Do you remember: last spring, we organized a solidarity challenge: a run or walk in solidarity (and confined!) rallying the ACAY galaxy. The objective was to run or walk, at home or outside during the authorized time out, and to run as many kilometers as you could. It was an opportunity to create a sense of purpose to the lockdown. The success of this operation inspired the ACAY Marseille team: why not organize a Solidarity Challenge in detention to raise awareness for a cause?

With the authorization of the management of the Juvenile Penitentiary in Marseille, the first Solidarity Challenge in detention took place in July 2020. And it was a great success!

The three activities on the program were a film discussion, an interactive workshop, and a run. After having been made aware of the difficult situation of the lockdown in the Philippines through testimonies and stories, the young people were given the opportunity to question themselves on their own experience of detention by verbalizing their experiences and identifying their resources mobilized during this period.

«The documentary motivated me to do the run in order to help them. I feel that I have done something good for these people and for myself. »

Following these discussions, a dozen minors joined the run for the benefit of the young people and families of ACAY in the Philippines in need. This sports challenge consisted of running laps around the gym (15 laps were equivalent to a food basket for a family in the Philippines).

276 laps completed. 8 participants. The record by one of the youth was 50 laps. This first edition of the solidarity challenge made it possible to distribute 14 baskets.

The ACAY teams in the Philippines then distributed the food baskets to the youth and families, accompanied by messages from the youth who wished to write to them. The beneficiaries of the baskets also sent photos and testimonies to the participants which they received during the official closing of the challenge which took place in the presence of the Penitentiary management. The Penitentiary staff were pleasantly surprised by the excellent involvement of the youth.

A second Solidarity Challenge took place in July 2021 at the Juvenile Penitentiary in Marseille, Argie, a young Filipino accompanied by ACAY in the Philippines, now reintegrated into society, gave his life testimony to the youth.

« Our words are few to thank you but they come from the bottom of our hearts. »

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The first event in 2020 at the Juvenile Penitentiary in Marseille spread to the Vaucluse in 2021. The management of the Avignon-Le Pontet penitentiary center wanted the youth section to take part in Solidarity Challenge. It is thus in September 2021 that the young people and also some members of the staff of the penitentiary center of Avignon-Le Pontet set up a circuit of cross-fit (body-building) and showed generosity to support the young people and families in the Philippines. This challenge with 10 participants in Le Pontet enabled the purchase of 18 food baskets.

During these three editions of the solidarity challenge, all the young people surpassed themselves by going to their limits. Something that is not generally a habit of theirs.

Putting oneself at the service of others is one of the main principles of ACAY.

After working on the concept of our initiatives since the beginning of 2021, it seemed important to us to further anchor this dimension. In addition to the challenge in prison, the challenge is also to develop volunteering for youth recently released from detention for people with difficulties (disabled, elderly…)

Through these initiatives, we hope to open the horizons of the young people, to bring them to surpass themselves, and to move to help others in need. Living these experiences will allow them to see a bigger future and will make them happy. There is no barrier to solidarity whether in detention or outside.