The essence of Vincentian Pedagogical Activity is the strengthening of humanized and humanizing knowledge, with special attention to the most vulnerable members of society, and guided by human, Christian and Vincentian values. For this reason, through very diverse learning situations, we attempt to promote the experience of these values which will enable people to engage in a process that leads to the development of their spirituality and creativity, as well as a spirit of solidarity and welcoming, dialogue and collaboration … all of which are the hallmarks of Vincentian Education.
As a result of this practice, the Immaculate Conception School (Barbacena, Brazil) is already reaping the fruits of the campaigns and projects that were developed throughout 2019. We can cite, for example, those that were undertaken as a result of the initiative of the elementary school children. In addition to contributing to these projects with their ideas, the children participated in every stage of the development of these activities.
As reported in the newspaper “Folla de Barbacena” (edition #373 and dated April 17 2019), a group of fifth year students began a campaign to collect 140 books filled with stamps, in order to exchange them for a wheelchair that would be donated to a person or institution in need … this campaign was initiated in March with the support of the teachers at the school. In addition to collecting these books filled with the stamps, the students asked people to commit themselves to the preservation of the environment. This campaign, in which the families of all the students of the school and the school community participated, was part of the “Good Fruits” Project, created by the students in 2018. Some 350,000 stamps have already been collected and the students are preparing to exchange these stamps for the wheelchair.
Another very significant initiative took place during the months of August and September. One of the fourth-year students, with the help of the other children, including the very youngest, collected dozens of food products and on the feast of St. Vincent de Paul this food was organized into 25 food baskets which were distributed to families in need.
In October, especially during Children’s Week, another project (“Spreading Goodness”), developed by two fifth-year students took place. Part of the proceeds that were collected was donated to the Women’s Shelter. Flavia Murta, a representative from this shelter, said: “The goal of donating toys to the Women’s Shelter is to welcome the children who are the victims of domestic and sexual violence and in some small way to relieve their suffering and to encourage them to take the next step in their growth. Even here in this shelter there is a structure that seeks to respect and to recognition the dignity of children.”
Therefore, encouraging these and many other actions, the Immaculate Conception School seeks to put into practice one of the teachings of St. Vincent de Paul: “There is no true LOVE unless it is shared.”
Adriana Orlando Fernandes,
Coordinator of the Elementary School – Early Years
Translated: Charles T. Plock, CM
Eastern Province, USA