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Newsletter - Autumn/Winter 2014

Assumption Volunteers England

Welcome to our new volunteers

 

In 16 years 106 volunteers have served with the Assumption Volunteer Programme in 13 countries (52 in the UK, 54 overseas). Each year brings new people, varied skills, fresh energies and in the exchange of gifts growth and new directions in life. 
 
In August this year we welcomed 8 Assumption Volunteers to our inter-national orientation course, from England, Hungary, Philippines, Ukraine and the USA. We built on the experience of the previous LVMN courses with new material from Salesian training and an emphasis on changing culture as well as going from UK to overseas. There was great community building with games and shared cooking and we ended with a barbecue and a liturgy of missioning. 
 
Now Caitlin from the USA has joined Sheila in the Pendower Good Neighbour Project and Janos from Hungary and Dmytro and Alex from the Ukraine have joined Igor in Walker. Rebecca has returned to Lithuania and Neal has gone to the Philippines where he is assigned in a special school in Iloilo. Three volunteers write for this newsletter.
 
We look forward to another challenging and exciting year for everyone. 
 

YES to everything... 

Neal Gilbride spent a month in Sierra Leone last year with the CAFOD Step into the Gap programme. This kindled his desire to serve for a longer period and he now finds himself with AMA in the Philippines :
 
My first 2 months in Iloilo, Philippines, have been amazing. I really feel I have settled into my community and work placement and have enjoyed every day since arriving in this alien place. I feel so lucky to be able to spend a year in this beautiful but very hot country and it still feels like I’m dreaming.
I have experienced so much Filipino culture at this point it is hard to take it all in and I still feel I am in my honeymoon phase... but that could last a year, fingers crossed. From my daily commute in a jeepney scrunched up with my knees by my shoulders, socialising with teachers and the Community of Reconciliation (who I live with) to singing my heart out at karaoke I’m trying to say YES ! to everything.
One of my many favourite moments so far .... read more

Camping in October...

Igor came from the Ukraine last year and he found volunteering in Newcastle so fulfilling he is back for a second year. He writes :
 

We have just got back from an unbelievable trip to Rupert’s Wood, where we’ve stayed overnight with the children. First of all I want to point out that some of the kids we had on this trip were considered in the past problematic ones. But their behaviour was absolutely brilliant, without exaggeration. Secondly I enjoyed every minute I’ve spent over there, despite drizzly weather, especially - food cooked on the fire, the games such as "Capture the flag", "Lighten games" - despite we played at night, hot chocolate, swing jumping over the river, sleeping in the tents, night wind, toast with ash... To sum up - I love camping trips very much. Thanks to Kids Kabin Walker and to the Assumption Sisters for this amazing opportunity to be here for a second year and contribute something to local society.
 
Kids Kabin and Pendower Good Neighbour Project have facebook pages. Check them out for the latest news. You can also find us on facebook under Assumption Volunteers. Please like our page to get updates.

Never would I have imagined.... 

Caitlin Goodhile recently graduated from Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, and is serving for one year with Sheila Peruelo in the Pendower Good Neighbour Project in Newcastle ; she reflects on her first 3 months :
 
Two months ago I arrived in Newcastle with all the optimism and excitement one can have when starting a year long journey. Although I could not be happier to be here, and I know this is where I’m supposed to be, I find myself missing home and America a little more than I thought I would. It’s little things that I’ve come to realize I have taken for granted. A perfect example of this ? I had never taken a bus in a city prior coming to London or Newcastle. I have always had the luxury of either driving myself somewhere or having someone else drive. There’s planning involved ; what time does the bus come ? What number bus do you have to take ? Do we have to switch at any point ? The only thing I knew about riding a bus was from what I had seen on TV and movies… it was embarrassing. Now, I really enjoy taking the bus somewhere. It also allows for people-watching, one of my favorite hobbies.
I can already feel myself learning not only about Newcastle and this amazing new community I am a part of, but also about myself... Read more...

Welcome to Fleur...

Hi ! I’m Fleur and I’ve recently been appointed as the new JPIC Education Co-ordinator for the Religious of the Assumption. JPIC stands for justice, peace and the integrity of creation and my remit is to focus on issues such as climate change and the environment, human trafficking, peace-building, conflict resolution and inter-faith dialogue ; and to offer a voice and campaigning position that is rooted in Catholic Social Teaching. A voice that challenges the status quo so that more people will be able to live fairly and with dignity across the world. 
 
I’m based at Milleret House in Kensington, London but am happy to travel anywhere to see you and find out all about your exciting volunteering journey. Together we can help make the world a better place for many more people. Email her : jpic@assumptionreligious.org
 
The Assumption family also have a Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation newsletter with articles from around the world...

Opportunities...

Our volunteering opportunities are for people over 20 who can risk a year’s journey into the unknown and who are open to receiving more than they can imagine. There are 10 subsidised placements – applications accepted from now until the end of May. 
 
Opportunities with Assumption Volunteers for 2015-16
India – 2 kindergarten/primary teachers in rural Kerala (Sister Isabel will spend 3 months there early 2015 so we look forward to her experience in the next newsletter.)
Philippines – serving in educational or social projects along with Filipino volunteers in the AMA community
Lithuania – assisting the English teachers in school and living with the sisters and Samaritan community of students and young professionals
Newcastle – Kids Kabin and Wor Hoose in Walker and Pendower Good Neighbour Project in Benwell - community development through creative arts
 
Justice and peace events coming up

Advent can easily be squeezed out with the stress of shopping, parties, concerts and other events. We can find ourselves half-celebrating Christmas over and over again long before the day arrives. We have become intolerant of waiting ; we want every-thing now and we quickly lose patience with ourselves and with the people we live and work with because we are not perfect. None of us can say we’ve “arrived” ; we are all still on the way. Let’s slow down and appreciate each day the small achievements of the children, our friends, family and ourselves, the gifts of now : the present moment. 
 
Helen Granger
Co-ordinator 
 
Assumption Volunteers, 23 Kensington Square, London W8 5HN 
Email : vc@assumptionvolunteers.org.uk
Phone : 02073614752

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