Bogota, Colombia

Pathways is partnering with the Rochester Sisters of St. Francis and their school in Bogota, Colombia, Colegio Anexo San Francisco de Así­s (CASFA) AND Cristo Rey High school to provide life-changing volunteer opportunites to students. 

Pathways to Children, in partnership with the Rochester Sisters of St. Francis provides financial support and volunteers to the Colegio Anexo San Francisco de Asis (CASFA) a school in Bogota, Colombia.  The Sisters founded CASFA in 1985 as a direct result of the dismal education practices in Colombia.  At the time, it was estimated that 1/3 of Colombia’s population was illiterate.  The Sisters began with CASFA, a school aimed at providing education to the school aged, poverty stricken children of the Codito neighborhood, located in northeastern Bogota.

This school has flourished since its conception and now teaches students from pre-kindergarten through high school, offering not only traditional education, but also technical preparation and even internships with local businesses.  These unique opportunities provide the CASFA students real-life, resume building, experience, making them increasingly desirable to employers and transforms their lives.

In November 2015, Pathways and the Sisters of St. Francis Mission, in conjunction with Cristo Rey Jesuit High School took 16 students on a volunteer trip to CAFSA in Bogota, Colombia.  Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, located in Minneapolis MN, focuses on providing college preparatory education and job training to enhance the lives and future success of the under-resourced children comprising their student body.  This collaboration not only marks the first international partnership for Cristo Rey School, but also provides students with transformative experiences often not available to these students.  While on this trip, the students immersed themselves in the local culture of Bogota through one-on-one student partnerships with a Colombian CASFA student.  The Cristo Rey students “shadowed” their partners, even attending internships and technical training with the native students, opening up both students to a completely different way of life.

In July 2017, 17  CASFA students from Bogota travelled to Minnesota to reconnet with their recently formed friends from Cristo Rey high school. These Colombian travelers to Minnesota had previously been the hosts to the students from Cristo Rey in Bogota in November 2015.  A double exchange student program was the result which created, what are to be sure, life-long friendships.  During their visit they practiced soccer with the professional United soccer team, went to a Twins game, experienced being of service to those more needy in the U.S. by voluteering at “Feed My Hungry Children”, helped clean up a North Minneapolis park and assisted in Spanish speaking day care facilities.  Another group of Cristo Rey students will be traveling to Bogota in November 2017.