“Love must be placed more in actions than in words”
(S. Ignazio di Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, n.230)
Educating our kids and lead them to a human and spiritual excellence in addition to the academic one, it doesn’t only mean to instruct them, but also to educate them as men and women who are generously open towards the others and towards the social context in which they live. The campus offers some concrete opportunities to live the beauty of the service and the good relationships with who they meet. With the coordination of some of their teachers and other competent people of some city realities, the students are involved in some activities to learn about various experiences of poverty and fragility, and invited to set in motion the mind, heart, hands and feet to seek and find intelligent solutions to help others. The goal is to make all young people who approach this fascinating world aware that volunteering is not limited to the gift of money, which is also beneficial, but to the gift of oneself, which is concretized in the gift of one’s time, own organizational capacity and priorities. Membership and the choice of the activity in which to provide one’s service is naturally free. In addition, each student who joins is assigned an adult who plays the role of “tutor” for the smooth running of the service, for the accompaniment in volunteering situations for a more conscious re-reading of their experience.
In the first two years of the Second Grade Secondary School and ISP, pupils are included in a service and volunteer training course, compatibly with school commitments. During the school year each student, accompanied by a tutor, knows three different social realities:
- Mother Teresa’s Garden (nursery and kindergarten for children of immigrants in the historic center of Palermo);
- Centro Astalli (after-school with migrants);
- Oasi Verde (residential structure for non self-sufficient disabled people). According to a schedule, the kids go to each institution twice, gaining service experience and rereading the experience.
The experiences of social service and volunteering
In the second two-year period of the Second Grade Secondary School and for the fifth year students, thanks to the collaboration with some local institutions and associations, a concrete proposal of solidarity activities in PCTO (formerly School-Work Alternation) is addressed, to be carried out in different places in the city and with all kinds of characteristics:
- Centro Astalli (after-school and Italian school for migrants);
- Oasi Verde (accompanying the disabled);
- Lievito Association (animation with children and young people from difficult neighborhoods);
- Mission of Hope and Charity by Brother Biagio Conte.
The service at the Mission of Hope and Charity is taken care of above all by some students of the three-year period, by some professors and by some parents. In favor of the Mission, which welcomes homeless people and immigrants, monthly collections of food and basic necessities are organized, which are delivered by the students themselves to the structure. On this occasion, the pupils also do voluntary service within the Mission (girls in the women’s section, boys in the men’s section).
Training experiences for active, creative and sustainable citizenship (in collaboration with the “Pedro Arrupe” Institute of Political Education and local associations):
- Magis Project and Legality Project; the goal is political training for a widespread leadership of young people in the area.
- “Casa Nostra” project: a research-action path on integral ecology (five years after the publication by Pope Francis of the encyclical Laudato Sì).
Political training for participatory, widespread and shared leadership: Accompaniment to the assumption of responsibility and solidarity in actions inclusive of foreign people and marginal realities of our city by pupils and alumni of the Gonzaga Institute.