ISI Florence has always been committed to engaging in charitable and voluntary activities, allowing and encouraging its students to participate. These activities represent a direct opportunity for students to give back to the city of Florence, and make memories they’ll never forget. There is no greater satisfaction than seeing how much your commitment and dedication to a cause contributed to making someone else feel better. This positive impact that our students have on less fortunate people also helps them to gain more self-confidence and discover sides of their personalities that they weren’t fully aware to possess.
This is exactly what happened to our student Kate, as a volunteer at the L.I.N.A.R. Association. An Association that helps and takes care of introducing people with physical or mental disabilities into the world of work, through the set up of laboratories in which to practice and gain experience. Demonstrating that people with impairments, placed in the right conditions, can easily contribute to society by working in so many different sectors. A fundamental social recovery for them, and at the same time a fantastic opportunity for our Kate to contribute to their inclusion.
After her volunteering experience, Kate revealed to us how valuable she felt in those moments with them and how the apparently simplest gestures had a huge impact on these people’s moods. Every smile given and received was automatically converted into a feeling of warmth and personal satisfaction.
In a world in which we are perpetually connected more to Wi-Fi than to people around us, it was very touching to hear the testimonies of those who shared their time with Kate, when they told us that one of the things they appreciated the most was that she never looked at her cell phone during their activities and was always focused and involved in their projects. The tasks performed by Kate at L.I.N.A.R. were all deliberately immersive, aimed at involving her as much as possible in activities ranging from decorating pumpkins for Halloween to watching movies, from singing to making art passing through group sessions with different psychologists.
It wasn’t a surprise to find out that everyone immediately became attached to Kate, making her feel important by giving her flowers and shouting her name every time they saw her coming. Small gestures, which we often take for granted but which confirmed to Kate how important her commitment was to them and how much this awareness made her grow as a person.
Nothing like Kate’s words could be more suitable and clearer to summarize and conclude this description while sending a message to the new ISI students who will come to Florence in the future:
“L.I.N.A.R. is so wonderful, and I am so lucky to have gotten to be a part of it for even a few months. It is so vital that we take care of each and every individual within a community, and the adults that come to this center each day are loved, engaged with, cared for, and have a purpose.”
By Giacomo Cipparrone, ISI Florence | Student Life