ITALY: School gains new soccer field
Salesian missionaries inaugurate new soccer field at the Don Bosco Institute in Schio
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries have inaugurated a new soccer field at the Don Bosco Institute in Schio, Italy. The event was organized by the Salesian Youth Sports Club Concordia Football (soccer). The institute is celebrating its 120th anniversary. The new field boasts a synthetic turf made of recyclable plastic and LED lighting. It was made possible through private funders with the city administration.
A huge crowd gathered to celebrate the new field and included Roberto Baggio, a legendary Italian soccer player and winner of numerous national and international titles. He was joined by the city’s mayor, Valter Orsi, as well as Father Juan Carlos Pérez Godoy, councilor for the Mediterranean region, and Father Enrico Gaetan, rector of the Don Bosco Institute Schio.
Fr. Gaetan said, “Our goal is to offer young people a space that is increasingly within their reach for their formation and growth. The football field is the first step in a larger project. The school is now completed and the oratory will be finished next spring.”
The Salesian youth club has 90 players who attended the event and were able to ask Baggio about his career and what soccer meant to him.
“The true beauty is to feel joy for what you do. To feel the pleasure of playing because football is something wonderful. It is important to feel privileged, when you play sports, because many people cannot do it,” said Baggio at the event. “You cannot think that you can achieve your objectives if you do not also go through failures. Passion, perseverance, and determination make all the difference. You have to learn from sacrifices and failures.”
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, a memorial plaque was unveiled. The celebration continued with the inaugural game, the presentation of the teams in the arena, a toast and an informal moment for greetings with the guest of honor.
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.
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.
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Salesian Missions – Italy
World Bank – Italy