Youth Speak News

{mosimage}Another school year has ended, but instead of spending my summer in Florida visiting friends and family, my destination this year is a little farther south — a rural village in the Andes mountains of Ecuador.

My journey to Ecuador actually began in January 2008 when, along with 11 other students from my school, I travelled to the Dominican Republic to build houses in a small, impoverished village. To say that spending a week without running water, electricity or cell phone service was life-altering is a bit of an understatement.

Overcoming materialism

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These days, it is not uncommon to find people complaining and brooding over a malfunctioning iPod or a misplaced flash drive. With our attachment to material things, either one of these minor problems could throw our entire day askew.

So, why is it that our possessions and technologies affect our happiness so much? When did we become so dependent on money and material? And when did we begin to get the notion that these things would bring us joy and satisfaction?

2010 Ottawa Youth Summit planning underway

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{mosimage}OTTAWA - Planning has begun in the Ottawa archdiocese to host the 2010 Youth Summit/Montée Jeunesse next May 21-24.

Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J.,  said he has great confidence in the direction the youth leaders will provide after a preliminary brainstorming session June 20. He noted the conference will takes place over Victoria Day weekend and coincides with Pentecost next year. It is expected to draw hundreds of youth up to age 35 to the nation’s capital.

Finding faith, meaning in the workplace

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Faith plays a central role in a lot of the decisions we make, including our career choices. Common questions we ask might include, “What brings meaning to my life?” or “What is God’s purpose for me on this Earth?”

Many youth want a job that enables them to live out their faith on a daily basis. But the challenge is not in finding a job that lets you live your faith but rather in enabling yourself to live your faith in any job. Ever since I graduated from high school, I have worked in a number of different jobs that have provided me with many experiences and growing pains. What I discovered along the way is that I like to help people and in doing so, I developed myself as a servant leader.

Finding a funeral's beauty

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Recently, I was able to interview a family that was donating a large amount of money to a school in memory of their teenage son who died in a terrible car wreck in February. Tears came to the eyes of his father as soon as he stepped into the room to talk to me, and later, after they’d made their presentation, this couple held each other and cried in front of me and two teachers.

India trip opens Toronto students' eyes

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Two students from Blessed Mother Teresa High School in Scarborough got to follow in the footsteps of their school’s namesake this year as they joined nine other students in a trip to India.

The students visited missionary projects run by the Loretto Sisters and visited locations that had strong ties to Blessed Mother Teresa, who was a Loretto Sister before she founded the Missionaries of Charity. The first-time trip was made in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Lorettos.

Sherbrooke youth to host four-day faith event

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{mosimage}Famille Marie Jeunesse will welcome 300 youth to join them for its 20th Youth Council — a bilingual weekend of prayer, skits, teachings and more, taking place June 26-29.

Famille Marie-Jeunesse is a movement of lay and consecrated young people living in community in Sherbrooke, Que. The community follows a Marian and eucharistic spirituality and is one of five similar households around the world.

Teen Bible study focuses on Jean Vanier

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{mosimage}TORONTO - L’Arche Canada has published a youth Bible study to inspire teens and help them find their calling in life.

Exploring Your Future: A Youth Bible Study with Jean Vanier aims to help teens counter the bad influences that can throw them off the path to success.

“The youth of today are the adults of tomorrow,” said Jessica Vorstermans, an educational initiatives facilitator for L’Arche Canada, based in Toronto.

The future is in our hands

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It’s almost the end of June. Usually in a student’s mind this means the school year is coming to an end. I’ve often simply seen it this way until now, as this will be the last month of my high school career. I will never have to deal with hard-to-understand math teachers or the 12-minute run our gym teachers force us to do.

Yet, in some ways, no matter how nagging some of those memories are, they always seemed to bring a smile to my face and a good laugh with all my friends. But do the good times stop as soon as graduation is over? I hope not.

World Youth Alliance forms Canadian committee

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{mosimage}As the World Youth Alliance (WYA) celebrates the tenth anniversary of its founding in New York City, it also prepares to add another committee to its ranks — the first and only Canadian committee.

“This national committee will allow WYA to better respond to the issues the Canadians uniquely face as barriers to further development and allow WYA to be able to communicate more effectively with its members,” said Seanna Magee, a Catholic resident of Toronto who interned with WYA’s headquarters in 2005 and will be spearheading the new committee with the help of WYA’s North American director.

Peer support, a recipe for success

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{mosimage}TORONTO - At Neil McNeil High School the popular phrase of “youth empowering youth” is taken seriously.

Not only are senior students at the all-boys school motivated to lead by example as big brothers helping the junior students socially and emotionally, but they have also helped their peers shine academically through their peer support program which recently won their school’s leadership team a Premiers’ Award for Teaching Excellence.

The program was developed several years ago after the school partnered with the Search Institute, a non-profit action research organization in the United States. Search provides leadership, knowledge, resources and a framework of developmental assets as a way to assess the health and well-being of young people.