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When SOMAR (= “addition” in Portuguese) actually means to “MULTIPLY”

SOMAR - São Paulo, SP

  • How does one impart values to youngsters and get them to practice virtues?

  • How can one draw kids away from their mobile phones and expose them to the power of nature?

  • How does one teach an at-risk teenager from a vulnerable inner city community to have self-love and a strong sense of self-worth?

Addressing these fundamental questions certainly does not involve simple answers… that is why ABMTHS partnered with the SouMais* program from SOMAR* to take 45+ kids aged 13-20 from Jardim da Felicidade – a slum in the South of São Paulo – on a day-long nature retreat at Jambeiro (ABMTHS´ countryside property in the outskirts of Campinas).


The SouMais event was designed to address these timely and pressing questions in a fun and engaging way. The line up of activities offered the group of 45+ young adults an opportunity to live and experience virtues in real-life situations and to facilitate reflection on the relevance of values and virtues in their daily routines.


Through a series of fun group activities and exercises, the participants had a chance to discuss and cultivate virtues like trust, self-control, courage, discernment, gratitude, perseverance, wisdom and purpose. The entire program was managed and facilitated by 10 adult instructors and facilitators who helped the kids get the most out of the experience and develop themselves.


The event at Jambeiro was a total hit and the participants had barely left and they were already so eager to know when the next edition would take place.


“I do not want to go home…this was the BEST day of my life!”, chimed one participant. “I absolutely loved our day here at Jambeiro.... When are we coming back?” added another. And their parents gave equally glowing praise: “I wish to thank all of you for caring for my son. It was a super productive day for him; he came back beaming with happiness and rattling off all of the wonderful experiences he had. God bless all of you!” wrote a proud mother. The sentiment of gratitude and satisfaction expressed by the group of particpants´parents was unanimous.


SOMAR and ABMTHS have a shared belief that each youngster is on a journey of self-discovery and construction of their own unique identity and individual potential.

With their own personal history, talents and interests, SouMais seeks to give them an opportunity to connect with this potential and enable them to grow into responsible and fulfilled adults so that they, too, many one day pay it forward - thereby transforming their reality and breaking the cycle of vulnerability in their neighborhood.


“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God”. - 2 Corinthians, 4,15



*Notes:


SOMAR (which stands for Soliedariedade em Marcha) is a NGO that provides supplemental after-school education and character-building curriculum for inner-city kids aged 4-18 from Jardim da Felicidade. SOMAR, which has been ABMTHS’ partner since 2019, is run by the Sodalitium of Christian Life, a society of apostolic life made up of lay people and priests.


Founded in 2019, SouMais is the SOMAR program targeted at youth ages 13+. The program seeks to impart values & virtues, a broader worldview, and a pathway into either an academic or technical/professional career. There are currently 60+ participants enrolled in SouMais and since its inception, SouMais has helped 22 kids find jobs/internships and another 8 bridges into technical schools or universities.


Visit SOMAR’s website: www.somarbrasil.org.br to learn more.


Written By Miguel Sieh.


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