There’s only 8 days left until the deadline of the Step Into the Gap programme. If you’re 18 – 30 and fancy a year out focused around youth work at home and charity work abroad then why not apply and have a life changing experience. Joe Dennison is a local lad who’s coming to the end of his year on the programme. Here are some of his thoughts and experiences.
Hi my name is Joseph Dennison and I was lucky enough to be part of the CAFOD Step in to the Gap team this year.
I was based in Newcastle and Hexham Diocese working with the Youth Ministry Team or YMT for short. Living and working at the ‘Youth Village’, the Diocesan residential centre, where we work with young people from the ages of 8 to 18. I was also lucky enough to get to take part in four high school missions, where the team go in to a school for a week and work with every student from years 7-11 and 6th form.
All this is done while also living in community with the rest of the team. I have been lucky enough to be able to work and live with people who have now become my friends.
As part of ‘Step Into the Gap’ we also got the chance go on an overseas trip to see just how the money raised by CAFOD is used within the countries that they work. I was fortunate to go and spend a month in Sierra Leone, Western Africa.
The month in Sierra Leone was a truly amazing experience and one that will stay with me for the rest of my life. To be able to actually see firsthand the difference that CAFOD and its partners make in the lives of the people they help and to see the very simple but effective ways that they do this was inspiring. It was also a very humbling experience to get to meet and talk with the local people about their lives and the struggles they faced each day.
After a month of meeting the locals and being able to truly experience their way of life and the culture that they live in, the overwhelming feeling from my time was one of great hope. The people of Sierra Leone are extremely and forever grateful for the help they have been given but they also have a great desire to be able to help themselves and they are working hard to ensure that this happens.
The opportunity that CAFOD and YMT has given me has been a hard one, but a life changing one and this will be a year that I will never forget and I would advise anyone who is thinking about taking on the great challenge to grab it with both hands and GO FOR IT!!!