The expression “Academy of Independence” was chosen to make it clear how the Albergo Etico is made up of people with different roles and tasks, in which there is a hierarchy and respect for the superior figure which is essential not only for learning to acquire one’s autonomy gradually, but also to avoid potentially dangerous errors.
At the same time, the atmosphere in the work environment is one of strong camaraderie, in which, regardless of the mistakes made or the misunderstandings that have been generated during the day, the ritual of the meal is shared, which dissolves all tension, and takes moments for a hug. Just like in a military academy, a uniform is shared and a “body” is represented. The widespread presence in the city of young people who move around in uniform stimulates the community to reflect and ask questions. It is also a way to broaden the reflection on the job placement of young people with special needs and to increase the number of entrepreneurs willing to welcome young people among their staff.
The Academy is a gradual path through which the child learns to perform all the tasks of the hotel and restaurant (artificial nest) and replicates them in the family context (his own nest). The path was designed to last three years on the basis of the experience that has allowed us to understand how this is the average time needed to achieve true autonomy.
Kids learn not to go home to sleep, but to sleep in the staff rooms. This is another great opportunity to cut the umbilical cord with the family and learn to live with one’s peers. It is amazing to see how these opportunities for self-management empower and motivate them.
In the hotel guesthouse there are no assistants and / or educators, only work colleagues. The most experienced and mature tutors newcomers. Giacomo, who came for a three-week internship, lived in a mini-apartment with Niccolò. After this experience, returning home, he told his mother how he felt ready to go and live alone.
It is obvious that this is not the case, but this is, neither more nor less, the thought of almost all of today’s twenties. The mother, who had to manage moments of fear and worry (imagine her son finishing the evening service in a restaurant, in a city he does not know, and goes for a drink with other colleagues and then returns with a colleague in an unsupervised apartment that, like any self-respecting teenager, forgets to make a call to his mother), albeit attenuated by insurance (Niccolò called to warn that they had returned home), had to overcome moments of strong emotional impact.
This mother could react by closing herself up like a hedgehog or rejoice in her son’s new autonomy and spur him to overcome other limits. Which it did.
Daria, Guglielmo’s mother, speaking of her son’s three-week internship experience at the Albergo Etico, defined it as an Erasmus (university program that allows you to attend one year abroad). They live in Switzerland and they sought, organized and lived this experience as a moment to start learning autonomy (just like an Erasmus). The mother moved to Asti for three weeks, but in an independent accommodation. Guglielmo returned home, stronger and more aware of his own resources, looking in the mirror and said “you don’t see so much that I have Down’s Syndrome!”. It is an experience that they rated as very positive and that they will try to replicate in Switzerland. This is the contagious spirit that the Albergo Etico aims to have.