First Doctoral Thesis based on the Salesian Volunteer Program

By: JC Montenegro
Delegate for Mission Animation


Yes, it is the first time in the history of the congregation that a Doctoral Thesis was dedicated to research what is happening with the Salesian Volunteer Movement at the world wide level. The research focused on the personal development that a volunteer goes through when a long term service takes place in our Salesian communities.

The author, Juan Carlos Montenegro, experienced one school year of volunteer service in 1994, when he served as assistant and teacher at Wasakentsa, a Salesian mission in the middle of the Amazon jungle in Ecuador. That experience changed his life forever, and he wanted to research and shared the fantastic gifts received when volunteering to take place.

The research was done to 428 volunteers from 28 different countries who served in 63 different countries. The 397 document in Spanish is divided into the theoretical frame that analyzed the meaning of international cooperation, the Salesians and volunteerism, and the reality of young people today. The second part talks about the instruments used to gather the information and the software used to analyze the data. The third part presents the results of the research and the fourth part of the conclusions and recommendations.

There is an exponential opportunity to transform the lives of young people through the Salesian Volunteer Programs in the world. This research shows that young people who have done one year of service are more likely to:

  • Be more social conscience
  • Be more pro-active
  • Be more emphatic
  • Increase the leadership capability
  • Be more creative
  • Develop social skills
  • Increment the capacity of cooperation
  • and more…

Some of the recommendations based on the research are:

  • To create a worldwide brand for the Salesian volunteer movement
  • To develop guidelines on how new countries can develop a volunteer program
  • To develop a worldwide databases with the name of all volunteers
  • To establish guidelines for formation for new volunteers based on the research
  • To create a study that will focus on the communities that welcome the volunteers to see their perspective
  • And more…

The thesis was presented on February 14 at the Comillas University, a Jesuit Institution. The whole thesis defense is online at and the thesis can be requested to his author at


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s