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"Even the lives of our young people get pressured and squeezed. Soul Space does something remarkable: it claims that space and offers a place to breathe some healthy spiritual air. The responses from young people demonstrate what can happen when we allow a little bit of God space into crowded lives. It's a precious gift!"Revd. Simon Ward (Chaplain to the Lord Bishop of Norwich)

’Always encourage staff to share the impact of Anam Cara.’

Anam Cara is CYO Braintree’s name for prayer spaces, they’ve been taking  Anam Cara into schools for a few years. Here’s one of their latest stories and how Anam Cara has affected and developed their work in schools.

Matt writes: 'We had the privilege of taking Anam Cara (prayer space) to a local secondary school recently.  The week itself was rammed with lessons so it was great that the school were able to utilise Anam Cara so effectively.  As this was the 5th time for us running Anam Cara, we were more organised and made time to focus on how students were feeling before and after the experience. Anam Cara made a positive impact on a number of students over the course of the week, and it also led to some being able to talk through issues with staff which arose during the sessions.  

So, what of Anam Cara's legacy in the school?  

So far, it has opened up doors for us to deliver weekly mentoring sessions with a number of students; we have also been into the school on several occasions to run RE Lessons on Christianity.  I have also been on a two-day trip to Belgium with the school which, for us, shows how highly they regard CYO.  And, we have just launched a weekly lunch club at the school.  

Anam Cara is more than just an OfSted box tick. It is more than just an opportunity to show our supporter that we really are busy(!).  It is a fresh opportunity to show how valuable Christian input can be in a school, while also showing that organisations can do it without pushing bibles onto others!!

Funniest story?

We had a teaching assistant sniffling in the room, during a small class of students we had been warned would not engage due to their behaviour.  When we asked her what was the matter, she explained that this was the first time she had seen the students getting on and working together.  She then absented herself to find senior teachers to invite them to see it.  Bursting into a senior staff meeting, sobbing, she said "You've got to see what CYO are doing in the library!".  Fearing we were going for 'Proselytizing Charity Of The Year Award' they rushed to the library...they then understood what she meant, and enjoyed spending the rest of the lesson with us!  Two things learnt from this: 1. always encourage staff to share the impact of Anam Cara with other staff as soon as possible.  2. Don't put students in a box.  They will misbehave if you brand them as such and will have low esteem if you help them lower it...but they will bless you with surprises if you give them room!'

Matt Ager, Director of CYO Braintree

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Posted on 6th February 2018

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