A dedicated group of 18-26-year-old students have signed up for a year of service with CAFOD to work with children and young people to raise awareness around global issues and the climate crisis.
The Step into the Gap programme helps young people aged 18-30 to develop leadership skills through a one-year placement in the UK starting in September 2021.
Among other activities, the volunteers will be working with youth organisations to promote Eyes of the World - a national youth-led campaign that uses creative 'eye' displays to urge UK and world leaders to support the world's vulnerable communities affected by the climate crisis, at the climate conference COP26 in November.
"This year is such a vital year for the world in order to respond to the climate emergency we're facing, and we know that its impacting those we work with around the world hardest. By volunteering with us this year, the volunteers have an opportunity to get involved first-hand and to know that their actions are bringing about change" explains Julia Corcoran from CAFOD's young leadership team.
CAFOD's Step into the Gap volunteers include:
Richard Keane, a 25-year-old History graduate from Newcastle Under Lime: "The programme is a terrific opportunity to use my faith to help others, and to make a difference in the world, particularly concerning climate change- I hope to spread awareness and show there is a brighter future ahead.
Sofie Pereira, an 18-year-old Arts student from Colchester: "Step into the Gap is a wonderful opportunity to educate myself on the global issues around the world and fight for global justice, it's a great way to make a real impact. I believe being part of CAFOD is a great way to continue to use my faith for the better and a good stepping-stone for my journey into primary education."
Shawn Kwan, a 25-year-old Ceramics graduate from Warlingham: "I applied for Step into the Gap to challenge myself by stepping out of my comfort zone. It is a fantastic opportunity to meet new people, garner new skills and rediscover my faith in God."
Declan O'Brien, a 26-year-old chemistry graduate from Stockport: "Pope Francis' approach to society and environmental stewardship really inspires me. Step into the Gap will give me an excellent opportunity to make a lasting and positive difference."
Bethany Bowe, a 22-year-old education and world religions graduate from Cleator: I have always been interested in working with an organisation like CAFOD, and doing all that I can to help others around me- and I have seen what amazing things CAFOD has done to help improve the lives of people from all over the world. The Step into the Gap programme is a notable example of how we can each make a change when we work together- and believe the programme will also help me in the development of my faith."
Lorely Shelton, a 19-year-old gap year volunteer, from Long Eaton: "I have always been aware of the work that CAFOD, and its partners do, and I knew that I wanted to be involved with the charity as much as possible. I am constantly being inspired by the young people I have the pleasure of working with. We often see the youngest members of our society as insignificant or naive, but they are our future."
Rhiannon Kennedy, 18 years old from Leicester: "I applied for Step into the Gap because I wanted to deepen my own faith while sharing it with others. Step into the Gap is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain experience working with young people and I want to learn more about the work CAFOD does and help out in any way I can. I know it's a cliché, but my family inspires me. My mum faces every challenge head on and always finds a way to keep smiling. She is doing her PhD alongside teaching, yet always finds plenty of time for family and for God. Her dedication, perseverance and resilience, inspires me to be a stronger person."
Emma Parlane, 22-year-old chemistry graduate from Penkridge: "I applied for Step into the Gap as I want to make a difference in the world, and it is a great opportunity to make a real impact by raising awareness of global justice and CAFOD's work."
CAFOD's Step into the Gap programme aims to inspire young adults to advocate for vulnerable and marginalised communities, as well as encouraging others to do the same.
For more information on Step into the Gap click here: Step into the Gap - Volunteer for your gap year | CAFOD