Read the article 'Finding a new path' and answer the following questions. Then share your answers in pairs, small groups or in a classroom discussion.
1. After reading the article ‘Finding a New Path’, why do you think an education is important? What does your education mean to you?
2. Since the Clemente Program was launched in 2003, more than 1000 people have undertaken it and many of them have continued to study further. Would you measure this as success? Why or why not?
3. How do you define success? Do you think Christians define success differently than the rest of the world? Why or why not?
4. What do you think someone like Bruce will gain from participating in the Clemente program?
5. In your opinion, how would this course change Bruce’s outlook on the world?
6. Why is it important to have a purpose in life? How do you think it would affect a person if they had no purpose in life? What gives you purpose?
1. Do some research on the internet on the Clemente Program. Could the Clemente Program’s goals be used by your school to set up a similar program for young people who are ostracised by society because of their background or disadvantage? What sorts of things could you do? How would you advertise it? Where would you get funds to set up your model?
Divide into groups of four and make a decision about what your program would cover. Give your program a name and set up a number of goals. Now draw a poster that could be used to advertise your program of social inclusion and education. Put the posters up in your classroom and have a discussion about which are the best ideas and how you could put them into practice.
2. Bruce was raised in a dysfunctional family where a good education was not seen as important. He left school at about 14 and moved into a destructive lifestyle of drugs which in turn led him to become HIV positive. Bruce made a decision to join the ‘Clemente’ program and find a new purpose in life.
How would you set up a workshop at your school to help young people discover their purpose in life? What would be its content and structure? How long would it be: one morning or afternoon, a series of morning or afternoons, or a weekend? Would participants be learning a new skill, volunteering or listening to inspiring community leaders speak? How would your program or workshop help young people? How would you get young people in your school or parish to attend (school and mass announcements/bulletin, social media, posters)? Whom would you get to help you?
3. If you came from a disadvantaged family which was dysfunctional, imagine how difficult it would be to sit down at night and do your homework. With the permission and help of your teachers set up a study or homework time at school for students who may be struggling at home to do their homework. You could offer to be of help to any younger students who may be struggling with particular subjects.
For Younger Students
Either read the story ‘Finding a New Path’ or tell it to the students in a simpler form. Ask them what they think of places like universities and even schools helping those who are disadvantaged. How do they think Jesus would have responded if someone like Bruce Fitzgerald approached him for help? Why would Jesus think it important to restore Bruce’s self-esteem?
Then ask students to draw a picture of Jesus and Bruce together. At the bottom of the picture, students can write a short description of how they imagine Jesus would respond to Bruce’s request for help.
When they are finished, students can share their picture with the class.