Junior Knights and Daughters engage youth

By Ariana Cassard

When the Knights of Peter Claver gather in Kansas City, MO, for the 22nd Biennial National Convention in July, the Junior Knights and Junior Daughters will have a prominent role.

The convention is an opportunity for Junior members to exchange ideas, receive encouragement and discuss opportunities.
A strong community is created when young people are involved in leadership positions.

The Knights of Peter Claver, the largest African-American Catholic lay organization in the world, created the Junior Division to encourage strong leadership skills for youth. The Junior Division has the same mission and structure as the Knights, but is comprised entirely of Catholic youth ages seven through 18.

The Junior Knights and Daughters have local and state divisions through which youth can gather to impact their community through events, conferences and community outreach.

This division enables youth to not only be part of a large organization, but to be leaders. Members enter into an election for leadership positions across the local, state and national levels.

Since the 2015 National Convention in Orlando, Junior Supreme Knight Carrington Guillory and Junior Supreme Lady Callia Cox have served in top leadership roles.
Carrington, 15, is a sophomore at St. Louis Catholic High School in Lake Charles, LA. He made history by succeeding his older brother, Creighton Guillory, as Junior Supreme Knight.

“While watching my brother conduct himself around the organization as Junior Supreme Knight, I knew that I could bring my leadership skills to the Junior Division,” said Carrington.

Callia was initiated into the Junior Division in Charleston, SC, where she lived until her family relocated to New Orleans last year. The 18-year-old is a senior at The Academy of Our Lady in New Orleans.

Both Carrington and Callia said they were honored to hold this office over the past two years. Their duties include writing speeches, traveling to local conferences, handling communication and planning for the upcoming Convention. According to Callia, preparations for the 22nd National Convention began over a year and a half ago.

Through their involvement in the Junior Division, Carrington and Callia are able to meet and work alongside Knights of Peter Claver in both the Senior and Junior Divisions.

As Junior Supreme Lady, Callia said that she has been changed by her experience. “This position has given me a voice, it’s taken me out of my comfort zone,” said Callia, who described herself as shy. She now feels she has a business mind and leadership skills that are more developed than most of her peers.

Both officers have been able to use their platform to bring attention to worldwide issues. Callia’s focus has been shining a light on homeless youth. “As kids we know how it feels to be a kid, but don’t know how it feels to be homeless, to have both of those burdens,” Callia told The Harvest.

She chose the Junior Daughters’ charity for this year’s convention, which is “Morning Glory Café,” a volunteer-run café tackling homelessness in Kansas City.

Carrington has focused his service around a housing project in Haiti, hosted by Cross Catholic Outreach. “Each home costs approximately $6,000, providing four rooms on a concrete slab,” said Carrington.

These are youth-led ideas, presented at a national level, with an international impact.

Carrington and Callia will soon pass the torch to a new pair of young leaders, elected at this year’s national convention. They both hope their successors will use their roles to listen to their fellow Juniors and create a pipeline for new ideas.

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