Here are some examples of individuals, groups and parishes creating change in their local communities, putting the values of CST into action.
Million Minutes celebrates young people and gives grants to support them to change their lives and their world. Money raised through siLENT sponsorship goes directly to youth social action projects across the country, which are inspired by our Catholic social teaching principles. All the projects that we support enable ordinary young people to change their life and their world.
In March 2019 siLENT money supported a project for young people from a special needs school in Manchester. The young people are creating an allotment - which in itself a great thing - but the fruit and vegetables they grow will be shared with local refugees and asylum seekers, who are seeking safety in the area. By joining Million Minutes of Change and staying siLENT alongside your community, you’ll also be supporting projects like this.
The Celebrating Young People Awards
Aaron Omotosho received the Pope Francis Award at the 2017 Celebrating Young People Awards. His school chaplain Emma nominated him due to his tireless dedication in his local Moston community. Where Aaron founded and continues to run a project called Help Manchester, the project aims to encourage young people in the area to support day centres who feed and shelter homeless people each day. In College, Aaron promoted this work through assembly presentations and with others’ help delivered these to his peers with good response.
Aaron also set up a computing project, Console Code, in affiliation with the organisation Contact, for underprivileged young people in North Manchester. To do this, Aaron had to pitch his idea to a panel of judges who decided it was worthy of funding. On inspiring other young people with his story Aaron said “My advice to the young people of today is to be practical. It’s all well and good to discuss things, but sometimes it needs a hands-on approach. It doesn’t have to be anything big or major. The smallest things can make a difference. One of the main features of Help Manchester was just to start by doing things, not just talk about it. We had met these people in need. We knew what we had to do, we just had to get on with it. There is a time for discussing strategy … but sometimes people need help now that can’t be helped later. There is no better time than the present. Our actions always speaker louder than words.”
Aaron’s passions have now seen him attend Oxford to study Computer Science.
One of Million Minutes’ projects is ‘Courtyard’. Courtyard supports parishes to reach out to young people in their local communities, especially those who are socially excluded or at risk of ‘falling through the gaps’ in society. This extract is from a detached session on the streets of London, by one of our Courtyard Volunteers:
“One bitterly cold evening, exactly a week before Christmas, three of us were out on a detached session in Wood Green. We weren’t expecting much, what with the temperature plummeting, and darkness falling. As we walked past a bakery we often visit, a young man standing outside called out abruptly “What’s that?!”. “What’s what?” we replied, trying to judge the situation and inviting him to chat to us more. The young man was asking about our lanyards and badges, and then about what we were doing. Our conversation with him became a really positive one. We told him that we were youth workers on a detached session, reaching out to young people in the community. We also explained that one thing we offer is to help them find a safe space and to respond to their needs and ideas. Next he told us…“what you’re doing is really good…keep doing it because young people need looking out for, especially by guys like you”. After our conversation, my mood elevated to a level where I could not contain my delight. I said to the rest of the team that it was the first time a young person had taken the initiative and engaged with us first. It made me realise that young people are willing to speak to us, even though it may not seem so at first.”