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MEXICO: Youth at border take part in summer activities

Salesian Tijuana Project holds summer camp for more than 400 youth


(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries with the Tijuana Project run a summer camp in Tijuana, Mexico, that offers children a chance to engage with their peers in a safe environment. They can play and engage in fun activities while under the supervision of caring adults.

Since 1987, the Salesian Center in Tijuana has been providing services to migrants and poor youth living on the border between Mexico and the U.S. The goal of the project is to create an extensive educational network in areas where poor youth are at risk of social exclusion. The project took shape through Salesian oratories and educational centers where children grow up learning to share faith, culture, and sports within their communities.

The Salesian Center acts as a hub for migrants who, besides much-needed material help, are also offered a familiar and welcoming environment. They can access haircuts, a change of clothes, a shower and an opportunity to call and make contact with family. The Salesian Center also has a partnership with the Red Cross and local volunteer doctors who offer psychological and medical help and assistance.

More than 400 children and older youth took part in the camp, which was supported by 130 Salesian staff and volunteers. The camp was a respite for youth in a city that has been hit by a gruesome wave of violence, with more than 2,000 deaths in the first half of the year. Many innocent people have paid with their lives for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Salesians are trying to provide a place of peace for these youth. A Salesian missionary in Tijuana said, “We must be builders of peace with concrete actions, with convincing examples of life, but above all by telling the truth, by bearing witness to truth and justice in all our environments, especially in the youth environments of each of our works in Tijuana. Every Salesian playground we have played in these weeks has been a time of healthy sharing, a place where problems are solved without using physical and verbal violence.”

In addition to the camp, Salesians organized a March for Peace featuring shouts of joy and placards. Salesians, youth and lay collaborators marched through the streets of Tijuana. A Catholic Mass was held after the march, and then everyone viewed artistic and cultural presentations that were created during the summer camp.

The Salesian missionary added, “We cannot remain indifferent to the pain caused by delinquency and organized crime, which is why we want to imbue our spaces with the values that can promote peace and social justice.”



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

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