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CHILE: Students Spearhead Successful Fundraising Drive to Launch Youth Band

(MissionNewswire) Students at La Cisterna (“The Tank”) Youth House in Santiago, Chile spearheaded a fundraising effort in May 2016, to finance the equipment for a youth band. Thanks to their efforts and support of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, their project was a success. Students were able to purchase two electric guitars and amplifiers; a bass guitar and amplifier; a set of cymbals; a bass drum; a sound console and complete set of speakers; and all the necessary accessories.

In addition, an alumnus of La Cisterna has already commissioned the design for a special, acoustically insulated room for practice sessions. Band members will raise the additional funds required to complete the room through future performances.

“Although there is much celebration of a band, we actually have five different groups who will utilize the instruments,” says Father Alberto Lorenzelli, provincial of Santiago. “There has been so much interest in the new instruments we have acquired that we wanted to make them available to as many girls and boys as possible.”

First established in 1969, La Cisterna serves economically disadvantaged parish and local youth for whom opportunities—educational, recreational and social—are otherwise scarce. Every day, more than 300 children participate in sports, art, dance and other activities that help develop their self-esteem, confidence and connections with others. And now, thanks to the initiative of 28 of their peers, they can explore new avenues of expression through an inaugural youth band.

“Musical participation, and the mutual sharing of artistic talents, can strengthen bonds among youth as they work together toward common goals, such as a public concert,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions. “And learning to master an instrument helps youth develop confidence and a sense of self-worth—both of which are so crucial to their success in life. We are pleased to support this project in Santiago, which is only possible thanks to the generosity of our many friends.”

Band members haven’t wasted any time in scheduling or performing public concerts. They have already performed in a musical competition honoring Don Bosco’s 201st birthday; have played classic Chilean rock before a crowd of 700 during Fiestas Patrias (a Chilean national holiday) in September; and entertained another 600 people during a concert at the Salesian College in Santiago. They also play at Sunday Mass and other parish- and oratory-related events.

“While there is a clear benefit to the band members, the greater community benefits as well,” says Fr. Lorenzelli. “It’s a pleasure to see hundreds of local families coming together to enjoy the talents of our youth. In this sense, music is helping to build a better community.”

Salesian schools, social development services and workforce development programs throughout Chile are helping to break the cycle of poverty while giving many hope for a more positive and productive future. According to the World Bank, although the economy in Chile is one of the more stable and prosperous in Latin America, a little more than 5 percent of the population live on just $2 a day. The country suffers from high economic inequality which is particularly evident in access to educational opportunities.

Salesian technical schools in Chile cater to students who have dropped out of school and are seeking a second chance. In many programs, students complete their education while engaging in internships with local employers to increase their hands-on work experience and chance of gaining livable wage employment after their studies are completed.



World Bank – Chile

(Photo Courtesy ANS)