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ITALY: Center celebrates 15 years

Salesian Il Traghetto Day Center

Salesian Il Traghetto Day Center educates, supports youth at risk


(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Il Traghetto (the ferry) Day Center in La Spezia, Italy, has been working with youth ages 6-18 for the past 15 years. The center was founded in 2009 by Father Antonio Integlia, who is now a missionary in Patagonia. In 2010, full activities began at the center with the support of Dr. Stefania Branchini, director of the Sociosanitary District, and funding from the Carispezia Foundation. The Municipality of La Spezia has been supporting the center for the last four years and has praised its work with youth.

Luca Vergassola, coordinator at the center, said, “We are in the fourth year of funding because the municipal administration has positively evaluated our activity. There was never such a day center in the city.”

The center has a capacity for 25 youth. It also offers the Safe Harbor project for youth who have spent time at the center, left to be on their own, but need support again down the road.

Like many organizations, the center had to reinvent itself during the COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic period. Vergassola explained, “We tried to ensure that all youth had a chance to continue their education. We opened in the morning and served breakfast and then those students who could take courses remotely did so. The others we supported in still accessing their lessons at the center.”

The 15th anniversary was celebrated close to the feast of Don Bosco on Jan. 28. Father Giorgio Mocci, director of the center, said, “The extraordinary daily educational work that takes place in the day center is the result of shared effort of the La Spezia Educative, the Salesian pastoral community and the educational passion of the educators, to whom go the best wishes and thanks of all of us.”

The event was attended by Father Francesco Preite, president of Salesians for Social APS. He noted, “The day center is a way of combating educational poverty and fundamental educational prevention in a country like Italy which, unfortunately, has about 1.4 million minors in absolute poverty. Promoting organizations like the center is a guarantee of future growth of a community and the entire country.”

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.



ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS) 

ANS – Italy – 15 years of service to young people in difficulty: the experience of the Il Traghetto Day Centre at La Spezia

Salesian Missions – Italy

World Bank – Italy