Looking forward, Looking back - Internetnews 02.16
Since 1 January Casa Cares is under the administration of the Commissione Sinodale per la Diaconia (CSD - the social services administration of the Waldensian Church). This is a big step forward after months of uncertainty about the future. The atmosphere is positive among the staff and the new administration. Our exiting board, Antoinette and I are optimistic, although no one thinks the process of transition will be an easy one. Changes need to be made as over time it became evident that the complexity of Casa Cares with its work of hospitality and its historical structures could no longer be the responsibility only of a well-meaning board of volunteers.
Many decisions have to be made, the major one being how to insert a social service component to complement the relaunching of the typical work of hospitality. A first commitment could well be a service for migrants, the obvious pressing need of the moment, but thought has also been given to work with disadvantaged youth (back to the Casa Cares foundation!) or with persons with special needs.
But there are also such decisions as when to finally put a new roof on the villa, how to bring the kitchen up to current regulations, how to raise the standards the bedrooms, how to improve promotions, and how to further enhance Casa Cares' commitment to environmental care and to the farm. We think the CSD, the whole church and the many persons interested in relaunching the center have the human resources necessary. The new board is coordinated by Alessandro Sansone of Florence, active for years in social services and a member of the CSD, and includes Valeria Arrabito of Milano and Ulf Koller of Terni. For the moment Mara Bounous, responsible for the guesthouse in Venice, is available for consultation and Daniele DelPriore has been assigned to overview the year of study and planning.
The CSD is responsible for several social service centers from the Waldensian Valleys in the North to Sicily, including the nine other guesthouses. One of the important decisions for Casa Cares is that the staff has been confirmed in this year meant to regroup and plan. Other than the essential volunteers (currently five from three countries), the work remains on the shoulders of the experienced staff: Iris (since 1990) and Eugenio (2015) in the kitchen, Beppe (1997) in maintenance, Giordano (2012) on the land, and Cristina (2014) coordinating. It was decided that the search for Paul's replacement as director will be postponed until the project becomes clearer. Antoinette and Paul are living in Reggello, 4 kilometers away, close enough to help as they are needed with the transition, but not too close.
We are encouraged by the return of several faithful groups: our own church groups such as GLAM (Commission on globalization and environment) organizing a weekend seminar on the environment in March, American universities, Swiss confirmands and a Waldorf school, yoga seminars, theater workshop and music groups. The last three will assure that our renovated theater-chapel will be put to good use.
Looking forward with enthusiasm, we can look back with appreciation. First of all, thanks to the board, led for years by Dr. Stefano Pericoli, all or whom persevered during months of doubt and questioning. Thanks to the many friends who could not imagine Casa Cares closing. Thanks specifically to Dan Berkeland who developed and for years maintained our internet site, to Patty Delony in Chicago and Davide Pinardi in Milano who helped with editing, and to the many, many other friends over the years who made Casa Cares possible. It has been a great team effort!
From now on the e-mail to use is firstname.lastname@example.org. The current site will be phased out and its replacement will be available through www.foresterievaldesi.it. For donations, a big help now as always, the account is at Banca Prossima (IBAN: IT03D0335901600100000140396, Swift/BIC: BCITITMX).
Saluti calorosi e grazie a tutti,
Antoinette e Paul