To end the month of volunteering and social initiatives I wanted to interview Piera, a young Sicilian woman who made the Civil Service in Palermo.
- What is the Italian Civil Service?
Before it was seen as an alternative way to serve your country. As military service was compulsory for men, you could choose to declare conscientious objector and serve your country differently. Now both the military and the civil service are volunteers. Normally when you do you do the civil service you do it for beneficial entities or nonprofit entities, not for companies.
- Why did you decide to do it? What was your motivation?
I made the Civil Service in the Luzma, which is the Office of Social Services to Minors, which takes care of the teenagers who are involved in criminal proceedings. My motivation was not to serve the country because I had that feeling of patriotism; I did it because I believed in the project. The project was called Grow with Luzma and it gave me the opportunity to be in contact with these guys, to know them for a year and to be able to grow with them and at the same time I did my personal contribution.
- And about what was this project?
Well, initially I had to do some training, I did support for the selection of the guys who participate in certain activities, I mostly started with an approach to understand the dynamics of teenagers and begin to know them. Since then I have been getting into other more specific workshops about writing, theatre… I remember in particular a project in which I took part actively and in which together with a social worker we tried to commemorate the international dates: day of human rights, peace day… We chose a group of guys and we talk about the theme, we put them in touch with an association that would like to do some activity on this date and we pointed our boys. So we made them relate to other people. It was also nice that, as they had been trained in the subject, they were at the same lever with the other kids in the association. Then together we did something for society: they learned, collaborated and commemorated.
I knew the boys. Gradually I understood why they had done what they did, how they ended well, I also learned to relate to them in a different way and they also saw the institution in a different way. I was a cross connection element, the junction between the institution for social workers and for the children, which was the objective of the program Grow with Luzma. And from my point of view, the goal has been achieved, especially since I’m doing activities with them voluntarily in my spare time.
- Do you think this experience will help you in your future career?
Yes, it has helped me tremendously. Especially since I’m licensing in Political Science and I know not sure what I’ll do next, I’m thinking I’d like to study Sociology. Even my thesis is based on Reparative Justice programs, so yes. I think that will serve me well for the future, especially if I continue in this field that I love
- Are there many young in Sicily doing the Civil Service?
Yes, here many. The Civil Service is paid so it is resorted to as a way to have a job.
- Do you think that volunteering is something popular among Sicilians youth? What is the most popular field?
Yes, it’s very common. Let’s say in Palermo in general there are many people who do volunteer, especially socially. There are many people who are dedicated to this and very active.
In my opinion the most popular sector is socially and in my experience it works. It is also true that there are enough environmental volunteering, it depends on personal biases, but in my opinion the most popular is social youth. I can really say that there is active social reality, and unpaid. You may not have many funds to these issues but in my experience people do not for this reason.
Also I have many friends who are looking for work and decide to begin with volunteering and make it experience. It can be seen as a way to resume but there are many people who do it because they believe in it.
The Civil Service can also be seen as an aid to the inclusion in the workplace. For example there are many people who study Social Education, then make the Civil Service at a Family House and then can be hired. In fact this is something that happens very often. Or, if not, you can also continue volunteering as would my case.