South Korea – 3,000 Youths accompanied over past 50 years

03 October 2017

(ANS – Seoul) – On March 3, 1967, and free of charge, the first 19 trainees enrolled at the Don Bosco Youth Center's newly-established Vocational Training Center – and boarding house. Located in Seoul's industrial suburban zone, in Yeoungdeongpo Gu, this second Salesian house in Seoul was started with 60 thousand dump trucks of soil filling the grounds to avoid the floods of National Road N.1, about 2 meters above land level. Here, for the past 50 years, about 3000 less-privileged young people from all around South Korea received a solid human, professional and Christian preparation for their lives.

By Fr Benedict Kim, SDB

During the past 50 years, the DBYC community journeyed with young people in need in many ways. Under one roof, of a 6-floor building, we find the 14-SDB-strong religious community of 3 Salesian Brothers, 8 Priests, plus candidates and confreres in their initial formation. Together with 40 lay mission partners, the Salesians animate four main sectors of this community: Oratory, a residential care home for the young people in need, 40 teenagers; Don Bosco Vocational Training School, with 80 young adults aged 19-32; Don Bosco Self Support Center, consisting of 40 young workers or students, mainly graduates of the VTC; the local children's day care center for the local district's after-school activities of the less-privileged children. Among other services offered within the DBYC compound, shared with the SDB provincial house community, is also the DB Social Communications with the Alternative School.

The journey with the young people also goes beyond DBYC, as the community is in charge of the Juvenile prisons and other related institutions, where the Salesians have regularly been rendering service for the past 45 years. Among the future dreams is to opening the Vocational Training Center facilities on the weekend for foreign migrant workers living in the Seoul metropolitan area.

Although the DBYC is now largely subsidized by government agencies, Labor and Social Welfare, a good number of benefactors, including the past pupils, abroad and in Korea, currently support this precious much-needed center today.

The Golden Jubilee of Seoul DBYC featured two main events: the annual DBYC Festival in May, organized by DBYC Past Pupils, and the concluding Jubilee in September, organized by the whole Educative Pastoral Community of DBYC that brought together a large number of former volunteers of the evening school, teachers, instructors, benefactors, past pupils and Salesians who served here over the past 50 years.

Among the lasting fruits is also the ‘DBYC 50 Years History’, a book of 500 pages, the result of hard work done by Bro. Marino Bois, SDB, an Italian missionary from Val d’Aosta, and his collaborators. It offers a precious and profound insight into the growth of Salesian charism in Korea, with a rich photographic documentation of all three thousand DBYC graduates. Thanks to this publication, many journalist are visiting these days, and the image of Seoul’s Valdocco is spread across the media and the press with the face of Bro. Marino – a symbol of its roots – who arrived in Korea 


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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