CHILE: Don Bosco Foundation provides services under its ‘Care and Prevention’ program for at-risk children 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 (March 17, 2020) Don Bosco Foundation was able 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 for street children. It is currently serving nearly 160 street children across more than 15 municipalities in Santiago.
Self-care sessions were held for Salesian staff at four Salesian programs including 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.
The funding from Salesian Missions also provided the materials for pizza-making workshops. Three workshops were held in December 2019 and more were held in March 2020. Recreational activities also received funding for balls, weights and goalkeeper gloves, among other items. The funding also supported craft workshops by providing organizing plastic boxes, library items, cards, markers, glue and other items.
A total of 10 workshops were held for both children and older youth at Patio Punitaqui Oratory. Each workshop had eight to 12 participants. Sports workshops included soccer, skating and CrossFit. Other workshops included art, recycling, recreational sewing and creative cooking. Finally, workshops were held for students who needed after-school support for literacy and English language studies.
Further, Salesian Missions funding helped the Don Bosco Foundation’s efforts to provide mental health support for youth. Psychotherapeutic care included psychiatric and psychological care during five sessions for each youth. The care team is made up of one full-time psychologist and psychiatric care from the medical centers Grow Well Comprehensive Mental Health Limited and the Family Psycho-Educational Medical Center CIJ Ltda. As of Jan. 30, 25 youth were in care with 14 of them maintaining ongoing psychological therapy.
“We are appreciative of our donors who helped support the work with 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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