The Opportunity of a Lifetime:
CWY-JCM is Changing the lives of young people globally


Photo © Courtesy of CWY-JCM

By: Susan Handrigan, President and CEO
Susan Handrigan, President and CEO © Photo Courtesy of CWY-JCM

In 1997, I had the opportunity to travel from my small town of St-Anthony, Newfoundland, to Costa Rica through a placement with Canada World Youth – Jeunesse Canada Monde. Like other CWY-JCM alumni, I knew it was the experience of a lifetime. For three months, I lived with the most wonderful family. I worked on a little farm about 10 minutes walk from my host family’s house. I played soccer on the community fields in the evening and took cold showers in the morning.

For three months, I got to experience what it was like being Costa Rican. My view of the world was completely changed. I realized how interconnected we all are and how my experience could have a direct impact in shaping the future. This is not just my story—it is the story of 50,000 other young Canadians that have participated in our programs and had their lives changed in the process.

For the last 50 years, CWY-JCM has been a leader for young people. Over the next 10 years, CWY-JCM plans to continue to focus it’s impact within four key pillars, while still keeping youth at the center.

Empowerment & Experience for Indigenous Communities

Guided by the recommendations of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission and in partnership with Indigenous organizations, CWY-JCM has promoted a collaborative relationship with Canadian Indigenous communities and incorporated Indigenous values into our methodology. We work with young people to promote education and sustainable livelihoods through experiential learning to broaden their perspectives and empower Indigenous Communities around the world.

Environmental Sustainability

CWY-JCM knows that environmental change begins in our own backyards. In partnership with governments and environmental sustainability groups, CWY-JCM promotes green entrepreneurship and empowers youth to become leaders in promoting environmental protection, preservation, and conservation.

Empowerment of Young Women & Girls

Gender equality is a right, and every country has work to do to close the gap. Addressing this issue is a critical part of ending poverty and inequality in Canada and around the world. CWY-JCM programming addresses barriers preventing gender equality and empowers young women and girls to move past them.

Sustainable Livelihood & Entrepreneurship

CWY-JCM has almost five decades of experience addressing the needs of youth, teaching them to build sustainable livelihoods through employment skills and entrepreneurship training, and empowering youth to secure meaningful employment or start businesses. Within CWY-JCM programming, young people are not only beneficiaries but also key innovators and impact contributors.

If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that we are all interconnected, and investments made in programs like ours are the best way to connect and develop partnerships that will empower young people.

As we embark on our next 50 years, we are calling on alumni to support us in creating programming that will continue to be innovative to train the next generation of leaders. We need alumni to share how CWY-JCM has impacted your life!

For those who are hearing about CWY-JCM for the first time, our programs have been credited in part to the tremendous reputation Canadians have when traveling overseas. We have helped Canada’s priorities abroad, in business and development. This year specifically, we are seeking private investments to put Canada at the forefront of the COVID rebuild worldwide.

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