It takes a village to change the world.

At CRS, we bring together people who can make change happen—and make it last. We connect the generosity of our donors and expertise of our partners with vulnerable communities around the world. Working side by side with these communities, we identify their unique needs and challenges to develop sustainable solutions.

Empowering youth to transform their lives and communities

El Salvador is one of the world's most dangerous countries, with gang rivalries that fuel a culture of crime and violence. Schools in El Salvador are increasingly controlled by gangs, which causes many young people to drop out. One quarter of El Salvadoran youth ages 15-24 don’t work or attend school.

In 2012, CRS partnered with the YouthBuild International network to empower the young people of El Salvador. The program includes life and job skills development and entrepreneurship training; school re-entry; job placement; and social services. In addition to important skills, participants gain self-esteem and hope for a brighter future.

YouthBuild has reached more than 5,000 young people in 4 years. 80% percent of graduates have either found work, gone back to school, or both. Based on our success El Salvador, the program has expanded to Guatemala, the Dominican Republican, Nicaragua, Honduras. Our goal is to reach 8,370 direct beneficiaries by 2019.

Mobilizing the next generation for social good

College campuses across the country play a critical role in informing and steering the national dialogue on today’s most pressing issues. For these reasons, CRS partners with Catholic universities on a wide range of activities that support innovative solutions to development challenges.

As part of CRS University outreach, the CRS Student Ambassador program trains students to mobilize their peers and bring the mission of global solidarity to their campus. Led by CRS Student Ambassadors, chapters across the country work together to create impactful change. In  FY16, 786 CRS Student Ambassadors at 85 colleges and universities organized more than 500 events reaching over 25,000 people.

The educational component of the CRS University programming, CRS Faculty Learning Commons (FLC) develops online college course materials that draw from our overseas development work. Working with 48 institutions (up 92% from FY15) and 88 faculty numbers, FLC currently reaches 3,221 students. We’re also continuously adding new learning modules, enhancing their academic rigor and improving the FLC user experience.

CRS also partners with graduate students and faculty on research projects. These projects provide academics with access to field sites and data to test their hypotheses while documenting evidence of CRS’ success and developing ways to improve our programming. Today, 31 universities and research centers are collaborating with CRS overseas operations.

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