Isabelle Kim

Isabelle Kim

September 22, 2014
CHRIS MILLER
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP) is hoping to engage a new generation of young Catholics in creating a more just world.

"I want to create a movement that will reflect and be embracive of all the changes in Canada's growing Catholic family, a movement that is multi-generational, where we will have meetings in five or 10 years with tons of kids running around, with people of First Nations descent and from all walks of life," said Isabelle Kim who is charged with expanding the organization's youth outreach.

Kim, the deputy director of In-Canada programs department for the past five years, addressed the issue at CCODP's archdiocesan annual general meeting, Sept. 13 at the Catholic Pastoral Centre.

The organization is striving to engage young people with Catholic social teaching and raise their awareness of global injustice, she said.

One way CCODP seeks to achieve this goal is through the Catholic Schools Program, which originated in Ontario and has since spread across Canada.

The program was initiated in March 2011, beginning with a pilot research phase. Next came the development phase (participating in events, program planning, attending conferences, consultations, student outreach, etc.).

The program has since increased its online outreach with a blog, and more presence on Facebook and other social media.

Through the Catholic Schools Program, students learn about advocacy, the Share Lent campaign and other CCODP initiatives. They also learn about emergency relief, international development and the causes of impoverishment.

ThinkFast is a 25-hour CCODP education and fundraising activity in schools, universities and parishes across Canada. The initiative is a way for youth to learn about and to help CCODP partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America who are championing solutions to unjust social, political and economic structures.

ThinkFast is a way for young people to raise money for the work of CCODP's partners.

Based in Toronto, Kim supervises 19 staff, including five administrative staff and 14 animators who work in regional offices across the country.

She leads the team of animators, including Sara Farid in the Alberta-Mackenzie region, in carrying out CCODP's annual education and fundraising campaigns on international development issues such as Food Sovereignty and Access to Water.

Kim also leads national and provincial outreach projects on youth engagement and cultural diversity.

ROOT CAUSES

"We believe that Development & Peace can make a faithful contribution to the Catholic education network by providing an approach to understanding the root causes of global social justice problems," she said.

In the Edmonton Archdiocese this year, CCODP gave presentations at 60 Catholic schools. This included all of the schools except one in the St. Thomas Aquinas school district, 80 per cent of the schools in St. Albert and most of the schools in Spruce Grove.

"The Catholic Schools Program did not come out of thin air," said Kim, noting that its launch coincided with World Youth Day in Toronto. CCODP has been working in schools since the organization was launched 47 years ago.