A CHANCE IN LIFE
The mission of A Chance In Life began 75 years ago, in the aftermath of World War II. Vast numbers of orphans and vulnerable children were left living on the streets of Italy by the war, and Monsignor John Patrick Carroll-Abbing was determined that someone should care for them. His decision to dedicate himself to their wellbeing defined the course of his life’s work and founded what would become A Chance In Life. (You can read an archival document detailing some of his extraordinary accomplishments in the 1940s and 1950s here.)
Boys’ & Girls’ Republic of Italy (La Repubblica dei Ragazzi) and Boys’ & Girls’ Towns of Italy (La Città dei Ragazzi) were founded to provide, in Monsignor’s words, “a chance in life” to vulnerable and orphaned children. After months or years of living on their own, many of the children that Monsignor first encountered were unused or unwilling to live under the supervision of adults. This independent nature inspired a visionary approach to youth development at the Towns: give the children the responsibility of running their own Town through the model of self-government.
In the decades following our founding, our organization has navigated the many issues facing the world's youth and evolved to meet their needs. When more and more refugee and migrant youth began fleeing their home countries to seek safety and opportunity in Italy, our Towns in Italy grew to become a home for children from over 20 countries. A Chance In Life’s proven approach of self-government has been successfully adapted to the cultures of another six countries through Boys' & Girls' Towns of Ethiopia, Boys' & Girls' Towns of India and Boys' & Girls' Towns of Latin America - and given 35,000 young people the chance to grow as leaders in their own communities.
As we celebrate its legacy of the past 75 years, A Chance In Life offers the experience and vision to meet the ever-evolving needs of at-risk youth in the years to come. With the support of our donors, we continue to invest in our family of Towns and provide new initiatives for at-risk youth, continuing Monsignor Carroll-Abbing’s legacy of striving towards a day when every child in the world has “a chance in life.”