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Colombia – "Focus on childhood, adolescence and high-risk youth." XIII Preferential Option Meeting

17 September 2018

(ANS - Fusagasugá) - The XIII Preferential Option Meeting took place from 2 to 7 September at the "Salesianum" Spirituality House in Fusagasugá to review the implementation of the 2015-2020 strategic plan for "The animation of the processes of attention to childhood, adolescence and high-risk youth in the Interamerica region", defined at the meeting in Haiti (XI meeting - October 2014).

Each day of the meeting was associated with a term that expressed the proposed theme. 1st day: Recognize; 2nd day: Share; 3rd day: Form; 4th day: Work (on a map of good practices); 5th day: Visit.

Among the most salient aspects of the guidelines and work developed in accordance with the strategic plan are:

- Start from the great wealth already gathered and shared in the region.
- Ask the Regional to structure a Network of Social Works or Preferential Option, specifying the priority elements that would go towards constituting the Network
- Propose that the provincial authority define if it wants to be part of this Network.
- Strengthen the animation team of the preferential option, defining roles, functions ...
- Prioritize the basic lines of action that must be adopted.
- Ensure a greater regional-provincial commitment.
- Ensure the continuity of service of the people who make up the working groups of preferential option.

On the fifth day of the meeting, the structures of the "Juan Bosco Obrero Center" and the "Niño Jesús" Salesian building in Bogotá were visited, where it was possible to see the work developed through various Salesian programs, all aimed at guaranteeing full participation of children, adolescents and young people.

"A clear option of work in and as a network must be designed to have a greater impact and to obtain better possibilities for cooperation", was one of the important contributions of Fr Juan Linares, of the Spanish Salesian NGO "Jóvenes y Desarrollo".

Also attending were: Fr Juan Carlos Quirarte (MEG), Coordinator of the regional team, with the other members of the team: Fr Héctor Franco (COB), Fr Rafael Bejarano (COM), Fr Carlos Piantini (ANT) Juan Carlos Montenegro (SUO), James Areiza (COM) and Fernando Duarte (COB).

Also noteworthy, the contributions by: Fr Daniel García, from the Dicastery for Youth Ministry; Fr Linares; Jaime Correa, Director of the Salesian International Programs Office of Salesians Mission, USA; Reinhard Heiserer, Director of "Jugend Eine Welt", Austria; and Lina Varon, Head of "Jóvenes y Desarrollo" for projects in Latin America.

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