Youth as global citizens… Hoping to build a just world
I recently attended a Youth Forum at the Coady International Institute in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where 20 interns from Coady’s Youth In Partnership program shared their experience of working with Coady partner organizations overseas.
Back in Canada just two weeks, they were still processing the impact of their volunteer experience. I was fortunate to chat with Lydia King who went to Peru and we share her experience in this issue.
Tara Moayed, who went to Botswana, Africa, described their six-month internship as the “biggest challenge and adventure of our lives. We all returned changed.” Tara spoke about the value of volunteering as nongovernmental organizations struggle with funding challenges and are increasingly relying on volunteers to support their work at the grassroots level. She encouraged other young people to take advantage of opportunities for local or international volunteering with organizations that have the capacity to teach volunteers and to utilize them as a resource.
During their orientation, interns were briefed on the Antigonish Movement, a strategy for community development led by Fr. Moses Coady and Fr. Jimmy Tompkins in response to the needs of impoverished farming, fishing and mining communities in the Maritimes during the 1920s. Fr. Coady saw the movement as allowing people to become “masters of their own destiny.”
Many Scarboro missioners have attended the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University to study the Antigonish Movement’s strategy for community development. Both Fr. Joe Curcio, who we remember in this issue, and Fr. Lou Quinn have shared that knowledge with the people of San José de Ocoa, Dominican Republic, since the 1960s and supported them in their efforts to better their lives. Ocoa’s thriving community development association welcomes volunteers of all ages and professions, including groups of students from St. Mary’s Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario, who go there each year to lend a hand. They too return home transformed and we share some of their experiences in this issue as well.
We also feature stories by Joel Badali and Celeah Gagnon. Joel went on a cultural exchange to Cambodia and to First Nations communities in British Columbia through Global Youth Network. Celeah describes her journey to Malawi, Africa, where her grandmother Barbara Michie serves as a Scarboro missioner.
At this time of Easter, we celebrate the risen Christ who lives among us and calls us to journey with him, to be of service to others, to be peacemakers, to be seekers of justice. We celebrate, too, the young people who answer this call by taking time to experience life among another community and culture, and returning home to share what they have learned. May their stories of solidarity with people in the Global South who struggle for a better life fill us with Easter hope.∞