From A-Levels to Action: Finding Hope in Community

by Guest Contributor

Join Hannah on her transformative gap year journey from A-Levels to action, as a Faith in Action volunteer with the Columbans. Discover the power of small and big actions, the importance of community, and the hope found in diverse connections.

Hannah with Fr. Bernie, Mauricio, James, and Nathalie on St. Columban's day
Volunteer Hannah with Fr. Bernie, Mauricio, James, and Nathalie on St. Columban's day

Hi, I’m Hannah, the current Faith in Action volunteer for the Columbans. I’m currently partway through my gap year, having completed my A-Level studies last year, and I will be moving on to university to study Music in September.

For the past few years of my life – as a student – my day-to-day was consumed with study. Reflecting on this time, I remember a feeling of hopelessness among my friends and peers when topics such as the climate crisis came up. I think a lot of young people feel increasingly frustrated and disengaged with people in power – from my experience, many of us feel that there’s not much we can do. Many of us recognise the importance of these large-scale humanitarian issues, but I think there are fewer who feel called to take action – whether it is the aforementioned frustration with those in power, a lack of knowledge, or feeling powerless and isolated.

I have often shared these feelings. This was one of my motivations for joining the Columbans – I knew I wanted to take action, but with the volume of information out there (especially on social media) it felt quite overwhelming, and for many, it’s difficult to know where to start.

My time so far spent working closely with James Trewby and Mauricio Silva has been valuable, and I’ve met some amazing people along the way. I’ve learnt so much already, that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It has been a privilege to journey alongside people working and volunteering for several charities and organisations, who are doing incredible things (both locally and nationally).

Over the past few months, I’ve learnt the importance of both big and small actions – to quote Greta Thunberg, ‘I have learned you are never too small to make a difference.’ This has changed my perspective on a lot of these bigger issues – young people are influenced to hold a lot of power and make a big impact. Secondly, I’ve learnt the importance of community for action to be successful: finding like-minded people who care about the same issues, and whom you can take action alongside is empowering and gives me hope; I’ve learnt that it’s less bleak when you find your people. Significant change can’t happen alone, but equally, change doesn’t have to be big and scary! I am filled with gratitude and hope, through being supported and inspired by an incredible, diverse group of people from all walks of life. That leaves me with hope for the future.

Faith in Action Volunteer Programme

We're recruiting young adult volunteers to support Columban projects connected to refugees and asylum seekers. Send your enquiries here - or read more in the link below

Click here