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Entries in youth (4)


Seeing through another’s eyes  

It seems like just yesterday that they were little boys, doing what little boys do.  Now, suddenly, they are grown men in their late twenties, leading busy adult lives. I am so proud of these delightful, self assured, kind young men.  Sure, I may be biased, for they are my sister’s sons.  It has been years since I spent time with ‘the boys’ – as my sister affectionately still calls them. You see, they live on the other side of the ocean in Germany.  However, much to my delight, they are here on a visit to beautiful Canada.  Time spent with my sister and ‘the boys’ was far too short. To really get reacquainted with my nephews an extra couple of days with them would have been superb. Yet, during our brief time together I noticed what amazing young men they are.  Now, dear reader, you may think, ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’.  Sure, I hear you and am aware of this.  Yes, I may be biased, but hear me out.  Take my younger nephew, for example.  He is very concerned about the state of our world and chose to focus his studies on climate change and dreams of working for an NGO in Nepal.  For several years now, he has chosen to be a vegetarian, prefers to buy used clothing and hardly resembles the many young people who have such a sense of entitlement.

Looking at things Canadian through the eyes of my nephews was quite an eye opener.  They shared how frustrated they were when the car rental dealer in Toronto tried her utmost to convince them that they needed an SUV for their travels.  They could not be swayed, convinced a regular smallish car would serve them very well.  Wherever we drove, they commented on how huge most Canadian vehicles are.  And talking about huge – they couldn’t get over the consumerism.  The multitude of stores everywhere just about overwhelmed them. 

These nephews of mine caused me to pause and ponder about our lifestyle here in North America.  They didn’t much like the concrete jungle of downtown Toronto and though they liked London, Ontario, the forest city, much better, even here they mostly yearned for the outdoors, for a park or a trail.  Unfortunately, it rained most of the time while they were here.  Was this a blessing in disguise?  It afforded me the opportunity to spend treasured moments with my sister and nephews in unplanned and surprising places.  Sure, we went to the quintessential LCBO to check out the wide selection of Canadian beers.  And to the Bulk Store!  You should have seen how fascinated ‘the boys’ were with this concept of scooping whatever into bags.  And, you guessed it, we also ended up in a Goodwill Store where the two ‘big time spenders’ found a few treasures.  Further treasures, of a very different kind, were found in St. Peter’s Basilica.  In the pouring rain we not only found shelter in that magnificent cathedral but shelter in each other as we sat and quietly talked about life, its joys and sorrows, its challenges and blessings. 

What a blessing and gift it was to spend such precious moments with my dear sister and these two wise young men.  I cherish the memory of their presence, their insights, their hugs, the laughter we shared.  Much to my surprise, they remind me of the book ‘Hope for the Flowers’, a fable about life, about revolution and lots of hope.  This precious, albeit brief time with my nephews gives me hope for the future.

Cosmic Agelessness

Wisdom trades places, at home with the young

Seasons pile up

Roles reverse in the natural progression …

 (Jane and Aaron Jackson)


- Sr. Magdalena Vogt, cps


YOU Will Build It - They Will  Come

The rain held off on Thursday, April 18, 2019 as London’s Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) and supporters gathered on YOU’s new 1.1 acre property at 585 Clarke Road, site of the future Housing First Youth Shelter.  Federal Parliamentary Secretary, Adam Vaugh shared the news of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) partnership with YOU and investment in the unique homeless youth housing project.  He made a federal government financial commitment of over 2.96 million for the construction of the YOU Housing First Youth Shelter.

Details about plans for the new thirty bed youth shelter were shared with the assembled crowd by YOU’s tireless Steve Cordes, executive director for over thirty years. Steve explained that the planned shelter will be a safe, secure, inviting place where residents will have private rooms.  They will be off the street in a comfortable environment where they can relax and settle into a routine. Then, the goal of the program will be for the youth to find affordable housing in time, enroll in school, if necessary, and finally attain employment.

Several speakers addressed the assembled group. Kortney, a former homeless woman, now 28 years old and employed in the finance field, spoke of her life experience and her success after becoming involved with YOU.   She emphasized that youth cannot be successful unless they are away from street life and have a safe place to live.  Using herself as an example, she emphasized that the next step must be schooling, finding employment and becoming secure young people helping to make their city and world a better place.

With Youth Opportunities Unlimited’s highly successful track record of over three decades, Londoners can rest assured that the YOU Housing First Youth Shelter will be a model of best practices and a vital component in solving youth homelessness.

Sister Jean Moylan csj


Discovering 'the Gold' in the Golden Rule

"Although the religions of the world are apples and oranges and are more different than they are alike, still there is a quality of 'fruitfulness' that characterizes them all and out of which a 'common ground' for shared conversation can be established." Paul Knitter, American dialogue theologian

It’s all about our youth and below you will find an abundance of interfaith educational resources for young people collected from around the world.

Interfaith curricula for schools, youth groups and congregations These many curricula provide young people in schools, youth groups and congregations with the experiences, skills and resources to live in a diverse world, to broaden their own identities, and to break through walls that divide them from people of other religious, cultural, and economic backgrounds. 

Golden Rule educational resources for youth This comprehensive listing of resources features school & youth group curricula, interactive resources, meditation exercises, videos, multilingual posters, art activities, do-it-yourself workshops, slide programs, discussion questions, Golden Rule websites, books, toolkits and best practices.

Directory of interfaith youth groups in Toronto, Canada This directory features interfaith youth groups in Toronto as well as organizations and educational resources from around the world

Paul McKenna
Scarboro Missions Interfaith Dept.
2685 Kingston Road
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M1M 1M4

Tel. 416-261-7135 ext. 296

Representatives of the 13 religions featured on the Scarboro Missions Golden Rule Poster




Youth as Problem Solvers

Last month at the Air Canada Center in Toronto I learned a very important lesson. I learned that together anyone can make a difference if WE believe that WE are powerful. I learned this at WE Day. WE Day is an event by invitation only. It's a gathering of famous people that help young people to be inspired to make a change in our world.

At WE Day we listened to a lot of empowering people.  My personal favourite was Craig Kielburger (the founder of Free the Children) precisely because of what he said, “We need to stop thinking that the youth are a problem that needs to be solved, and realize that they are the problem solvers!”

Craig Kielburger also reminded us (the audience) that as the next generation the future is in our hands. It gave me the confidence and courage I needed to believe that I too can make a difference.

During the school year our Social Justice Group is focusing on different issues. Currently, the Club at my school (St. Gabriel Catholic Elementary School, Windsor) is doing a campaign called WE Scare Hunger. What we did was to collect cans from October 15 to November 6 and we donated them to the Windsor Downtown Mission. Craig and many other speakers such as Demi Lovato and Henry Winkler gave us the confidence to beat our school record of over 4000 cans last year.

Youth guest blogger, Evan Bonyai 

For more information about this youth engagement movement can be found on We Day website at http://www.weday.com/what-is-we-day/our-story/

Photo: Evan's "Selfie" 


Copyright 2013. Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada.