We Care

on Fri, 6 Nov 2015 by Dominic Savio

After so much time working for the youth, I’m sure there has been a time where you have wondered, “What now?”. So many of our programs are thriving, are youth seem to be creating a culture where they are not only family, but spread that to those around them, and we as a congregation seem to be becoming more well known everyday. So, what now? I found myself asking this question this past year. I was involved in 6 of our youth groups and assisting Juan Carlos Montenegro in overseeing all 23 youth groups we have in total. Things were going good for the most part and the direction we were taking as a ministry seemed to be building into something beautiful. I was comfortable, something I soon realized is a con more than anything else. “It’s not enough.” Juan Carlos said to me in his infamous Ecuadorian accent. I first was offended to be quite honest. I felt I was working so hard to get us to this point and he was telling me it wasn’t enough? How dare this bearded man belittle the work I have put in. He continued to say, “Our community needs more.” It was then that I realized, he was right. I had become comfortable, a dangerous thing to be in our field of work. I had become so comfortable and confident that what we had was working, I had forgotten that as Salesians we can’t stop. There are always youth in need and always more to reach out to that have not yet been touched by God. This began the creation of what many of you now know as our We Care Youth Development Program.

We Care is an after school program for TK through 8th grade student in the area. The school next door had over 80 kids on their after school waitlist! And that was just one school! That means that is 80 kids that walk home and are by themselves without adult supervision because the public schools in the area just don’t have the room to support them. We saw the need and did our best to accommodate. We Care is now going on it’s second year of teaching the kids values, tutoring, and leadership games. It has grown from 3 kids to a current 40 and still rising. The program is the only of it’s kind in the area because at Savio, due to our amazing youth participation we have 5 staff members for every 10 kids with at least 2 or more volunteers for each 10. Because of our compassion and presence to the students in our program, they have transformed immensely. So many of them do not come form the best homes or environments. You can tell from their ragged clothes or their 80’s & 90’s backpacks that they do with what they can. We strive in the program to give them all we can because through our love we feel we can make up for what they may lack in material items. Love in this program is essential, because you see these kids yearn for it. The program is beautiful and has taught me to never become comfortable and always search for more because there is always a need, sometimes we’re just blind to it.