The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario hosted its annual Just-Us Youth Day on Tuesday, April 9, a symposium for nearly 250 Grade 10 students from across the Board’s ten secondary schools. The day gives students an opportunity to learn about the good work being done by not-for-profit organizations and individuals committed to social justice initiatives. Each year the presentations are developed around a theme; this year’s theme was “Making Change Joyfully,” an extension of the CDSBEO spiritual theme, Be Holy – Joy springs from a loving heart!
Catholic Student Trustee, Michael Fenn, outlined the specifics of the day, which acts to inspire students to become informed and act on social justice causes. Students began the morning with a liturgy, followed by a keynote address by Jacob Moon.
“CDSBEO students were truly blessed to host Jacob Moon at this year’s Just-Us Youth Day,” began Trustee Fenn. “Not only is Jacob a wonderful musician, he also brought forward a truly inspirational message about his personal experiences with involvement in social justice initiatives.”
Students attended additional workshops in the afternoon, where presenters discussed how they can make a difference in local and global communities. The workshops were designed to move students to act on social justice causes such as poverty, inclusion, human rights, Indigenous issues, and community outreach. Presentations were given by a wide variety of groups including: House of Lazarus (Community Outreach Mission), SchoolBox, Lanark County Support Services, Youth Ottawa, and Development and Peace – Caritas Canada.
The day was organized and facilitated at all levels by the Catholic Student Senate and the Department of Religious and Family Life Education. The Senate has representation from all CDSBEO Catholic secondary schools under the leadership of Trustee Fenn. The planning and organizing of the event gave the students an opportunity to demonstrate their leadership skills.
Trustee Fenn noted, “I’m so proud I was able to be part of such a great day. Being the emcee was a great experience, and witnessing our Student Senate work together to ensure that this day ran smoothly was certainly a highlight for me. The keynote speaker and the session leaders have inspired all of us to put our faith into action.”
“Students in our school system are constantly encouraged to live as examples of our Catholic faith. Students and staff of the CDSBEO are truly social justice warriors.”
“Congratulations to all of you on a successful event,” noted Trustee Robin Reil. “I have been to every one of the Just-Us Youth events, and they have all been excellent. It is truly a worthwhile event for our students.”