The Club’s outreach to teens from Boyle Heights on Friday nights has evolved into a dynamic pastoral program. Once a place for teens to gather on a Friday night, the Salesian Family Youth Center has become a destination where teen leaders interact with our revitalized staff and the 11 Salesian Novices. The twist: students, the laity, and Salesians intentionally working together to develop meaningful youth ministry.
“Prayer, Basketball & Jams” is a grassroots program where local high school leaders, the novices and Club staff all have taken ownership of the offerings. Prayer has evolved into mini “Youth Group” sessions where teens and adults explore our faith interacting with daily life. Three-on-Three Basketball occasionally morphs into air hockey and dodgeball. Music, the soul of the oratory, pumps through the sound system and live Jam Sessions are coming soon.
According to Executive Director Br. Tom, “Like the sandwich, ‘PB&J’ is not fancy but it is really good for you. We are empowering the youth and laity to work closely with young Salesians to strengthen our common mission together.” Superstar staff Ralph Romo brings experience and energetic charisma to inspire teens and Salesian novices to take ownership of the activities. “The teens and novices,” Ralph says, “are really pumped up about what we are doing.”
The Club accepts Don Bosco’s call to serve the young. “Friday nights are tough,” says Board President Alex Tucciarone, “but that’s when kids need us the most.” The Club sees this new twist on PB&J as the best opportunity to evangelize: empowering the young just as Don Bosco had done in his oratories.