Angela Pavitt is a schools volunteer in the Brentwood Diocese who has been visiting schools for almost a year. Here she reflects on her first year and describes why she thinks it is important for children and young people in schools to hear about CAFOD’s work.
What is your background and why did you decide to become a schools volunteer for CAFOD?
I was a primary school teacher and therefore familiar with the school environment, although you don’t need to have that classroom experience to be a schools volunteer. There was an advert in our parish newsletter requesting volunteers and it coincided with the death of a close friend, who had worked in Africa most of his priestly life, so I decided to apply to be a volunteer in his memory.
What are the things you enjoy about the role?
I really enjoy going into different schools and engaging with staff and children. I have always been warmly welcomed and there are usually very helpful Year 6 pupils on hand to ensure the technology works!
I hope to be doing workshops in schools next year and look forward to this different type of engagement with schools.
As I’ve become more familiar with the work of CAFOD, I’m completely committed to its ethos and working practice. I subscribe to CAFOD’s staying power in countries where change takes time but gradually becomes effective. Their advertising is positive.
What do you think are the challenging parts of the role?
Using the technology would be my greatest challenge! I have only presented assemblies so far and the challenging part for me is learning the script well enough so as not to need it for the presentation. It can take quite a time to be fully up to speed with the script content.
I feel it is important to move away from behind a script to be closer to the children and so help them to gain more information about CAFOD’s work worldwide. The children are usually ready to participate in any interactive opportunity and it really holds their attention if they are asked to recall information.
Why do you think it is important for CAFOD to be doing this work in the schools?
I believe it is essential for children to be aware of others who live in poverty because they can make a difference through fundraising, prayer and spreading awareness of the work of CAFOD and will also know how they experience the gifts they enjoy in their lives.
What advice would you give to anyone considering volunteering in schools on behalf of CAFOD?
Being a schools volunteer for CAFOD is a positive experience.
I would say that learning the script or background to the presentation is essential and engaging with the children is productive because they want to show what they know or have learned from the presentation.
Preparation is key to a successful visit. Schools are busy places so it’s important to arrive with time to set up and then leave promptly.
Find out more
Are you interested in being a schools volunteer on behalf of CAFOD? Contact your local volunteer centre in Brentwood at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01277 218730 for more information.