challenge and made, what was to be, my first mistake. I instantly bombarded the school for information and admitted I had not actually done one before. Communication suddenly went dead but I had learned my lesson.
In the event the school set up the Zoom invitation and shared screen to allow the PowerPoint to be shown and it was no different to joining all the other Zoom meetings we have become so accustomed to over the last year. There were a few glitches at the beginning from the school’s end but they sorted it out quickly and the assembly went ahead with each class of the children who were in school watching from their own classroom.
The advantages were that I could do it from my own sofa with no travelling and getting lost trying to find the school for once. Also it was slightly easier to concentrate on the script and be word perfect when not in front of a live audience. However it is not so easy to be interactive and each time I asked a question our contact had to ask a year group to unmute themselves to answer the question. She felt the children who were in school enjoyed it as it was something different from what they have been doing.
On balance I am looking forward to returning to in person visits to allow for better interaction with the children and staff, but virtual visits are a great way of maintaining contact when this is not possible.
Miriam is a CAFOD Campaign Volunteer Coordinator for the West side of the Diocese of Southwark. She has been talking part in CAFOD’s Lent Challenge to Walk for Water and she reflects on what inspired her and her experience of the challenge so far.
CAFOD’s challenge for Lent this year is “Walk for Water” – 10,000 steps a day, every day, for 40 days. One in three people around the world do not have access to safe drinking water. When I read about Abdella, I knew I had to do something. Hearing about the difference safe water made to Hagos’ life reinforced this. We were asked to think for a few seconds about Abdella’s walk: ten hours risking life and limb to collect something that you or I walk to the next room for. Well, this really struck me and I have decided to take up the challenge.