Cascais (Portugal). For the second year in a row, Our Lady of the Rosary of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of Cascais, of Our Lady of Fatima Province (POR), won the “Volunteer School Award” of the Municipality of Cascais, which aims to promote good volunteer practices in the school community.

On 10 May 2024, in the courtyard of Esternato, in the presence of students, teachers, and the FMA Community, there was a solemn ceremony for the award, with the raising of the distinctive flag.

The event was attended by the Councilors of the Municipality of Cascais: Frederico de Almeida, Education; José d’Almeida, Citizenship and Participation, and Frederico Nunes, Sports, Employment, and Youth. The official delegation also included other organizations, such as the President of the Portuguese Confederation of Volunteers, Prof. Eugénio Fonseca; several members of the Parish Council of Cascais-Estoril; the volunteer group of the Municipality of Cascais, and others.

The Principal of the School, Sister Maria das Dores Rodrigues, welcomed the authorities, expressing her gratitude and joy for the recognition of the winning project, “Let us advance in the dream of a fraternal world” in this significant year, which Cascais is the Portuguese Volunteer Capital.

The Pedagogical Director, Prof. Ana Sofia Ferreira, illustrated the volunteer project, through the testimony of two secondary school students. The talks of Dr. Frederico de Almeida and Dr. José d’Almeida, with the delivery of the check with the financial consideration, to be used in the next project. The students of the Secondary School then cheered the moment with a musical performance and sang the school’s anthem.

The project “We advance in the dream of a fraternal world”, presented at the competition and realized during the year by the students, takes up the slogan of the pastoral year 2023/2024 of the Portuguese Province – “We advance in the dream.” It is placed in the spirit of the dream of St John Bosco, of which the Bicentenary is celebrated, to make the young protagonists in the transformation of the world. In this wake, the Educating Community stands as the heir and continuation of the Salesian charismatic dream of forming “good Christians and honest citizens”.

The realization of the project is certainly due to the tireless dedication of its coordinator and the accompaniment of teachers who encourage students – the main protagonists – to give the best of themselves.

Educating to volunteering is a matter of fidelity to the Charism and to the challenges of the present time. In a world in which individualism and profit prevail at all costs, it is essential to witness and propose experiences of free service, of attention to the other, whatever their origin and condition, addressing priority to the most fragile and disadvantaged, taking care of the intergenerational and intercultural relationship that opens, integrates, and enriches everyone.

The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians of Cascais thank the Municipality for the attention it has given to this dimension of volunteering as an educative challenge, as well as for the possibility of creating alliances. They also thank all the educational, social, and sports institutions that kindly open the doors to the students of the School, welcoming them.

As a Salesian school, we continue to “advance in the dream of a more fraternal world”, renewing our commitment to making the world more beautiful and firmly believing in the leadership of young people.


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