In 2014 the Oliver Twist Foundation promotes the “Oliver in the Suburbs” project. Over the years the Foundation has always placed particular focus on town suburbs, where young people are in significant need for a variety of reasons. It is this need that has led to the Foundation’s relationship with various organisations that operate directly in the troubled districts and suburbs of large Italian cities, such as the Piccolo Principe Association in Milan, the San Camillo Association in Naples, and Il Cammino Association in Turin. The Oliver Twist Foundation helps each of them to develop their activities in the community, giving approximately 200 disadvantaged young people from the suburbs the opportunity to spend the afternoons in a positive environment, with adults readily available to lend a sympathetic ear and help them develop, and people their own age to communicate with and share experiences.
In March 2014 the Oliver Twist Foundation and J.P. Morgan jointly establish the “Student-Professional Exchange” project, with the aim of providing a bridge between school and the world of work.
During the sessions 40 students from Galdus School in Milan start working on their CVs with the help of two J.P. Morgan managers, learning to make the most of sports activities and voluntary work experience, define their own skill set, and understand the meaning of ‘business plan’, using simulation activities and case studies.
The “Oliver Twist Choir in Schools” project is also established in 2014, as a result of experience developed through the Oliver Twist Academy musical and choral opportunities and the international partnership with the British charity ARK Schools. As a result of this initiative, under the guidance of ARK’s artistic director and a Foundation member, two entire classes from two middle schools in Milan have the opportunity to experiment with singing, by forming a choir of 70 members and learning new songs to perform in front of an audience of more than 200 people in March.
As a result of the experience developed in the first 3 years with the Oliver Twist Academy the Foundation develops the “Oliver Goes To School” initiative in 2013, with the aim of bringing art and music to elementary schools in the Milan area directly. With assistance from 6 professionals from the music world, more than 180 children from 3 different schools are able to take part and learn to play instruments such as the violin, guitar and bass instruments.
Furthermore, during 2013 the partnership between the Oliver Twist Foundation and the Cometa Association is further developed with the joint implementation of two new projects – “The Oliver Twist Choir” and the “School-Work Facility”.
The first aims to set up a choir of excellence modelled on the Chicago Children’s Choir and open to all pupils attending the Oliver Twist School in Como, and any other young people in Milan who wish to join this initiative. In its first year the choir, under the musical direction of Angelo Nicastro, Theatre Manager at Ravenna, has over 50 members and puts on 3 concerts, the last of which at the Dal Verme Theatre in Milan.
The second initiative involves the development of a work-school course within the Oliver Twist School in Como to help young people who have dropped out of school obtain a qualification, and the setting up of a trade workshop within the Oliver Twist Academy in Milan.
2013 is also the year in which the “Oliver Twist Academy” receives accreditation from Milan City Council. In October 2013 the Oliver Twist Academy achieves accreditation for the provision of residential and semi-residential units for children and young people.
During 2012 the Oliver Twist Foundation further develops the Study Service at the “Oliver Twist Academy”which provides learning support for young people struggling academically.
In addition to the ongoing development of the Oliver Twist Academy, in 2012 the Foundation focuses on the “Oliver Twist Facilities” project, supported by the J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, which involves the development of three facilities at the Oliver Twist School (Catering, Textiles and Woodworking). The project concerns four initiatives – transforming the facilities into social enterprises, making the school bilingual by developing the study of English and international possibilities, developing relationships with new companies in the area, and increasing employability rates by increasing students’ skill set.
To develop the project the Foundation works with Bocconi University, and a study is carried out to assess whether or not the three workshops can be turned into social enterprises that are financially sustainable.
In September 2012 the Oliver Twist Foundation continues with the Naples initiatives. The financial difficulties of the period, which have affected organisations operating in Naples particularly, lead the Foundation to taking action to support two partner organisations, the San Camillo Association, operating in the Spaccanapoli district with the Casa di Luisa (House of Luisa) initiative, and the E.T.I.C.A. co-operative, which is assisted in an internal refurbishment process.
During 2011 the Oliver Twist Foundation expands the scope of the Academy, increasing the number of students, involving schools in Milan, and consolidating relationships with the referral organisations such as Caf, Villa Luce, Comin, La Strada and l’Impronta. The Academy also expands its services to include tutoring with the assistance of young volunteers. The Academy’s important contribution is acknowledged by other organisations, such as the De Agostini Foundation, which decides to support the initiative. In May the Academy stages its first show with the children at the Litta Theatre in Milan.
The partnership with Crédit Suisse Emea Foundation also continues during 2011 to develop and expand the activities at the Oliver Twist School in Como.
The Foundation also proceeds with several initiatives that began in 2009, such as the “E mo’ pazziamm”, “A school for everyone”, “Momo”, “Live”, “Icaro” and “In cordata”.
After gaining a reasonable amount of experience in dealing with young people in Italy and abroad, the Oliver Twist Foundation has an increasing desire to open an initiative to run directly in Milan. As a result the Board of Directors gives the go-ahead for the General Manager to carry out a requirements analysis in Milan to determine project scope, develop a social action model, and identify a team.
The Foundation then concentrates its efforts on implementing this ambitious project. After six months of in depth analysis the Oliver Twist Foundation establishes that there is a lack of quality resources for young people in Milan, in terms of somewhere to go where they can feel they are listened to and accompanied by adults during their development. It is with this awareness that the Oliver Twist Foundation decides to open the “Oliver Twist Academy” in the centre of Milan. Art becomes a tool for motivating the young people involved and giving them values such as commitment, enthusiasm, perseverance and solidarity. This was furthered developed by two very important encounters – the first with Pilar Bravo, an experienced music professional keen to transmit her passion to children, and Luigi Ballerini, psychoanalyst, writer and role model for many young people in the schools of Milan. This marks the start of a great adventure alongside Pilar and Luigi and the General Manager of the Oliver Twist Foundation, Anna Venturino, which constitutes the Foundation’s main activity from 2010 to 2014.
During 2009 the Oliver Twist Foundation continues with supporting and working alongside the Cometa Association in the construction of the Oliver Twist School.
Also in 2009 the Oliver Twist Foundation sets up a partnership with the J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, with which it develops the “Icaro” project – a day study centre belonging to the Piccolo Principe NPO in the Gratosoglio district of Milan.
In April 2009 the Foundation supports various creative workshops in the Quarto Oggiaro and Bovisa districts with the “Re Mida a Scuola” (King Mida at School) project. The initiative, managed in conjunction with the Muba Children’s Museum and La Fulcina Social Co-operative, involves more than 700 children between 6 and 11 years of age. In the same month the Foundation creates the “Momo” project aimed at children and young people in care. Momo organises summer holidays with the aim of providing encouragement and new interests by sharing phases of development with peers and teachers. The project is repeated in 2010.
19th September 2009 is an important day for the Foundation. The “Oliver Twist School” is inaugurated! Various authorities take part in the event, including the Chairman of the Lombardy Region, the Como provincial and Local Council Departments, companies and other contributors who have helped the Oliver Twist Foundation to support the initiative. The school opens its door to the youngsters. For the first year it offers three professional courses – textiles, catering, and the employment course aimed at young people who left school without getting a junior secondary school qualification. Therefore a new adventure gets underway for Cometa and the Oliver twist Foundation.
In the same period the Foundation opens “E mo’ pazziamm”, a children’s recreation centre in Naples, in conjunction with the Progetto Uomo Social Co-operative. This is a project situated in one of the most problematic areas of Naples (Rione Traiano) and is aimed at children between 5 and 13 years of age and their families. The aim is to tackle social disadvantage, by providing a place for recreation, growth and impromptu get-togethers for children and their parents.
In December 2009, after the terrible earthquake in Abruzzo and the various inspections carried out locally, the Foundation approves two initiatives, the first of which is called “Raccontiamoci dopo il terremoto” (Tell us following the earthquake) and is implemented in conjunction with the local civil protection department and the Aquilani Psychology Association (Apaq).The second project called “Live” is implemented thanks to the contribution of Musica per l’Abruzzo (Music for Abruzzo), and managed by the L’Aquila Children’s Museum (Mubaq).
The “Cocomero” (Watermelon) project is funded in the same period, which transpires from the Foundation’s desire to provide children and young people with summer activities in educational day centres. To this effect a full programme of trips, shows and concerts is organised in conjunction with the Ethical Society Co-operative and a five-a-side pitch is upgraded in conjunction with the San Camillo Association in the historical centre of Naples, to enable the youngsters to enjoy themselves by playing sport.
In December 2009 Oliver Twist signs an important agreement with Credit Suisse Emea Foundation; thanks to the “A School for Everyone” project the team within the Oliver Twist School is reinforced and relationships with companies in the area are strengthened.
In April 2008 the Foundation backs the creation of the Piccolo Principe NPO following a request from various professionals who have been working on the “Piccolo Principe” project for two years. The desire is to consolidate methods and extend the Gratosoglio initiative to elementary and middle schools in Milan. The Foundation subsequently becomes a benchmarking partner for the Association, which acquires legal autonomy.
In the same period the Foundation develops a social action model with the non-profit organisation Attraverso la Montagna, involving a climbing project for young people from the educational facilities. The project is called “In Cordata!” (Get Roped Up) and is aimed at young people ranging from 10 to 17 years old. The objective is for them to view climbing as an important learning opportunity that makes the most of their abilities, improves their self-esteem, and fuels their desire for achievement. The project is repeated in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
In October 2008 the Foundation plays an active role in setting up a network between various leading Italian organisations – the Cariplo, DeAgostini, Umano Progresso and Aiutare i Bambini Foundations. As a result these foundations approve and finance three major projects:
The Foundation becomes a member of the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA)), the most important philanthropy organisation in Europe, in order to share and acquire skills by having access to the best European experiences relating to Venture Philanthropy.
In June the Oliver Twist Foundation implements two extra-curricular percussion workshops through the “Capitan Uncino” (Captain Uncino) project at Gratosoglio for forty 1st-year middle school youngsters who had been involved with the annual Piccolo Principe music workshop.
Also in June the Oliver Twist Foundation and Associazione San Camillo upgrade an after-school programme for young people in Naples through the “Icaro” project, which is aimed at youngsters between 6 and 13 years of age from the most disadvantaged areas of the city, giving them the chance to attend after-school facilities with their families to develop their relationships.
The Foundation also sets up its “La Casa di Luisa” (House of Luisa) project along with Associazione San Camillo, which involves the creation of a multi-purpose centre for young people and their families and is aimed at youngsters between 6 and 13 years of age living with extremely difficult family situations, in an attempt to reduce the possibility of them being taken into care.
In December 2007 the Foundation steps up its activities in Naples by opening two new educational facilities,“Imparando a Volare” (Learning to Fly) and “Gli amici di Oliver” (Oliver’s Friends). The first is set up with the Etica Social Cooperative to support and protect 6 female victims of abuse. The second is created in conjunction with Associazione Jonathan and is designed for 8 juvenile offenders referred by the authorities, who are provided with training and educational opportunities to reduce the risk of them re-offending and promote their rehabilitation back into society.
The Oliver Twist Foundation starts operating in Lombardy in 2006 after carefully analysing the problems of disadvantaged young people and identifying the area in Italy that would benefit from the Foundation’s activities. The Foundation works alongside the University of the Sacred Heart in Milan to develop the “Fabbrica del Talento” (The Talent factory), a day centre set up in the former Martinitt orphanage in Milan to provide a selection of workshops for 50 young people referred to the centre. By constantly monitoring the project the Foundation begins to see the importance of using art as a tool for inspiring children and young people and improving academic achievement.
In April of the same year, the Oliver Twist Foundation and the Martinengo Cooperative in the Corvetto area of Milan inaugurate “La casa di Sam” (House of Sam), a day centre for 23 children with difficult family situations who need educational support and someone to talk to and receive support from during the day. The centre provides young people with an opportunity to participate in positive educational, relationship and learning experiences.
In the same period the Foundation finances and implements the “Famiglie Insieme” (Families Together) project at Monte Cremasco (CR) in conjunction with Associazione Fraternità. This involves 12 youngsters ranging from 0 to 18 years old and is designed to create two family environments, with each accommodating 4 resident children and 2 in emergency care.
Also in the same year, the Foundation starts operating in Campania along with two local organisations, Associazione Jonathan and E.T.I.C.A. (Energy to Increase Children Assistance) Cooperative. With the first the Foundation contributes to launching the “Gabbiano” (Seagull) project, creating a work preparation workshop for 12 young people and upgrading the Jonathan Facility. With E.T.I.C.A. the Foundation upgrades the “L’altra metà del cielo” (The Other Half of the Sky) facility and provides an advanced training course for the educational team, delivered by national experts.
In conjunction with the Lombardy Regional Educational Institute the area of Gratosoglio in the suburbs of Milan is identified as the place to develop the “Il Piccolo Principe” (Little Prince) project. This involves an initiative created and shared with the Arcadia Teaching Organisation and includes three primary schools with 650 children. The aim of the project is to support teachers, families and pupils with various workshops, counselling, and a series of evening sessions on parenting to improve children’s family environment.
Following in depth analysis in November 2006 the Oliver Twist Foundation identifies Associazione Cometa as a reputable organisation with which to develop and share the objective of supporting children living in difficult situations. This results in the desire to create a school along with the Cometa facility and so the construction of the “Oliver Twist School” in Como commences.
In December 2006 the Foundation, in conjunction with the Cooperativa Sociale Fraternità Creativa opens a new residential facility at Pisogne in Lombardy with its “La Casa sul Lago” (The House on the Lake) project, which was created after analysing the area and realising that there is a lack of residential facilities for neglected, abused and disadvantaged children and young people.
In the same period the Foundation sets up the “Tutti in Squadra!” (We’re Part of a Team) sports workshop for youngsters under the care of the Somascan fathers in Lecco. With this project the Foundation provides an educational and training path through the sports workshop delivered to approximately 30 adolescents from the 4 educational facilities at Casa San Girolamo.