Antoinette (Toni) Cole
I retired from work and was not looking forward to the days, months and years ahead. Then I got involved with Karios. What a joy it has been. I remember at one of our first meetings saying “We can learn from the children with disabilities in our parish – I would love to have their simplistic outlook on life.”
There are many incidents I could quote where those words have come true. I am still learning every day, to see and hear the joy and love that comes from the people we meet. It’s truly heart-warming and makes me feel worthwhile – I feel it’s their gift to me.
Kairos is doing very important things and I am proud to be part of it. I started by helping at Southwark’s all-abilities day at Aylesford Priory. I really enjoyed working with the ladies from St Mary’s care home in Roehampton to put on the rosary activity. Now I help at Kairos events and offer my computer skills.
I am a research student at Heythrop College, University of London, investigating Christian spirituality and intellectual disability. I’ve found pockets of excellent and committed pastoral practices, supported by a developing theology. But it’s also evident that much work needs to be done to develop this further. I see Kairos as a unique opportunity to do this and so help create communities at all levels that people with intellectual disabilities can feel part of. As a volunteer, I hope I can bring some of my research knowledge and skills to this work.
As a Kairos volunteer, I have been offering assistance and hospitality at conferences. Through volunteering, my eyes have been opened to the incredible work that Kairos has set out to do – to encourage communities of belonging in both religious and secular fields. Kairos has enabled me to share an interest in and understanding of the importance of spirituality for those with intellectual disabilities.
I heard about the work of Kairos through a friend of mine who volunteers for the organisation. I decided that I too would like to become a volunteer. I am thoroughly looking forward to working with Kairos and gaining a deeper insight and understanding of its vital work. I strongly believe that I too will benefit from assisting in the delivery of Kairos’s services.