ITALY: At-risk youth meet with state representative
Salesian oratory Casa Valdocco holds annual educational soccer match
(MissionNewswire) The Salesian oratory Casa Valdocco in Torre Annunziata, Italy, held its annual soccer match on Dec. 21. The event brought together children from local communities and a representative of the National Association of Magistrates from the courthouse in Torre Annunziata. The event enabled youth to ask questions of their state representative and participate in a debate. It was an open dialogue for learning and sharing.
The event was coordinated by Father Antonio Carbone, president of the Small Steps, Big Dreams Association with support from Salesian educators. Small Steps, Big Dreams Association provides a range of educational programs and social development services for at-risk youth.
The organization manages homes for youth including two in Torre Annunziata, one in Caserta, one in Naples and three in Puglia. Father Luigi Cella, a Salesian in the region noted, “We take care of youth who are in situations that require greater educational attention.”
Small Steps, Big Dreams Association also launched the successful pizza maker educational course in 2020. The course is provided through Casa Valdocco, and students who attended the course received a pizza chef certificate, recognized by the Campania Region.
The first class was such a success that the program continued with other training sessions. The course for pizza makers is training youth ages 16-18 who are at risk of social marginalization. The goal is to help them gain a skill to find employment.
Poverty rose sharply in 2020 to its highest level in 15 years as the COVID-19 crisis brought economic challenges for much of the country. Close to 5.6 million people or 9.4 percent of the population are living in absolute poverty unable to buy goods or services to achieve a minimally acceptable standard of living, according to the World Bank. This number includes 1.3 million minors.
Salesian programs across Italy help youth who are unable to attend school and others who drop out to work at the few jobs available to them. A growing number of children work as laborers on farms and others have turned to the sex trade to help support their families. Those in poverty often live without adequate shelter, hot water, regular meals and health care.
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Salesian Missions – Italy
World Bank – Italy