Posted September 15, 2004
“To Dream A Big Dream”: Ministering to
At-Risk Children and Adolescents in Brazil
A Success Well Worth Duplicating in the United States
Taken from the Holy Cross Magazine:
CSC International, Vol. XV No 1 - 2004
The one who visits the center of Pastoral do Menor (PAMEN) in Santerem-Para, is very much touched by the ministry done by Brother Ronald Hein, CSC. In response to the urgent problem afflicting at-risk children and adolescents in Santerem-Para, he founded the Pastoral do Menor at the request of the local bishop. Presently more than 900 boys and girls participate in the programs offered by the center.
The PAMEN attends children and adolescents:
- who live at-risk situations in and outside of the home;
- who live on the streets;
- who work on the streets;
- who work in the city dump, and in the charcoal fields;
- in conflict with the law;
- in sexual abuse situations.
The PAMEN coordinates the Forum of non-government organizations which defend the rights of the child and adolescent.
Though they are unique persons created by God’s image, many children and adolescents live in situations abusive of their rights and dignity. In the tradition of Holy Cross, inspired by Venerable Father Basil Moreau, PAMEN offers boys and girls a holistic formation which betters their lives and prepares them to be agents of a new society. Programs of formation of body, mind, and spirit are provided in a secure environment.
Body: health education, medical and dental attention, nutrition, bathing facilities, supervised pay and sports activities.
Mind: cultural development through music, art and dance, tutoring, computer training, development through music, development of trade skills in sewing and woodworking.
Spirit: Classes, group discussions and one-on-one attention to personal development, affectivity, human relations, integration of sexuality, orientation to God, prayer and celebration of the Word. Social issues which affect them and their families are discussed so that the formation fits their real life situation.
The center offers an atmosphere where values are taught and experienced. Different courses offer opportunities to discover one’s gifts, to grow in self-esteem and the ability to resist outside pressures. It is inspiring to see how the center works along with other organizations where boys and girls are abused. The friendly atmosphere of love, trust and confidence at the center give hope and new life to boys and girls who come there. The center helps hundreds of boys and girls to dream a big dream.