Brazil – "Salesian School has helped me to become a true citizen and a committed Christian"

06 April 2020

(ANS - Belém) - "More than starting professionally well-trained teenagers and young people into society, the ability to prepare them for a transforming commitment is required," say the directors of the Salesian School in Brazil. Among the Fundamental Commitments that the social dimension of the Salesian Brazil Network has assumed there is, in fact, the "Development of Life Skills (soft skills) among the new generations."

To pursue this important objective, Salesian social works aim to prepare young people professionally so that they are trained to transform and build a more fraternal, just and united society. In a broad and profound sense, this means forming them to be "upright citizens" of today and laying the foundations for making them "good Christians", ideals desired by Don Bosco.

In the second half of 2019, through six meetings - from north to south of Brazil and with the participation of almost 400 educators – reflections focussed upon the development of the skills of the over 50,000 adolescents and young people who pass through the social works of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) and the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) in the country every year. Understanding the main skills necessary for the life of young people in conditions of exclusion and vulnerability and how to develop them was the objective of almost 80 hours of work.

Listening to educators was an important part of this whole collective construction process, but it was also necessary to listen to the main actors of this action: teenagers and young people.

Specifically, the opportunity was given on a large scale, on 21 and 22 January, when the Salesian School of Work in Belém, State of Pará, opened its doors for a debate with educators, but above all with almost 800 adolescents and young people from 14 and 22 years old, students from Salesian schools and vocational training.

Divided into morning and afternoon shifts, the students had the opportunity, using resources such as role-playing games, group reflections, debates and talks, to understand what the fundamental knowledge and skills are, and above all the importance of developing the skills as a means for a more qualified entry into the world of work.

The students who attended the meeting did not talk much about "skills development", but about acquired skills such as: discipline, respect, leadership, sense of participation, spirit of collaboration, seriousness, commitment ...

During the two days, at no time was it necessary to pronounce the word "silence" to restore order. When someone spoke, their attention and focus was natural and immediate: an example of the effectiveness of the Preventive System when loving kindness, reason and moral and spiritual values ​​are applied.

Wallace Mendonça, student and volunteer of the Salesian “School of Work”, reports: "The formation received and the opportunities for work that I have had through the Salesian School have helped me to become a true citizen and a committed Christian."

Fr Agnaldo Soares Lima

Source: Salesian Bulletin (Brazil)


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