Shaping Youth Through Service

May 3, 2024— Youth programs are changing lives

After-school and summer programs help students and global communities in countless ways. Students benefit by being in mental and physical safe-havens, receive enhanced skill development, and even participate in life-changing opportunities while working with humanitarian and community projects – sometimes thousands of miles from home!

Ten high school girls from a Claretian-led after-school program in Quebec, Canada, recently participated in a humanitarian experience in Peru! The “beyond the classroom” learning was intended to broaden their understanding of the world beyond the familiar while providing aid to those in need. Their learning began long before they made the trip as they applied new skills in sales and fundraising. The students sold chocolate to raise money in order to supply Peruvian children’s diapers, youth clothing, and school supplies while on their mission.

The first stop was a visit with parentless children in a rural town. There they played with the toddlers and fed infant babies. The students passed out toys and spent time playing with and learning from the children. Both parties enjoyed each others company immensely with the kids loving the company of their new friends while the students took away lessons about the lives of these remarkable children.

Another stop had the student missionaries visiting churches where they helped the elderly. They also made stops in poorer neighborhoods where they talked with local Peruvians and learned a new world view listening to personal stories. The entire mission was a trip that not only offered humility but also brought insight and perspective for the travelers. One student said “every day we learned more and more about the people living in Peru, about the population.”

Traveling to the country helped bring the Peruvian culture alive through its people and showed the students a bigger world view. One of the professors who accompanied the students is Peruvian, returning to her homeland after a fifteen year absence! She shared it was “very special to see the students learn and help her people.”

Another vital youth program supported by the St. Jude League is the U.N.I.T.Y. Squad based at Claretian Associates. U.N.I.T.Y. – the United Network Influencing the Transformation of Youth – hosts a summer program focused on developing four principal components in participants; leadership, being trauma informed, civic engagement and workforce preparedness.

Through these components youth participants receive hands-on experience and learning about to how to succeed in life. They receive training in mental health growth, money management and financial literacy. After the program they are equipped with life skills they can use now and in their future adult lives.

Students impacted by the Claretian-led programs are being given the resources and opportunities to elevate their potential. They carry with them the hope of greater and more promising futures through safe, enjoyable, challenging and even daring projects that your support helps St. Jude League Community Development create for them. Together, we can continue providing the resources that will result in bright kids and futures for generations to come!


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