These words were written by a teenager at an interactive prayer space called Sanctum. Reading what this young person wrote makes me so, so sad but there is also the glimmer of hope that they could be happy one day.
Sanctum is set up in a school for a week giving students an opportunity to think about their lives through a whole variety of creative and reflective activities. Students visit as part of an RE lesson or at break or lunchtime.
It is a rare thing to have space to think about and to consider life. Sanctum is valued by the schools of Colchester who invite CYO to set up and facilitate this prayer space. Young people today need hope and Sanctum gives them the opportunity to consider where it may be found. When asked about her experience of Sanctum, Sophie (a Year 9 student) said, “It has been good to clear my head and remind me of what’s important.”
CYO also runs Beloved, a six week course that helps Year 9 girls grow in confidence and self esteem. Each week the course addresses key topics using discussion, videos and activities. Topics include “Being a Girl”, “Beauty and the Media” and “Relationships”.
Beloved challenges the idea that beauty is based on your dress size and your value relies on how you look. The course encourages all girls to know they are valued and to believe that there is nothing holding them back from achieving awesome things!
The CYO website says, ‘With the rising number of cosmetic surgery procedures, eating disorders and self harm, we want girls to know that they are amazing just as they are. We believe that they each have a purpose in this world that relies on them being themselves.’
CYO also offers chaplaincy to schools and one of our chaplains recently received this card from a student. ‘I appreciate you being there for me’ and ‘you helped me gain self confidence’ are some of the comments written inside.
I am a trustee of CYO and you can find out more about this excellent organization and on the website. CYO is a gift from the Church to the local schools and its work is only possible through the generosity of individual Christians and churches. Could you give a little to help support young people in our society?:
£12 – gives a young person two weeks of one to one support from one of our chaplains.£25 – pays for 30 students to take part in Sanctum£35 – pays for one girl to do the Beloved course.
This Saturday I am taking part in a walk with the CYO team. We will be walking to all of the 11 secondary schools in Colchester plus the Sixth Form College, a total of about 16 miles. We’re hoping to meet up with lots of people at each school to pray for the students, staff and local community. You can keep up to date with how our walk is progressing on Saturday using facebook or twitter. If you would like to, you can also sponsor me by clicking here, what you give to CYO really does help to change lives. The card I mentioned a moment ago said ‘I appreciate you being there for me’ and I want to extend those words of thanks to all the supporters of CYO and similar charities. Without your support, none of this could happen and this student may not have been helped.
Thank you for what you give, it really is making a difference to many young people.