students in Benin classroom

Youth: A Force of Positive Change in Our World

Photo by Michael Stulman/CRS

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“Young people are the hope of mission … how beautiful it is to see that young people are ‘street preachers,’ joyfully bringing Jesus to every street, every town square and every corner of the earth!”

—Pope Francis


Around the world, young people are standing in solidarity for what they believe in—justice, peace, unity, safety and opportunity. Pope Francis invites us to recognize the joyful power of young people and to support our youth to become the force for positive change in our world.

CRS sees young people as global citizens and missionary disciples, and key to our mission of upholding the dignity of human life. Today’s youth are tomorrow’s decision makers, leaders and catalysts for change.

In the United States, the CRS program CRS Education uses age-appropriate resources and programs to educate children and youth about current global issues, raise awareness about CRS’ mission and work overseas, and encourage young people to take action however they can to improve the lives of all members of our human family.

youthbuild El Salvador

Members of the YouthBuild program, an integral leadership program for vulnerable young people, gather at the Church of Mary of the Martyrs in Quezaltepeque, El Salvador. Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

CRS Education gives young people the opportunity to understand poverty through the hopeful stories of the men, women and children we serve overseas. One student, who participated in the CRS Global High School program at Merion Mercy Academy, learned about the CRS YouthBuild program and told us, “The event ... allowed me to understand the individuals affected instead of just hearing about 'poor people' as some distant, detached group ... now, my challenge is to keep in mind all that we discussed and apply it to my everyday life, so that peace can truly begin with me."

By experiencing our mission through CRS Education, this student was able to gain a clear understanding of the connections existing between all people and the similarities that define us, instead of the differences that so often attempt to divide us.

Young people have an inherent way of looking at our world as beautiful and worth fighting for, and have a desire to make connections and improve systems and societies. So often, the situations that are projected through the media are dire, but our youth have the wonderful gift of seeing light through the darkness. CRS Education strives to provide fuel for the fires of justice that are already burning within the young people across the United States, and gives them the tools needed to grow as leaders within our shared Catholic faith.

For more information on CRS Education, visit

To get involved with our upcoming International Youth Day social media event and help us form connections between youth all over the world, visit



Tags: Youth, crs, education