How was this experience started?
In Nazareth House, as the number of boys keeps increasing, we needed volunteers to help us in assisting the boys. And the Grade 10 boys, after finishing their exams, requested us that they be allowed to stay in Nazareth for one year because they want to give a hand to the Salesians. So, we are in need of volunteers and they want to be volunteers. This is how and why domestic volunteers started.
And what is your expectation of the volunteer experience?
We want the volunteers to help us assist the boys like the Salesians. They do well as they were trained according to the Don Bosco Preventive System. And we want the volunteers to become good Christians and upright citizens too. So, we accompany them with some formation – we take catechism and give some talks on different themes. Every Thursday, which we keep as the Community Day, we do Lectio Divina (Bible sharing) together with SDB and volunteers, we share meals together, we either play some games, or go to watch movie or visit a nearby natural place or go hiking. This is a very good experience for everyone, both for the volunteers and for the Salesians.
How was your experience of hosting volunteers in your community?
It was a very good experience for the community, for the boys and for themselves, the volunteers.
What was one of the greatest joys of hosting volunteers?
Nine of 10 volunteers were our Past Pupils (Don Bosco Alumni) and so they know Salesian style of life. It is like welcoming our own brother Salesians to the community. Seeing them happy in Nazareth gives us lots of joy too.
What was one of the biggest challenges of hosting volunteers?
Personal accompaniment. Due to so many works, I found it difficult, as the Rector, to accompany them, giving them time to share their problems, difficulties, hopes, and discouragement.
What did you learn from hosting volunteers?
Formation is never “a business”, as we try to form them to know the Salesian charism, they form us too to understand the world of the young better. We need to be very careful not to “use them” for our work, but form them, which is a very difficult task so that they collaborate with us.
How does the presence of volunteers impact the life of your community life?
The first visible point is that they enlarge our community. The boys see us more as a family. The gap between the Salesians and the boys is no more. When the boys see the Salesians eating, praying, and playing together with the volunteers, they feel like becoming volunteers themselves or following the Salesian vocation.
How does the presence of volunteers enable you to live the dream of Don Bosco?
Salesian charism is given to Don Bosco for the Salesian Family. With the presence of the volunteers, we, consecrated Salesians, feel ourselves more as a family.