Don Bosco Center

    DBC Helps Teens Avoid Gangs

    John Lilly No Comments

    Video by NBC Washington


    Fr. Ramon Interviewed by WUSA9

    John Lilly No Comments

    Fr. Ramon was interviewed by WUSA9 on his work at the Don Bosco Center.

    Watch here


    Don Bosco Center Celebrates “Mega Week”

    jmundell No Comments

    Copy IMG_2602At one of our recent staff meetings the Don Bosco Center staff dubbed the week of January 20 “Mega Week”.  Why?  I am  so glad you asked!  On Monday, January 21 we did not have regular Don Bosco Center (DBC).  Instead, since they were off school, we took our group to ice skate at the Fairfax Ice Arena.  Most of our group of thirty-four donned skates while a couple decided they would watch from the sidelines.  Some skated for a bit and decided they had enough while others skated to the very end.  Most had a good time even if some falling was involved.  Afterwards we took a trip to CiCi’s Pizza and almost put them out of business.  A couple kids even used some of their own money to order wings…I guess the all you can eat pizza buffet wasn’t enough!


    On Wednesday, January 23 we had DBC at regular time which is 3pm to 6pm.  However, there was a special celebration that day.  It would have been the eighteenth birthday of Miguel Hernandez.  He was a regular at the DBC but is not with us now because he was killed while walking home from school two and a half years ago.  His mom wanted to celebrate with us at the Center so she came at 5pm and brought food and drinks for the celebration.  Fr. Ramon led a prayer service for Miguel in front of his memorial.  At the end of the service Miguel’s sister gave out birthday balloons.  We sang “Happy Birthday” to Miguel, let the balloons go, and watched them rise into the sky.  Then we went inside and enjoyed the food and drinks.Copy IMG_3133c

    On Friday, January 25 we took a group to the March for Life.  We had some who had come before and were excited to go again and some who were going for the first time.  This was a great opportunity to talk about why we believe that all life is sacred and also led them to ask other questions about what we believe as Catholics.  We even were able to do part of a novena to St. John Bosco in the van on the way and listen to some Matt Maher music.

    Then on Saturday, January 26 Fr. Ramon, Matt, and Mike took a group to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.  They toured the classrooms, talked to them about what it was like to be in the Academy, encouraged them to pursue their goals, and played soccer!  I heard that a fun time was had by all.  This past week one of the guys who went asked me when we were going again!Copy 2 IMG_3770c

    All in all it was a fun-filled week for the Don Bosco Center…and I didn’t even mention that on that Wednesday Matt and I moved a bed and dresser into a family’s house and on Thursday Fr. Ramon took four seniors and two recent graduates to a leading restaurant in Maryland where they met the staff, talked with the owner, learned about culinary arts, and then went to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC for the Pro-Life Vigil Mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap, from the Archdiocese of Boston (whom they met afterwards).  It was definitely a “Mega Week”!

    Youth from the Don Bosco Center Receive Sacraments

    jmundell No Comments

    Two teens who have been involved at the Don Bosco Center (DBC) received sacraments at All Saints Catholic Church in July.

    Ronnie, who graduated from Osbourn High School in the spring, received the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation. He is very outgoing and is always the first one to welcome new people to the DBC. He has been coming to the Center for a number of years now and it is a joy to see how much he has grown in his faith.   His questions about the faith are deep and lead to great conversation.

    Yasmin, who is now a senior at Osbourn High School, received the sacrament of Confirmation. She has been participating in the Don Bosco Center regularly since the beginning of the summer. It is very inspiring to see these two young people receive sacraments and continue their journey of faith!

    DBC Marks Presidents’ Day with “El Presidente Cup”

    Chris Johnson No Comments

    Monday, February 20, 2012 the Don Bosco Center held a Presidents’ Day soccer tournament. The tournament was held at the Don Bosco Center on the new turf field that was just completed this past fall.

    There were six teams with six players each in the tournament. Jessica Morales, director of youth ministry at Sacred Heart Parish in Manassas, brought three players and the rest of the players were from the Don Bosco Center.

    It was a great day filled with soccer, fun, and food. Ian Nelson was the expert hot dog cook and Fr. Ramon Dominguez, YA was our professional chicken nugget chef.

    Tiffany Lambert and Jonathan Mundell helped referee and Jessica Morales was keeping track of the points for the bracket. We did a bracket in which each team played at least twice.

    When teams were off the field they watched the game on the field or went in the Center to get some hot dogs, chicken nuggets, pasta, chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, salad, etc.

    Teens play soccer at the DBC's turf field, February 2012.

    The last two games were 3rd place vs. 4th place and then 1st place vs. 2nd place. The winning team (David, Jesus, Charlie, Adrian, Santos, and Carlos) took pictures with the “El Presidente Cup” trophy. Then each of the players on the winning team got a brand new soccer ball. All in all it was a great fun-filled day at the Don Bosco Center.

    DBC teens, families celebrate Ash Wednesday

    Chris Johnson No Comments
    Father Ramon invokes the blessing at the DBC’s Ash Wednesday Mass.

    On February 22, 2012 the Don Bosco Center (DBC) held an Ash Wednesday service. We had regular DBC at the start of the day. We helped students with homework from 3 – 4pm and then they played soccer from 4 – 5pm. At about 5:15pm the Ash Wednesday service started. There were between seventy and eighty people who attended. A number of families joined us. Some of the DBC participants and one of the volunteers helped serve and read. It was a great experience to be able to pray with the DBC participants and their families. The silence that fell in the room when Fr. Ramon processed up the aisle of chairs at the DBC was amazing. God was there.

    DBC unveils soccer field in honor of slain teen

    Chris Johnson No Comments

    [pullquote_right width=”60%”]They were already coming, so he built it. [/pullquote_right]

    It’s hard to imagine a normal day without soccer at the Don Bosco Center.

    Father Ramon Dominguez, YA, the center’s director, describes the first hour at the afterschool program, located in the Georgetown South Community Center in Manassas, Va., as “homeworky.” But once most of the teens are ready to put away their books and finish their snacks, the balls begin to fly.

    Until recently, that meant hopeless wear and tear on the meadow that stretched behind the community center building, which Father Ramon remembers as “a large expanse of dirt.” Now, thanks to a childhood obesity prevention grant from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, the kids can play on an artificial turf field in just about any weather.

    And they do.

    The $60,000 grant covered the field materials, drainage system, grading and installation, an equipment storage shed and portable nets that Father Ramon says don’t go up until it’s time to play. The funds also pay for staff salaries and the fresh fruit and vegetables the DBC serves at snack time.

    While the DBC youths had already given the field a few workouts to test its all-weather performance, the center hosted a formal dedication ceremony in November to honor Miguel “Mickey” Hernandez, a 15-year-old student who was killed one year earlier in a gang-related attack between Osbourn High School and his Georgetown South home.

    Hernandez was not in a gang and had been trying to avoid gang involvement. He was a participant in DBC activities that included homework help, positive character development and — of course — soccer with his friends at the old, sloping field.

    A granite monument depicting Hernandez along with quotes from Saint John Bosco and the Prayer of Saint Francis — acknowledging two of Youth Apostles’ three patron saints — will remind visitors of the teen who had spent so many happy hours at the site.

    “Miguel was a tremendous young man,” Father Ramon says. “His life should not go unnoticed. I hope that as others play and enjoy this space, they will see the good things in this community and be inspired to live a life that is remembered by truth and hope. A life mired in violence will never bring lasting joy or fulfillment.”

    Finding a place to play the favorite game of many local children had been difficult. School fields in the area are reserved for official practices and games. While the Georgetown South field is not full size, it is open to the public for soccer, football and other games whenever the DBC isn’t using it.

    “We are happy to be able to provide funds to create a new play space for children in Manassas,” VFHY Executive Director Marty Kilgore said in a statement. “Research shows that it is imperative for children to be physically active for at least 60 minutes a day.”

    Father Ramon hopes the field will also support training and skill development for the teams he takes to soccer tournaments around the diocese. “They want to win,” he notes with a chuckle.

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