Something for the Kiddies

Something for the Kiddies

Not "kitties." There's enough of that on the Internet.

Kiddies; the children.

Beyond park district and YMCA activities, there are options to get your child away from his/her TV, computer and cell phone. One option, provided by the Salesian religious order, are day camps at St. John Bosco parish.

The Salesians, founded by the educator and mentor of the youth, St. John Bosco, are a relatively new order. Founded in the late 19th century, this group came together under the guidance of its founder, St. John Bosco. As a young priest in Italy during the Industrial Revolution, Fr. Bosco saw scores of children practically abandoned as their parents toiled long hours in factories. Quite a few of these children were escaping factory work themselves. With dismal home lives of poverty, many turned to the streets - joining gangs, partaking in crime, etc. Fr. Bosco was moved to start his own order of educators and mentors with the mission to keep children safe, healthy, and off the streets.

Fast forward to the 20th Century, where scores of Salesian centers are located around the world, most notably in cities and third-world countries. A new parish was established in 1934 by Italian immigrants on Chicago's northwest side near the intersection of Austin Boulevard and Grand Avenue. Dedicated to the newly-beatified St. John Bosco, the parish was ironically not staffed by any of the Salesians until 1997.

By this time, the immediate area around St. John Bosco had become very diversified with a lot of older Italian and Polish immigrants, plus many new immigrant families from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and South American countries. A need was seen by the Saleians to serve the many new children that were arriving at this parish. A Youth Center was established at St. John Bosco that would offer educational and recreational activities outside of the regular school day.

Now in 2013, the Salesians at St. John Bosco have an exciting array for programs for all levels of youth, ranging from primary school to high school students, in both English and Spanish. Gym parties, combined events with nearby parish youth ministries, weekend retreats, summer day camps, and service day to aid those who are in need.

The only website for the parish in English may be found here:, though it is not updated frequently. The best way to learn more about the youth events of St. John Bosco is to actually pay a visit to a Salesians there, who are incredibly welcoming . The parish bulletin, found in the lobby of the church, also lists the newest events as well. Thus, there's more than flipping through a park district catalog to get your kid away from a screen of some type at St. John Bosco Parish.



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