The Salesian Lay Missioner (SLM) program traces its roots back to 1981, when Fr. Dominic DeBlase, SDB asked Fr. A. Joseph Louis, SDB to study the feasibility of beginning a lay volunteer program to help the Salesians in their various works throughout the world. The idea was to have lay people work alongside Salesians teaching in their schools, oratories, youth centers, and orphanages. Several international site visits, various interviews, and two years later, Fr. Louis sent out the first SLM to Colombia to work with the street children.
Since that time, more than 350 men and women have been sent to over 20 countries to work on projects ranging from youth ministry to agriculture and nursing.
Each year the SLM program expands to serve more of the world’s underprivileged youth. As times change, so do the needs and the site placements. We are asked by Salesian communities on a yearly basis to send volunteers to places all over the world: from the jungles of Papua New Guinea to the frozen lands of Mongolia.
And each year we carefully look at the sites to see where the most needs are.