By Fr. Tom Dunne, SDB
My first realization of God’s call to work with young people occurred when the owner of our neighborhood shoe store called a meeting of 25 early teens to challenge us to build a safer neighborhood by founding a local Boys’ Club. I remember him telling us, “You guys can change this neighborhood for the better!” That challenge was fulfilled with a storefront Boys’ Club and a sense of empowerment that would last through the rest of our lives.
A few years later, I was invited to a week of vacation in the Catskill Mountains. Camp Quest was a vocation retreat! By God’s grace, I found that Don Bosco’s spirit, mission, spirituality, and sense of community fit perfectly into my preferred lifestyle and my "shoe store calling."
With the Lord’s accompaniment (and that of Our Lady, Help of Christians), I have lived out these two core moments of my adolescence for the past 60 years.