These smiles, spread across generations, are made possible thanks to “Giovani per pace,” a youth movement committed to improving cities, schools, and the life of those who live there.
One of their main programs is entitled “Schools of Peace,” a place that children who grow up in poor conditions can attend. It is linked to the Sant'Egidio community, one of the most actively involved Catholic organizations regarding the promotion of peace.
Giovani per la pace
“This initiative grew out of the Community of St. Egidio, with the belief that the poor must be met, concretely signifying a point of hope for the children, which is something not seen in our cities. Therefore, after school we made a 'free school' in the peripheries in Italy and around the world.”
As the children continue to attend these schools, the changes that the volunteers see in them are monumental. All it takes is giving someone a little extra time, and making sure they are cared for.
Giovani per la pace
“Education is like a tree, one has to continually work to bear fruit, and we see that in the School of Peace. The children that live in places of violence learn here how to communicate the rules with others. FLASH For example, when we play soccer, because we are in Italy, and there is a foul, the child does not react poorly. This seems small, but in reality it is large.”
However, what makes this movement stand out above the rest is that it also includes some of society's oldest members.
Giovanni per la pace
“We are located in more than sixty countries, but we do not forget the elderly, because they are also the future, and we cannot forget that. We go to visit the nursing homes because one of the greatest problems for the elderly is loneliness.”
This movement of young people, along with their Schools of Peace, are a shining example of what Pope Francis highlights in his pontificate: go to the peripheries, encourage the youth to dream, and learn from the wisdom of our elders.