Source: Diocese of Salford
On Wednesday 12th August, we celebrate International Youth Day. Pope Francis once spoke directly to young people: "Dear young people, do not bury your talents, the gifts that God has given you. Do not be afraid to dream of great things."
In Catholic schools and youth groups around the diocese of Salford, young people have been doing just this: dreaming of great things and showing the power that young people can have on our wider communities.
Below are just three examples of young people whose big ideas are making waves and changing lives as we move through the coronavirus pandemic.
Committed Students' 8,000 Hours Make the World a Brighter Place
The Coronavirus lockdown has been an interesting time for us all and an especially exhausting time for schools and their students. St Joseph's RC High School in Horwich, Bolton, has shown a great spirit of resilience and ability to push forward despite these difficult times and were delighted to receive the "Teach Well School Gold Award: Corona Virus Pandemic" award.
It was encouraging to celebrate St Joseph's young people along with other Bolton schools as young people across Bolton had volunteered a total of 7917 hours in community service as part of their Duke of Edinburgh's award. The young people also took part in the Caritas "Sleep-in" on the 10th July. This was a great opportunity to raise money for and remember those who are homeless during this time.
St. Joseph's Headteacher Tony McCabe commented: "In a world where young people often get bad press it is so encouraging to hear them talk about their passion to promote human rights, gender and race equality and recognise our responsibility as global citizens. The Coronavirus pandemic shows how quickly a destructive force can rip through global communities.
"Our work as part of the UNESCO schools network now allows us to join forces with other positive agents across the world so that our work at a local level living, out our mission to 'value, nurture and respect' everyone can have a positive global impact."
Sadie Scoops National Award for Kindness
A young person attending Saint John Vianney SEND school was recently commended for her efforts by a national charity for their work in promoting the common good in our local community.Twelve-year-old Sadie Gandy from St John Vianney SEND school has been assisting her local COVID-19 group, while her school has been in partial closure. Sadie has played a key role in the group by delivering kindness packs to those in her community (specifically adults and young families) who are struggling at this time. The packs include quizzes, baking recipes and relaxation items, the hope is that these items will help people take their mind of things even for a short while.
Mrs Garfin who nominated Sadie and is leader of the schools chaplaincy / CARITAS team, said: "I am so proud of Sadie in such a difficult time she has found a way to help and support others.
"Sadie is a kind and helpful individual. She joined our chaplaincy team to help others. Sadie has at times had many challenges and this recognition for her work has meant the world of difference to her."
Sadie received the Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati award for her efforts from national Catholic youth charity, Million Minutes.
Ramsbottom YCW Group provide Cheer and Friendship through Lockdown
Lockdown hasn't stopped the YCW Impact Group at St Joseph's in Ramsbottom from reaching out and connecting with those in need of a friendly hello.As the country became locked down, the Impact group received a donation from TK Maxx of boxes of chocolates, tea, pasta and biscuits.
Members of the group - nine young people aged between 12 and 17 - decided to make up care packages which were affectionately known as 'Little Bags of Cheer'. These were delivered to the parish's elderly community to bring them a smile as they faced the isolation which impacted us all.
As well as this, over 100 'Keeping in Touch' cards were sent to older members of the parish community and some older members of the parish have been receiving weekly phone calls from members of the Impact group which have been described by recipients as a 'lifeline'.
Parish priest Fr Frank has been receiving calls from the parishioners who received the kind gifts and note cards saying how pleased they are and that the contact has repeatedly made their day.
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