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"Villaggio dei Ragazzi – Don Salvartore D´Angelo" Foundation
ITALY | APOSTOLATE | NEWS
A summary of four years of management of the "Villaggio dei Ragazzi" Foundation, located in Maddaloni (Italy).

Sede actual del Villaggio

Following the death of its founder, Don Salvatore, the Legionaries of Christ were entrusted the management of the Villaggio dei Ragazzi Foundation, Italy’s “Boys Town” located in the city of Maddaloni.  Don Salvatore, who began the Foundation in 1947, had expressly desired this step as a way to give continuity to his worthy institution.  After several months of analysis and technical assessments, the Legionaries of Christ officially began overseeing it on April 4, 2001.  April 4th of this year marked the fourth anniversary of this event and the conclusion of the Congregation’s first governing cycle in the Villagio.

As president, I feel obliged to present a summary of these four years of management, responding not so much to a juridical duty, but to a responsibility I have to history, which surely will record these years as the first steps taken by the Villaggio and the Legionaries, in a
Comedor del Villaggio
journey that is destined, God willing, to last for many years and increasingly unite the two of them.

1.  Certainly, special attention must be given to the improvements made in the field of care for needy children.   Among the many initiatives developed to serve the more than 500 children now living in the Villaggio, we can highlight a few:

1.a. – We have adapted our educational methodology in order to better serve our students.  For example, we have doubled the teaching staff of teachers, adding 8 religious from the young Congregation of Discalced Carmelites of the Most Holy Trinity.  Certainly, this motherly presence among the children and adolescents has greatly contributed toward bettering the integral formation we strive to offer.

1.b. – We cannot forget to mention the newly created psychology department, as well as the renovations made to the medical-sanitary facilities and the Villagio’s infirmary.

1.c. – Moreover, this past year, we drew
Villaggio dei Ragazzi, carmelitas
up plans for modernizing the boarding students’ residential areas by building a residential unit with individual rooms (bed, closet, dresser, and desk).  We also received an important grant from the Peretti Foundation.

2. – Also, the sector for assisting part-time residents has taken an important step by opening a program offering evening classes, from lunchtime until 6:00 pm, as an alternative way to make up studies and engage in other activities, such as sports, theater, and manual work.  This is made possible thanks to the help of volunteers, who, with admirable attention and interest, have enabled us to develop a variety of athletic, cultural, and formative activities.

Although we have not been able to acquire a sporting facility – a goal we have set for this next governing cycle– our young people have been able to use nearby facilities (soccer fields, basketball courts, swimming pools, etc.), thanks to two buses that were made available to the foundation.  In this way, our boys have been able to enjoy a variety of sports.

3. – Great efforts have been invested in the Foundation’s School, which now serves almost 1,500 students.  Important steps taken in this area include:

3.a.Within these four years, the total number of students in our schools has increased from 950 to 1,450.  This means that, while the number of resident students has remained at 450, the number of outside students has doubled, particularly in the high school.

3.b. – This notable increase, which promises to continue in the future, has required that we increase the number of classrooms by approximately 35%.  What is more, we have done renovations in almost all of the previously existing classrooms, notably increasing their usefulness and general appearance.

3.c. – The current schools, (pre-school, elementary and middle schools, schools of linguistics and industrial techniques, higher institute of translation
Villaggio dei ragazzi - D. Salvatore
Fr Salvatore D'Angelo, founder of Boys' Town
and interpretation) have been created in accordance with legal standards and thus, during this period our schools have received official recognition from the Minister of Education as “Instituciones Paritarias”.  With a lot of effort, the ISIT has become SSML (Superior School of Linguistic Mediation.)

3.d. – However, the updating procedure has been directed not only toward achieving these goals, but also toward answering the demands of our times, as we can be seen in the following examples:

* The Liceo Lingüístico Europeo has become a national point of reference for its courses in Arabic.  For the first time in Italy, it has sent students to take the state examinations for entering university in this language that is so important for the Mediterranean area.

* Thanks to an important contribution made by ENEL within the last months, the Technical Industrial Institute will soon have 4 new laboratories and 3 classrooms equipped with technology valued at around 665,000 euros.  This will mark a new stage in its history and place it among the most modern of its kind in Europe.

4.  Also, several other new schools have been created, including:

4.a.The Center for Professional Formation, accredited to Region Campania, which offers several courses to students who have completed middle schools.  The courses are normally offered in the evenings.

4.b. – The Virtual Institute for Higher Studies, the first academic videoconferencing center in south Italy (with two virtual classrooms).  It was solemnly inaugurated by Senator Giulio Andreotti and President Bassolino.  This year, more than 200 people have passed through its various courses and masters programs, including bioethics, psychology, ecology, woman’s studies, exorcism, religious sciences, and many
Membri del Villaggio salutano Papa Giovanni Paolo II.
other academic activities offered thanks to the new top-of-the-line technology.

4.c.Psychological Institute for overall human development, which thus far has offered two three-year courses, an intensive summer course (offered in collaboration with the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Washington), and other conventions and conferences.

4.d.The State Elementary School of Santo Domingo has been added to those already belonging to the Foundation, thereby significantly increasing the Foundation’s presence in the academic world of Maddaloni.

5. – In order to increase the level of integral formation offered in our schools, we have implemented a disciplinary and educative Rule.  This has already begun to give very positive results, and we hope it will continue to assure favorable fruits for the future.  Moreover, we have made a continual effort for the students (boys and girls in grade school and junior high) to wear their school uniform.

6. – Particular attention should be given to the promotion of culture.  Current programs include:

6.a. – The creation of the Tertio Millennio Cultural Center, dedicated to spreading Christian culture and to promoting dialogue with contemporary culture.  The center, inaugurated by Cardinal Paul Poupard in November of 2001, has carried out many activities of scope and transcendence, including:

*The
Laboratorio di fisica
Congress on the “Youth in the midst of esotericism and new forms of religiosity.”

*The National Congress on Bioethics “The Human Embryo: statute, experimentation, law.”

* “The Environment and Technological Progress,” held in the Palacio de Caserta.

* National Congress concerning centers for the assistance of minors and the vision for the future of the same, held in May of 2004.

* Many other conferences, including: “The Man of the Holy Shroud”, “International Terrorism”, and “Pius XII and the Jews”.

*Presentations of books, such as “Bioética para todos.”
 
6.b. – We have begun the beautiful tradition of holding a celebration in honor of Don Salvatore, in the week of May 30th, the day of his death.  The event includes a full variety of cultural initiatives, sacred art shows, book presentations, theatrical works, concerts, conferences, and more.

6.c. – Finally, perhaps it would good to recall some of the moments that have firmly established the Villaggio’s presence in the area.

* The revamping and increasing renown of the Villaggio dei Ragazzi’s Historic Musical Band.

* Premier of “The Passion of the Christ” by Mel Gibson.

* Exposition of the original, complete sculpture of “The Man of the Holy Shroud” by Luigi E. Mattei, which received over 10,000 visitors.

* Art show by Professor Franco Viola in San Leucio di Caserta.

* Closing of the “Maddaloni Ciudad Educativa” Initiative, with hundreds of participants.

7. – In a youth establishment like ours,
Laboratorio di modifiche video.
sports and recreation should have an extremely important role.  For this reason, on top of the activities normally offered in the Torre Pedrera summer camp, during these four years we have continued previously existing programs, such as the “Padre La Farina” tournament, among the children of the Villaggio.  Other sporting events, such as skating and bicycling, have also been added.  Other newly-added activities include:

7.a. – Participation in the “National Friendship Tournament”, held in Rome (2002), Bolonia (2003) and Florence (2004).  Hopefully this will become a highly anticipated tradition for our boys.

7.b. – Creation of the “Friends of Peace” Provincial Indoor Soccer Tournament organized in the province of Caserta by the Legionaries of Christ. Nearly 150 adolescents participated in the first tournament, held earlier this year.

7.c. – The “Jóvenes Audi” Tournament, organized in memory of our little guest who tragically died last summer.

7.d.“CorreMaddaloni”, a competition that has attracted a considerable amount of participation and enthusiasm among the residents of Maddaloni in past years.  But that is not all.  This year, preparations are being made for the “CuartaCorreMaddaloni,” in which thousands are expected to participate.

8. – One of Don Salvatore’s greatest desires was that Christian living be promoted among the youth.  The dedication of the Legionaries of Christ to this area is well known. Among the many initiatives we have promoted, we can mention:

8.a.Clubs for children and adolescents, active throughout the province of Caserta.  These clubs, including Club Everest, Club Edelweiss, Club Mont Blanc, Club Olympus, Club Highlands,
Miembros del Club Everest de Maddaloni, Italia
and Club NET, serve to teach human and religious values to the youngest members of society and to prevent idleness among the youth.

8.b. – Involving the youth in a local volunteer program and starting new activities such as “Youth Rosary for Peace”, “Angel for a Day” (which has had more than 2,000 participants in its almost four years of existence), “Youth for the Third Millennium”, “Christmas for Everyone” (which since the year 2000 has gathered hundreds of kilos of food stuffs for Caserta’s most needy families,) and many more.

9. – From an administrative point of view, we have made great efforts to strengthen the professional management of each sector.  It suffices to mention the re-organization of the administrative personnel, the modernization of the accounting system, the renewal of the collective work contracts, the improvement of our insurance policies, the general improvement of the buildings, the system of intercommunication, the modernization of the audiovisual center, etc.  Recently, the Villaggio received an ISO 9001 certificate of quality from the German certification organism TÜV CERT for the social services it provides to minors and the elderly.

10. – During this time, relations between the “Villagio dei Ragazzi” Foundation and various local entities have been carefully handled, resulting in excellent relations on all levels, beginning with the Municipal Government of Maddaloni.

10.a. – In July of 2004, Maddaloni’s Town Council unanimously expressed its total nearness, support, and appreciation for the Villaggio and for the management of the Legionaries of Christ.  In other words, the
Miembros del Club Everest de Maddaloni, Italia en capilla
contract between the Foundation and the state school system has been renewed and amplified.

10.b. – The contract with the Province of Caserta was been increased by 20% this past year.

10.c. – Also, the contract with the Region of Campania, renewed at the end of the year 2000, will last until 2006, at which time the Foundation should take a step toward acquiring a new status in the Statutes, in accordance with the prescriptions set by new national and regional laws.

I feel the need of thanking those who have so generously supported the Foundation during these years, making it possible for us to reach these objectives.  There is much still to be done, and we keep our eyes fixed on God’s providence, who will guide Semper Altius (Always Higher) the Villaggio that was born thanks to the dedication of Don Salvatore, and which in 2007 will celebrate 60 years of service to the youth and the most marginalized.


PUBLICATION DATE: 2005-07-13


 
 

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