The work of caring for approximately 100 boys requires the dedication of many layers of men and women who become surrogate parents to the boys.
BOYS IN CARE AT ST. JOHN BOSCO
The heart of any children’s home is the residential programme. The Home is first and foremost the child’s “yard”. Although education, trade training and other important life skills are critically important, the HOME aspect of life needs to be primary to instill the stability needed to grow in other areas of the child’s development.
Our 100 boys, ranging in age from 6 – 18+ come from a variety of disadvantaged backgrounds as follows; abandoned, homeless, neglected, abused, and extreme poverty. Many of these realities lead boys into a life of delinquency. The lives of the boys is a difficult one as many of them have no relative who visits, calls or takes any interest in their well-being. Some boys are moved from institution to institution or in and out of foster care. Trust levels are seriously eroded and boys come with varying levels of attachment disorders which makes any kind of “bonding” virtually impossible.
While the most important qualification needed for those who wish to help the boys is love, it also takes a healthy dose of structure and discipline. But while that may sound simple, it means loving the boys “as they are” and assisting in moving them to a place where they can achieve the skills needed to eventually become productive citizens of Jamaica. This is no small achievement given the level of discord with which the boys come and the tools we have to help them achieve independence and self respect.
The schedule for our boys is very structured which gives a great deal of stability to boys who have not had the security they needed in their early years. Developing a work ethic and minimizing violent and bullying behaviour is one of the major challenges facing the child care staff on a daily basis.
The six men that compose our residential child care staff are essential to the health and development of our boys. The staffs are fathers, friends, disciplinarians, counselors, mentors, teachers, confidants and so much more. Without the 24/7 presences of these dedicated men, this residential programme could not function. These “unsung heroes” are the backbone of St. John Bosco.
The Boys have a well organize Residential Program encompassing the following:
- Basic hygiene Manners and respect
- Care of their personal space, e.g. bed making, clothing, etc.
- General Christian development while respecting the various religious backgrounds from which the boys come
- Music therapy in the dormitory in the a.m. and p.m. to help reach those boys unable to articulate their particular area of dysfunction and to help with overall depression
- Recreational activities including sports days; outside football competition; basketball; cricket; Ping-Pong; boxing; kite flying, marbles etc.
- Daily work responsibilities and household chores
- Daily medical care through a licensed registered nurse
- Written progress reports done to track the progress of each boy
- Home searches 2 – 3 times per year to located relatives for boys who are deemed “homeless” (we have had good success in this area)
- Student Council which allows boys within the programme to help in the overall
- Management of the home 1| -Teaching of basic farming and animal husbandry practices to help with any future endeavors that the boys may have to help them earn a living