(Philippines). On 19 September 2021, on the occasion of its 31st anniversary, the Youth Assembly was held on line of the Laura Vicuña Foundation (LVF), of St. Mary Mazzarello Province (FIL) – partnership between the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and lay professionals /collaborators to address the needs and problems of street children.
The objective of the Assembly was to address issues relating to bullying and sexual soliciting in public environments and on the Internet, to help young people identify preventive behaviors to protect themselves and to relate to and surf the Web safely.
The Assembly was attended by about 1,000 young people and adults from the LVF Schools and Communities of Palawan, Leyte, DepEd Cadiz, Eulogio Rodriguez Elementary School-Mandaluyong, Cebu, Mindanao, Man-it Integrated School-Iloilo, Escalante, Victorias, LVF- CPC Marikina, Botocan, Culiat, Hillcrest, Bacood, Cavite, and Pinagkaisahan.
The three LVF Formators invited to present the issues highlighted that, according to various studies, it is both men and women who create with their behaviors, hostile and dangerous environments for children, young people, and even adults in schools, public places, workplaces, and on the Internet. In this regard, a law has been approved in the Philippines that penalizes whistles or provocative attitudes towards boys and girls, men and women.
The work of the Laura Vicuña Foundation, according to Don Bosco’s Preventive System, is aimed at educating and protecting young people with respect for their own dignity and the dignity of others, to form them as citizens responsible for their own behaviors and actions, to contribute to the common good of society.
Sr. Maria Victoria Santa Ana, FMA, CEO of LVF underlines, “In LVF there is no room for those who diminish, degrade or violate the dignity of any human being. Love, appreciation, and respect are in the blood of every member of the Laura Vicuña family”.
After the reports, the participants drew a shield with their commitments. Several participants shared tips on how to protect themselves in public spaces and online, ask for help or support from adults, and on the correct behaviors to promote to increase the safety of the environments.
The organization of Congresses, Assemblies, and online meetings by LVF, nourishes the team spirit and mutual support. “When it is necessary to build its own identity, the group offers experiences that promote responsibility, initiative, creativity, and working together. The free choice of belonging to a group, the continuity of the journey, the presence of adults, and the interaction with the social and ecclesial reality, make the group an effective mediation in the growth of young people.” (Guidelines for the Educational Mission of the FMA – LOME, 154)