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Challenging Young People to Go the Extra Mile

STUDENT LEADERS’ ASSEMBLY 2017: Challenging Young People to Go the Extra Mile

16 August 2017, Makati City, the Philippines—Last August 15 and 16, 2017, around 400 student leaders from the different Don Bosco schools in the FIN Province gathered at Don Bosco Technical College in Mandaluyong City for their meeting and formation. This annual event started in 2001 when the FIN province celebrated the 50th year of presence of Don Bosco in the country and it has since then been an important event for the different schools in the province.

The Student Leaders’ Assembly or SLA aims at drawing together youth leaders from the different Don Bosco schools in order to share their experiences, to celebrate their shared identity as Bosconians, and to receive input on important topics. The event is supported by the Commission on Youth Ministry’s Office for the Development of the Educational Apostolate (ODEA), but the entire event from planning to execution is all done by the students themselves. Representatives from the different schools meet as early as summer (usually in March or April) to begin planning for the event.

This year’s theme focused on challenging student leaders to go beyond what is expected of them –  beyond the minimum. The organizers also chose health and well-being as its advocacy. Through conferences given by renowned speakers, group activities, cultural presentations and prayer experience the message of the gathering has been shared to all the participants. Participants were also given chance to visit and interact with residents of a rehabilitation center and of a home for the aged. Each of the activity was capped by processing and sharing by the participants.

The event concluded with a Eucharistic celebration held in Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati City. For the closing remarks, the Vice President of the Philippines, Her Excellency Leonor ‘Leni’ G. Robredo, was kind enough to grace the occasion and give the concluding message to all the participants to this year’s SLA. In her speech, she challenged all those gathered in Don Bosco Makati especially the young people, to be leaders with empathy. She said: “If we are going to effectively build our nation, we need the heart of young people for selfless service—and that begins by looking and listening to our people with empathy. I believe that leaders fueled with empathy who put others’ need before their own, are the kind of leaders that we need.”​

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by Maui Gloria & James Wong

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