Leo and Jane Conley have been married for 38 years and 5 years ago they retired. They wanted to find a purposeful activity they could share which utilised their skills. After meeting with a CAFOD representative by chance, Leo and Jane decided that volunteering in schools running workshops and assemblies would be perfect.
Since 2016, the duo have been on more than 130 visits to schools in and around Bolton, inspiring numerous young minds!! But the benefits go two ways – Leo and Jane feel that they learn from the children and young people they meet.
Jane said: “We love going into schools. Children in primary schools have a natural inclination for good; to be kind and to help. In secondary schools, students like the fact that they can hear a positive message. They are so overwhelmed by negative news that somebody coming in and giving them a way to act positively shows them that they can make a change and that progress is being made.
“Once you go into retirement, it’s lovely to find something that you can do together that’s worthwhile and different, setting new challenges for you as a couple. For a lot of people, retirement can mean that you find yourself thrown together so it’s useful if you can find something that you can do together… something that’s new to you both.”
Leo added: “We have every admiration for everyone who volunteers by themselves… We couldn’t do it without the other, even though I do get in trouble for stepping on Jane’s lines!”
This is a beautiful and emotional story. It is so inspiring, Leo and Jane’s contribution to CAFOD is fantastic – what a fulfilling way to spend your retirement! We have a brilliant team of solo volunteers and married couples in the area who visit schools and offer such a valuable input to local young people on how their efforts can help communities overseas, if you are interested in being part of this big family follow the link.
As part of their Hope in the Future programme, launched by the Diocese of Salford, and Child Wellbeing Week, St Joseph’s RC Primary in Ramsbottom held a Refugee Day before the October half-term break.
The aim of their day was to bring hope to the families who have been displaced from their homes and jobs, forced to leave their countries and live in refugee camps. During the day they raised money for CAFOD who provide support and resources to improve the lives of refugees around the world.
Children were asked to wear their own clothes for a donation of £1.00 as part of a non-uniform day. During the morning break there was also a cake sale, where pupils and staff were able to purchase delicious cakes for only 20p each. As a result of these great fundraising efforts the school will be purchasing some CAFOD World Gifts which will help improve the lives of refugees. Continue reading
More exciting and encouraging news this week! Students from St Ambrose Barlow and All Hallows RC High Schools marked the launch of their year-long support of the Share the Journey campaign by walking 3 miles each to address the Bishop of Salford, John Arnold.
The schools’ support of the campaign is being led by the parish of St. Charles Borromeo, Swinton, under the Parish Priest Fr. Paul Smith, and the whole school will be getting involved: the art department creating an exhibition on loving your neighbours, and P.E. logging the miles they clock up during classes.
When addressing the Bishop, Martin, a student from St Ambrose Barlow, said: “We have come here to Wardley Hall in an act of solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world who are refugees or migrants; currently displaced.
“We have walked here because Pope Francis has invited us to Share the Journey so that we would feel compassion for those who have had to flee oppression and war.
“We are here to make a difference. We believe that by walking through the streets of Salford people will see our witness and be inspired to be change-makers; being a voice for refugees.”
From CAFOD in Salford we want to say a massive thank you!! These young people are amazing on how they are showing their support for this campaign. Over the next year, the schools will come together and show local leaders that protecting refugees and migrants is an important issue to their communities.
Share the Journey keeps delivering a powerful message to world leaders that we want new global agreements that ensure refugees and migrants can live fairly and with dignity.