Italy – Seeds of hope: a new semi-residential Community at Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco

(ANS – Rome) – A new service aimed at young people between 10 and 16 years was opened recently at the Salesian Don Bosco Boys’ Town (Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco) in Rome.  It is a semi-residential community, a day care facility for children in difficult conditions, who are sent by the social services of the area.

The project was started as a response to a specific need in the area to safeguard the rights of children and adolescents. It hopes to create a fruitful collaboration between departments to promote social and educational action on behalf of children and families.

The premises were inaugurated in January, but the actual opening had to wait for the completion of some details and all the necessary authorizations. In June the first young people came, nine of them so far. They are young people in need, victims of the current deep economic and social crisis. They are from families where there are many problems. They need timely intervention so that their difficult situation does not get worse, leading to the removal of the young people from their family of origin.

The young people still live with their own family, but spend the afternoon in a specific educational environment, such as this semi-residential community.  Here, through study and play and family moments such as lunch, they learn to strengthen their emotional relationships and to build a social network of support in addition to their family.

The term “semi-residential” is not accidental: it is “semi” because it needs to work in synergy and networking, primarily, with the family and then with the school and other educational institutions frequented by the young people. At the same time it is “semi” because it is a seed which contains all the potential to bear fruit. [The Italian for seed is ‘seme’]. The seed needs good soil (a serene and healthy educational environment), water and nourishment (positive stimuli in the different dimensions of personality), nursing, care, competence (educators, volunteers, and individual work).

If we take good care of the “seeds” we will not need a “residential” intervention to wait for the flowers and the fruits.

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