Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: July 08, 2020

CHILE: Don Bosco Foundation provides services for at-risk youth thanks to Salesian Missions donor funding

The organization is currently serving nearly 160 street children across more than 15 municipalities in Santiago.

NEW ROCHELLE, NY (July 8, 2020) Don Bosco Foundation has continued to provide services under its “Care and Prevention” program for at-risk children in Santiago, Chile, thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. The funding helped support several activities that fall under this program. Salesian staff received professional development training, youth were able to access programs and others indirectly benefited from the project.

Since 1998, the Don Bosco Foundation has provided programs to assist vulnerable children and older youth who are faced with social isolation, exclusion and a lack of opportunities. The organization employs 170 people in three programs for street children and at-risk youth that include a family residence and a reception center. It is currently serving nearly 160 street children across more than 15 municipalities in Santiago.

Self-care sessions were held for Salesian staff members at the four Salesian programs of Laura Vicuña, María Auxiliadora, Raúl Villarroel Correa Day Center and the Therapeutic Community in Valdoco. The full-day sessions focused on effective communication, relationships, crisis care, work coordination and other topics that impact their work. Another training day was also held for 70 staff members on various educational topics.

The funding from Salesian Missions also provided the materials for pizza-making workshops. Three workshops were held in December 2019 and more were planned for March and April 2020, but had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Before the closure, a pizza-making workshop was held for 14 youth. They enjoyed learning a new skill and had fun with their peers. The goal is to resume these activities once it is safe to do so.

The Don Bosco Foundation also hired a physical trainer, social monitor and two socio-community monitors who provide education at Patio Punitaqui Oratory. After the pandemic hit, much of their work was done virtually. They have improved planning for sports and English language workshops, developed activities for special holidays, and printed educational materials for children to work on from home.

“We are appreciative of our donors who helped support Salesian efforts to support and provide services for at-risk youth in Chile,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “These activities help ensure that youth have the social supports they need to succeed not only in school but in life.”

According to the World Bank, Chile has a fairly low poverty rate of 14.4 percent. However, Chile struggles with high rates of income and education inequality. Salesian missionaries

working in Chile focus their efforts on providing education and social services to poor and at-risk youth. At Salesian schools, universities and youth centers throughout the country, youth can access an education as well as the skills and resources necessary to break the cycle of poverty. As a result of the vocational and technical education provided by Salesian programs, Chilean youth are more likely to find stable employment and improve their standard of living.

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