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Empowering Youth to Make a Difference: Visiting children on Skid Row a homeless neighborhood.

Written by Luis Chacon!

Yesterday's experience in Skid Row was a powerful demonstration of youth empowerment and the impact of community service. Last week, we continued our monthly homeless outreach, a tradition we’ve maintained for over three years. Each month, we prepare 600 sandwiches, pack them in paper bags with water and a granola bar, and distribute them to the homeless. This initiative began with a group of young people who wanted to make a difference in the world but didn’t know how. They were particularly moved by the difficulty of those living on the streets. I provided them with a platform and the resources to turn their vision into reality.

 

We started with just four young volunteers. Now, every month, we have between 50 and 60 volunteers who gather at the Salesian Family Youth Center or St. Mary’s Salesian Parish to prepare these care packages. This growth is a testament to the power of youth leadership and their desire to contribute positively to society.



Over the past few months, JC and I noticed a growing number of children living on the streets, unable to enjoy their childhood or have toys to play with due to their circumstances. We, along with other young volunteers, have been brainstorming ways to address this issue and bring some joy to these children’s lives.

 

Last week, we attempted to take some of these children to a nearby park. However, we realized they couldn’t leave their places in the lines for donations of food and clothing. So, this week, JC and I decided to change our approach. We went to where the children were lined up, played with them, and distributed toys and sweets.

 


Our event also included young representatives from St. Dominic Savio, Santa Isabel, and St. Mary’s Salesian Parishes, as well as student leaders from Roosevelt High School and Salesian High School Bishop Mora. We were also joined by young people from various other parishes and schools.

 

The empowerment of our youth is at the heart of our mission. These young volunteers are not just helping others; they are developing leadership skills, learning about empathy and compassion, and becoming active participants in their communities. Their dedication and energy are inspiring, and they show that young people can make a significant difference when given the opportunity and support.

 

Our experience in Skid Row is a reminder of the strength and impact of youth-led initiatives. Each act of kindness, no matter how small, contributes to a larger wave of compassion and support for those in need. Our journey continues, driven by the resilience of those we serve and the passion of our young volunteers. We are committed to making a difference, one sandwich, one smile, and one kind gesture at a time, and empowering the next generation to lead the way.



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