Among the young living in the capital of Piedmont, he saw misery and neglect.
He saw for himself how the young were abused and oppressed.
He witnessed how the parents themselves forced their young children to beg for alms. His
heart went out for those very young kids between 8 to 12 years old who were already working at construction sites. He had to stifle his cries when he saw how the young were reprimanded, how they were rapped on the head, how they received curses and rebukes.
He realized that the condition of the youth in large centers and populous cities is more pitiful than in smaller towns.
As soon as Don Bosco was settled at the Convitto, he became eager to acquaint himself with the moral condition of the boys in the city. He attempted to come near to them. He would wave at them if he happened to see them. He would dole out medals and a few pennies. He would ask them simple questions on faith.
Don Bosco prayed to the Lord to grant him the chance to dedicate himself to the task of saving the young people; he revealed this to Fr. Joseph Cafasso, his spiritual director, and he approved of it.