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Scholas: Emotional Health of Young People, a Public Policy

Scholas Occurrentes and the Italian Ministry of Health signed a collaboration agreement to extend the work throughout the country.

The pontifical foundation has successfully developed educational programs focused on the emotional health of young people and intergenerational encounter programs in various countries around the world.

The International Organization led by Pope Francis and the Italian Ministry of Health, together to promote actions capable of strengthening the resilience of young and old, enhancing opportunities for encounter, exchange and mutual knowledge between different generations.

Scholas Occurrentes and the Italian Ministry of Health, following the presentation of the memorandum of understanding last May 20 at the Italian headquarters of the Foundation in the presence of Pope Francis, signed this morning a collaboration agreement with the aim of promoting and organizing educational initiatives, campaigns and experiences of a formative nature with particular attention to the emotional health of young and elderly people and human development through health education, psychosocial support, intergenerational dialogue and social inclusion.

Since January 2020, the entire global population has been affected by the public health emergency and significant restrictive measures and social distancing rules have been adopted to contain the coronavirus. These measures, along with the emergency climate, have had a strong emotional and psychological impact on some of the most fragile population groups such as adolescents and the elderly. Many young people have lost opportunities for growth and enrichment; the elderly, especially the most fragile have experienced a reduction in interpersonal interaction and an impoverishment of socio-affective relationships, because of the remoteness with their relatives and their support and emotional support in such a difficult time.

Pope Francis, on the occasion of the first post-pandemic meeting with the Italian Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, and in the presence of young people from all over the world, acknowledged the work of Scholas during the pandemic, for keeping alive the culture of encounter «I want to thank the young people of Scholas for having opened, in the midst of the closures and deaths imposed on us by this pandemic, a space for the encounter with life».

From there arose between the two parties the agreement to carry out concrete actions capable of strengthening the resilience of young and old people, enhancing the offer of opportunities for meeting, exchange, mutual knowledge and entertainment, even between different generations.

During the meeting, the Italian Minister of Health Roberto Speranza dedicated words of deep appreciation to the work of Scholas: «I believe that there is a chance to emerge stronger from this crisis, which could be an opportunity to restart. Therefore, investing in young people and their education is truly the fundamental tool for building the society of the future. Scholas is a beautiful and important reality, which over the years has taken root in different parts of the world and which tries to offer one more opportunity, one more, to young people who often live difficult situations in every corner of the world.»

«The Ministry of Health,» Speranza continued, «is now more committed than ever to promoting prevention and better health care policies. This memorandum of understanding, therefore, is truly a step forward that will allow us to work together to build better conditions for our young people and for our entire society. We must never forget that, what we invest in our young people today will create the conditions for the society of the future to be a better society than the society of the past and I believe that this is the most important challenge to which we must all necessarily commit ourselves.»

José Maria del Corral, world director of the Scholas Occurrentes Foundation, satisfied with the meeting, added: «It seems to me very important that the results of the activities carried out during the pandemic in terms of the emotional health brought about by this pedagogical proposal – and shared with Pope Francis, Minister Speranza and the Italian students and teachers on May 20 – can today be expressed in this agreement to support this work over time and thus reach many more young Italians».

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