We are two guys from the small town of Francavilla Fontana, in south Italy, and we attend the occupational centre for disabled people there. We write these few lines in order to relate the story of our association, which is part of our own personal stories. Our centre has been founded in November 1986 by a group of parents that wanted to create an environment suited for the special needs of their children. There are currently 16 people here and we perform many activities, such as gymnastic, theatre, music, embroidery, making baskets and even basic christian teachings. There are always educators and volunteers with us and more often than not they also take us out for museum visits and trips. On Sundays we all eat lunch together and that is a very special and happy moment. Recently it has been created an informatics laboratory where many of us has begun to use programs like FaceMOUSE and Fabula, which allow to use the computer either with head movements or through a touch screen. This new activity has been accepted very eagerly by the people in the centre and some of them have already become quite skilled in using the computer!
Now, a little about me. My name is Giovanni and I am part of this association since its creation. I remember that, once I finished High School, I used to spend all day watching TV and when I was told about the centre I was at first very afraid. I managed somehow to find the courage to put myself into this new project and, even if I felt quite uncomfortable dealing with people that had different disabilities than mine, I soon learnt to love them. We have actually become a big family in which we work and have fun, and I feel I have learnt a lot from being part of it. I have to thank our educators for helping me in actively participate in the activities and now that I myself am a tutor to the new ones, I feel I can, in my small measure, make the difference for the best. My name is Vita, I am a disabled girl and I have been attending the Centre for a few years now. This place has been created by our families and with the important help of Don Pietro Chirico, our local and very beloved priest. During the time I spent in the Centre I have won many friends and I have learnt to respect the different difficulties that each of us encounters. There are educators and volunteers that guide us during our activities with so much love and kindness, that I would like many more youth to spend time here for them to see how, with the help of everyone, any challenge may be faced and overcome.