Ann Hayes, CAFOD’s representative in Liverpool Archdiocese, reflects upon CAFOD’s work with schools to learn more about the Olympics.
I’m a really big fan of the Olympic Games. I love the drama of it all, the inspiration of the athletes, celebrating sporting successes. It doesn’t really matter what sport it is, the Olympics always get me excited about sport. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way and it’s been great to be able to encourage the children and young people in our schools to get excited about the Olympic Games too.
Across the diocese volunteers have been visiting schools to share CAFOD’s stories from Brazil and explore the importance of sport and games in peacebuilding, in the build up to the Olympics.
And there’s an important reason to be excited about the Olympics. CAFOD knows that sport can change lives. In our volunteers’ visits children heard from Andreia, who lives in North East Brazil. Street violence means young people like Andreia often cannot play outside and are stuck at home. CAFOD’s partner offers football workshops so that young people have a safe place to play and can develop friendships and skills such as teamwork.
I was delighted to be able to share this story with the pupils of St Mary’s Preparatory School. We thought about the importance of teamwork in sport and how we can build peace in our own communities. Through having a go at some different games, the children decided that it was much easier to work together than on your own, and helping others from your team was really important. Year Three and Four discovered that some of the tactics we use in sports can be used in other situations too. They saw teamwork on the pitch could help build peace in communities too.
We had a great morning at St Mary’s learning all about the importance of sport in CAFOD’s work, and I know lots of volunteers have been sharing this story in schools throughout the Archdiocese.
So when I sit down to watch the opening ceremony very late this evening, I’ll be remembering that the Olympic games are not just about the elite athletes in the stadium, but about people throughout Brazil, our pupils here in Liverpool Archdiocese, and many throughout the world, for whom sport can make a real difference in their lives.