“Youth and Life” Home in Cuautla de Morelos (Mexico)

by | Sep 6, 2021 | Formation, Reflections, Vincentian Family

“Youth and Life” is a civil association founded in 2002 by Father Miguel Blázquez Avix, CM  dedicated to protecting at risk children by providing them with a home. It functions as a non-profit organization which allows the organization to develop a clean and safe environment.

Webpage: https://juventudyvida.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juventudyvidaAC/

There is such an arsenal of child protection documents and laws that one would think that our children and adolescents are the most protected and happy individuals in the country. However, something very serious must be failing when we see that the number of children on the street is increasing year after year.

There is no lack of studies and statistics on the causes, the size of the population of children on the streets, the reasons for their permanence, their place of residence in public spaces, etc. I know that, among the causes listed in the statistics, the main one is the family (call it family violence, family disintegration, family problems, etc.).

A study carried out in Mexico City made a series of statements that could be applicable to any other part of the country: “Street girls, boys and adolescents are clear evidence of the rupture in the social fabric of our country.”

However, it was not from these considerations, studies and statistics that the Youth and Life project in Cuautla de Morelos emerged. We didn’t even know, at first, how many street children and adolescents were in the city. The project developed from the disturbing vision of the great number of children and adolescents on the street, in front of the traffic lights, doing everything: cleaning windshield wipers, jugglers, fire eaters or, simply, begging; and most with the inevitable “bag” in hand (used for sniffing glue). Suffering indifference from citizens and authorities, abuse at the hand of law enforcement officials, under nourished, homeless etc. They left their homes and as a confirmation of the popular saying: “they jumped from the frying pan and fell into the fire.”.

Only later did we learn that the population of these street children and adolescents was extremely high. If in Mexico City it is one child for every thousand inhabitants, in Cuautla it was two for every thousand.

In such a situation, there was no other way than to get to work and to do something, no matter how insignificant. We did not begin with a goal. It was just about providing relief: feeding them, providing them with clean clothes, a place to clean up and share with them a few moments of affection, friendship, the human warmth from some volunteers at the parish of St. Ana de Cuautlixco. But then we watched them return to their same sad situation after those brief moment of relief.

What followed next was not the result of a pre-established plan: the dining room and then, the Home. Even now, with the Home fully operational, we still ask ourselves: How did this happen? Where did all this come from? How is it sustained? How are we able to provide these young people with food, education, health care, and clothing? How are we able to provide our staff with a salary? And how are we able to do this day after day? We have been doing this for nine years and the fruits are just beginning to be seen; After eight or nine years of perseverance, two or three young people who entered as very young children are off the streets and now engaged in a struggle to give meaning to their life.

The current population of the House is 25 inhabitants, including children, adolescents and some individuals who are 18-year-old people (the house has a capacity for 48 individuals).

Since its inception in 2002,  Youth and Life  has gone through many experiences and many children have gone through the Youth and Life program. Some did not get to know the last stage, the construction of the Home. Almost a dozen of them me with a violent death on the streets; others, already young men, have been imprisoned and some have been released. The Home came a little late for them.

Since the Home was inaugurated in 2012, many children have passed through its doors and abandoned it for different reasons: they long for the street and the freedom it provides; the relatives who at the time gave their endorsement, now want the children returned to them; others have been sent to more experienced institutions, where they have also ended up leaving.

But this does not change the spirit of the House nor the exemplary dedication of its staff. We are convinced that a single rescued life is important and worthwhile. Like any other products, the quantity counts; when it comes to lives, one life is already a blessing.

I could not finish this brief exposition of the work of the Youth and Life Home without inviting you to become aware of this enormous problem posed by these thousands of children and young people at serious risk and to take part in this beautiful project of providing them with wings so that one day they might fly.

Fr. Miguel Blázquez A. c.m.
Source: “Evangelio y Vida”, comentarios a los evangelios. México.

Tags: Mexico