CAGLIERO missionary volunteer project started by the AUL province in 2007, is at the moment probably the best established volunteer program in the EAO region. One article of this newsletter n.16.
What is a Salesian volunteer?
by Romina Martiniello
Romina reflects on the top five characteristics of what it means embrace the spirit and
example of Don Bosco as a Salesian volunteer.
Being present is a way of actively being with young people that always prioritises their welfare and best interests. By being physically and emotionally present, we establish relationships that are based on respect, equality and cooperation, rather than fear and
superiority. Being present means engaging with young people and interacting with them through speaking and listening, playing and praying, laughing and crying, encouraging and challenging, correcting and guiding. in the everyday encounters with young people that we share lives and ourselves. When we love what young people love, they learn to love what we love. In this way, we are able to communicate the presence of God’s love to young people through the everyday rhythms of as a Salesian volunteer.
Salesian joy is deeper than the superficial or short lasting spurts of happiness that we all experience on day-to-day basis. It is deeper than joy we feel after winning a game of football, receiving some mail from home or even after one our students achieves a new
goal. It is an underlying joy that comes from the knowledge that we are unconditionally loved and valued by God. This deep sense of happiness shines through in all that we do. It
can be seen in the way we use humour to connect with young people, in the way we always
expect the best and not the worst from each other and in the way we carry ourselves as positive thinkers and contributors.
The ability to be reflective and contemplative is so important as a volunteer living in an often fast-paced and highly stimulating environment. It is crucial to be able to look back on the events of the day with a sense of clarity. To do this, we can look to the example of
Don Bosco, whose spiritual foundation and underlying peace was nourished by the gospels. Don Bosco was able to reflect on the events in his life using the example of Jesus as his constant guide and support. The lessons that we find in scripture provide the peace of mind
that we need to be good reflective thinkers in our work as Salesian volunteers. It is necessary to have fundamental spiritual values, that are strong and unwavering, so they
can provide the support we need to reflect, examine and look ahead.
Teaching is at the core of all Salesian mission works. Whether the setting is a formal school,
orphanage, boarding house or technical centre – where there are young people, there will always be teach and to learn. While education may come in the form of teaching English,
hospitality or mechanics skills, a true Salesian education is one of the heart. It is in the way we teach young people, not necessarily what we teach them. There are many ways to teach English language skills, but the Salesian way is to do so with a genuine love and respect
for young people, so they may reach their potential as good people and honest citizens.
Being genuinely open to diverse cultures, religions, customs and traditions is a very important skill. The ability to be flexible is particularly crucial for Salesian volunteers who often work in settings that are culturally and religiously pluralistic. Flexibility also entails moving beyond the parameters of a ‘job description’ and assessing the needs and
context of each individual placement in order to have the greatest possible impact. Open
mindedness is also a trait that goes hand in hand with flexibility. A Salesian volunteer needs to be flexible, open and adaptable to their host community and country.
DO YOU WANT TO
We are currently accepting applications for departures in January 2016. These will be
accepted until October 15, 2015. Visit: