Pathways to Children, in partnership with the Rochester Sisters of St. Francis provides financial support and student volunteers to the Colegio Anexo San Francisco de Asis (CASFA) a school in Bogota, Colombia. The Sisters founded CASFA in 1985 a school that provides education to 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. CASFA is a perfect match for the Minneapolis Cristo Rey High School that has a similar program. Both schools provide students with real-life, resume building, experiences, making them desirable to employers and as well as transforms their lives. This collaboration not only marks the first international partnership for Cristo Rey School, but also gives students life changing experiences often not available to them. While on this trip, the students immerse themselves in the local culture of Bogota through one-on-one student partnerships with a Colombian CASFA student. The Cristo Rey students “shadow” their partners, even attending internships and technical training with the native students, exposing both sets of students to completely different ways of living.
Pathways continues this exchange by bringing the CASFA students to Minnesota to reconnect with their recently formed friends from Cristo Rey high school. This double exchange student program creates, what are sure to be, life-long friendships. During their Minnesota visit, they practiced soccer with the professional United soccer team, went to a Twins game, experienced being of service to those needier in the U.S. by volunteering 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 and subsequently their host Colombian students will travel to the U.S. in 2018.
Note: The butterfly mural below was created by CASFA & Cristo Rey students, each half representing symbols from their country. Currently each half resides in its “home country. The U.S. half will be traveling to Bogota in November with Cristo Rey students.