A Case of Recovery

The San Saturnino Onlus Youth Centre’s aims are:

  • To support children and adolescents in their growing process, enhancing social responsibility and self-respect through education, laboratories and free play,
  • To ensure support to individuals and groups,
  • To provide psychological and social care, including develop a trustworthy relationship, promoting social skills, reducing risk of drug abuse and school dropout.

The Centre is located in suburban Rome where there is a high risk of an early contact with substances.

The case of F. is a well known story for the educators of the Centre. She has haunted the Centre habitually since she was 12 years old. Her parents divorced when she was little. Her father went to live in the city with another woman, whilst she stayed with her mother, who has a psychiatric disorder. F. started right away to enact deviant behaviors: she did not attend school and she was acting provocative most of the time. When she turned 13 years old she started to make extensive use of all sorts of drugs, she was dating a guy who abuse heroin and most of her friends were drug abusers. She also dropped out of school. Later after, she was taken away from her mother and on two occasions she was included in a family home, having had experienced repeated episodes of family conflict. Unfortunately, she ran away from both of them. She also ended up in jail for drug detention and dealing. Treatment programmes, such as methadone or psychological consultation at the Public Drug Treatments Units (SerT) did not work with her. Recently she started dragging herself out of addiction. The Youth Centre played a substantial part in building with her the so called Recovery Capital. She used the Centre as a safe place where she could establish good relationships with her peers and with the educators. She managed to get the secondary school certificate and the driving license, and she is now attending her fourth year of night high school. Last year she also attended a vocational training in a school of art and crafts. She also took part in an exchange programme with African children and from being a simple volunteer she became a youth worker. She totally changed her life style: she doesn’t smoke anymore and she became vegetarian. Unlike her past behavior, she is now able to keep a grip on herself and she has a life plan.