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Youth Organizations

Youth Organizations

The youth organizations in the Diocese of Kenema are:
1. Catholic Youth Organization (C.Y.O)
Motto: Do Something For God and Sierra Leone
The Catholic Youth Organization (C.Y.O) is a parish-based organization that helps young people to live Christian Community life. It further prepares them for present and future leadership roles in communities, families and organizations. The Catholic Youth Organization is the oldest youth group in the country; it welcomes young people who are in the transition stage between childhood and young adulthood. This category constitutes the largest percentage of the church’s population in the diocese. They are mostly involved in organizations such as Altar servers, choir, wardens/lectors etc. They are also part of the work force in the parishes. Many of them are peer group evangelizers.

2. Catholic Young Adult Fellowship (CYAF)
Motto: One Family In Jesus
The Catholic Young Adult Fellowship is made up of young adults. It serves to occupy the space between the youth and the adult organizations in the church (e.g. CYO - CMA/CWA etc.). This group was formed in the Archdiocese of Freetown in 2008 with the specific aim of creating a sense of belonging for the young adults in parishes. CYAF was also established in the Diocese of Kenema on the 7th June 2015.
The Catholic Young Adult Fellowship has the following apostolate:
• Visitation to the sick, the poor and the needy
• Promotion of religious and family life
• Advocate and promote education and leadership for youths and young adults
• Support and undertake infrastructural developments in the church
• Advocate and seek employment for youths and young adults

3. Young Christian Students’ Movement (YCSM)
Motto: See, Judge and Act
The Young Christian Students’ Movement (YCSM) is an international movement that is run for and by students. The Movement aims to empower students to take ownership of their own lives, in order to transform themselves and the world around them within the framework of their faith and beliefs systems.

A Catholic Priest called Joseph Cardijn founded the Young Christian Students’ Movement in 1925 in Belgium. The aim of this movement emanated from the Young Christian Workers (YCW) in Belgium. The YCW were workers who were marginalized and treated unfairly by their employers. The main objective of YCW was to challenge the unjust and unfair treatments of workers. These approach used by YCW was admired by students in universities and other learning institutions; they therefore adopted it and applied the same principles to their own plights. This movement spread around the world. Over time it has developed and established in over 100 countries with its headquarters in Paris – France. YCSM African Regional Centre is in Nairobi, Kenya. This same movement is also known as the Pan African Young Christian Students Movement.

A Nigerian student at Fourah Bay College called Kayode Oladosu formed YCSM in Sierra Leone on the 24th January 1971. This student was encouraged to establishing a branch of YCSM in Sierra Leone after the 6th World Conference and study session of YCSM in London. After the launching ceremony, it was registered with the college and it was called Sierra Leone Young Christian Students’ Movement (SLYCSM). As a dedicated and hard working student Kayode established branches in almost all the Secondary Schools and Tertiary Institutions in Sierra Leone.

By the 1990s, SLYCSM had a membership well over 3,000 Sierra Leonean students and it became a household name, which was noted for addressing issues pertaining to social justice; it is however sad to note that this is no longer the case. This has been largely attributed to the decade long civil war the country went through.

However, after the war, strides were made to resuscitate and revitalize the movement throughout the country. There is some success story to tell as SLYCSM is again established in the four Catholic Dioceses in Sierra Leone with its headquarter in Freetown and regional offices in Bo, Makeni and Kenema.

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