|Project:||Social Cooperative - 'Providence'|
Who are we?
The Providence Cooperative is an ONLUS (Non Profit Organization) based in Rome. It came about through the initiative of a group of Salesian Cooperators in Rome during 1981, with the aim of offering initiatives aimed at helping young people in need or difficulty.
The history of the Cooperative
In 1981, the Cooperative came into possession of a farm house belonging to Marquis Alessandro Gerini, and this became a community taking in youngsters. It took the name 'Providence community'. The renovation of the farm house and setting up of the community came about entirely through contributions by members of the Co-op and friends (Salesian Cooperators, Past Pupils).
In the first five years, around 80 young people between 15 and 23 years age were taken in. They came from various circumstances of being marginalised (drugs, prison, adoptions that had not worked out well, for example). They were recommended by Social Services in various regions and were supported by funds from the Community.
From 1988 the Community decided to take exclusively minors, both because of difficulties associated with finding work for young people of varying ages and because of pressing requests from local Social Services. There was also a law passed on the question of looking after minors (184/83).
During its existence, the Cooperative has given priority to contact with its local area working in actively with other bodies, and building up team work and winning the interest of local citizens. This has helped when finding work and apprenticeship opportunities for the boys in the program and for setting up work contracts with local businesses.
The social structure organisation of the Cooperative
The Family Home is run by a couple who live in (Lillina Atanasio and her husband) and by qualified personnel (psychologists, a sociologist, pedagogist, trained teachers, social worker). A network of friends and helpers outside help make the place a 'big family' which is welcoming and open and where everyone has his or her own particular role to play.