Supporting a Day-care Service for Youth at Risk of School Drop-out and Violent Behavior

Project location: ITALY, Rome
Project start date: August 2009 - Project end date: August 2010
Project number: 2009-31
Beneficiary: Centro Italiano di Solidarietà

Timeline of the present activity report: From 31/08/09 to 19/03/10

Mentore entrance
Mentore entrance

The project "Mentore" wants to provide an answer to the nowadays complexity of the young people, made of many different features, such as:
- Loss of social being, citizenship, role in the community, which shatters the relational experience in many small living worlds;
- Personal experiences of the young person, which are divided into many isolated moments and are not perceived as a unified experience;
- Places are not places that do not contribute to build the identity of the young man and his sense of belonging;
- Difficulty of communication;
- Emulation of negative models.
The work carried out in these first six months of activities aimed at creating an educational environment for young people at risk of school drop-out, drug use, violence, bullying, as expected in the project, to facilitate the processes of socialization, motivation and learning.
First of all the project aims to support and help the person at risk and with deviant behaviour.

Soccer match
Soccer match

In order to achieve this aim, the following activities are being carried out:
• counselling and psychological support through
• Individual interviews
• Group therapy (2 per week)
• Family therapy (single interviews with family members, or the whole family components, but also once a month group therapy)
• Information seminars on different topics such as for ex. effects of drugs, educational competencies, coping anxiety etc.
• Therapeutic social animation activities for the adolescents, to know oneself and the other, one's and others' attitudes, the environment and specific situation while having fun.
These activities are being organised on the base of the client's need.
Real needs and potentials of the individual, who comes to the centre, are analysed and specific personal and individual planning of their recovery process is developed.
A relationship based on trust more than anything else is established with the young person. No pressure whatsoever is made on him/her to take part or to be involved in the service.
This means that it is not compulsory for them to join laboratories, courses, psychological groups etc. These activities are an opportunity for them, but they are not an imposition. Certainly part of the work the staff is that one to give to the youths motivation and reasons to take part to the activities.

Exterior view
Exterior view

The trust relationship and the lack of obligation make the service and the activities very attractive for the youths and they indeed come and attend the service.
On the opposite this approach, even if successful on the side of the youths at risk, requires a lot of flexibility from the service and from the staff.
The staff is a multidisciplinary team, composed by social animator, psychologists, experts on family therapy, teachers and volunteers.
They have a regular weekly meeting to organise the weekly programme and a weekly meeting to exchange clinical information on the clients and to debate and discuss cases.
Moreover the project team has a monthly supervision meeting to ensure the professional quality of the service provided.
Beside the therapeutic activities, the project offers other activities to stimulate the young person and to make him/her feel more comfortable and in a friendly and pleasant environment.
The activities implemented in the project so far are:
• A pottery laboratory takes place once a week in the afternoon since October. The use of pottery helps adolescents at risk to express feelings and emotions more than words. This laboratory is run by a teacher of the Ministry of Education and it is highly appreciated by those attending it, about 15 people.
• A computer course for beginners. The course has started in October, once a week, in the morning, mainly for those young people who do not attend school. This is a way to improve their competencies and future employment possibilities, without the pressure of a common course. People are free to attend if/when they want to. It is an opportunity they have. Not a compulsory activity. For the moment 5 young persons have attended the course on a regular basis.
• For those who need to improve their English speaking and writing skills, a free English course has also been organised on an individual basis since October. An English teacher is to catch up with school programmes. Up to know 6 young people are taking advantage of this opportunity, which is closely connected with the school support activity.
• School support is an important activity in the project. All those attending school who attend the service have problems in school and are in need of school support. Volunteer teachers are there every afternoon to help them in the various different subjects (maths, history, Italian, etc.).
• As part of the cultural and leisure time, but also to improve and increase the critical analysis of the youths, films are shown periodically, normally once or twice a month depending on the amount of school work and of the weather. For example during December more films were shown due to the holiday period. Films are also used as a tool to debate different issues and to promote the knowledge, the culture and the personal growth of the young person.
• When the weather allows it, soccer matches are organised. In the future these sport activities will be increased as the good weather is slowly coming and further sport will be included such as volleyball and basketball.
• Once a week there is a tai chi chuan course. Physical activity and the body wellbeing are important for the promotion of health and of a healthy way of living. Tai chi chuan is a good way for the young people at risk to get rid of the negative energies and aggressiveness that many of these youths have and express in their daily life.
• A small fitness centre is also available for the client under the surveillance of an operator, as a proof of the importance of physical wellbeing for the complete and whole development of the young person.
Moreover another important activity that is being carried out during this project and crucial for the success of the project is the consistent networking action, mainly with parishes, schools, social services and public institution. The centre is working very actively in the territory in order to have visibility and to be known by as many people as possible. A result of this action is a big event that will take place in Mentore in the next month: a big meeting with three schools with debates, sport and social activities.
At last but not least, cultural visit are foreseen in the project, but in the winter little was done due to the school engagement. However they are scheduled for the summer time when school will be over.
Hereunder there are some numbers of the clients who have been attending the service in one or more activities from 15th September 2009 up to 15th march 2010:
• Young people: 81
• Parents: 85

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