WeFree Days

Monday we continued our tour of the grounds and learned more about the philosophy behind the San Pa program.  Yesterday was spent hanging out with the kids and the teens during WeFree celebration at San Pa.

IMG_1277

We toured the kennels on Monday.  One of San Pa’s social enterprises is training therapy dogs.  They also take in retired police dogs and strays. They have about 140 dogs on the premises and the crew spends their days socializing with the dogs, training them and making them feel loved and welcome.

Before San Pa was San Pa, it was a vineyard.  After its transition to a community, San Pa retained the vineyards as one of its social enterprises.  The wine produced by San Pa is renowned and has won several awards.  The process is quite extensive.  In August it is typically slow for several sectors in the community because most of Italy goes on Holiday or “vacanza” for the month.  IMG_1299Thus, most of San Pa’s outside customers are closed and that translates to down-time for many departments at San Pa.  For those residents who find themselves with slow work during that time they often help harvest the grapes in the vineyards.  Thus begins the elaborate process of crushing the grapes, removing impurities and fermenting in oak barrels in a climate-controlled cellar.  When ready, the wines are bottled, corked, labeled and shipped throughout the world.  IMG_1291

IMG_1292

We passed by the stables where the cows (used for producing milk for the cheese made at San Pa) and the pigs (used for meat and sausage sold to the public or used to feed the residents) but did not have the time for a tour.  Neither did we have the opportunity to view the equine sector where the horses are used for therapy, breeding and show. Perhaps on another day.

Tuesday was a big day at San Pa – WeFree Days 2017.  WeFree Days is a two-day event designed to be both educational and fun for teens across Italy.  Over 3,000 students attended the festivities!  There were dance performances, theater, music, art and crafting events for the students.  For the adults there was a public forum with speakers from a variety of disciplines to discuss ideas and issues surrounding drugs, educational systems and prevention.  The students had a wonderful time and really appreciated the interaction of the San Pa residents discussing their stories with drugs and the dangers of addiction.  It was quite moving! IMG_20171010_084147099_HDR

IMG_20171010_083716782

As I have mentioned earlier, one of the most rewarding parts of this workshop is the opportunity to be present with the residents.  I have spent countless hours having conversations with many residents – Dylan, Tom, Scott, Mark, Edo, Gustavo – to name a few.  We’ve shared some laughs, sure, but we’ve also shared our stories.  I’ve answered many questions about my journey in recovery, told my history and shared what I’ve learned during the process.  The value of human connection, empathy and fellowship cannot be underestimated.  We all struggle with the same challenges, we all share in the same joys.

IMG_20171010_084258591

Making art with Steph and Rachele

We are family, regardless of the language barriers, because love overcomes all obstacles.

IMG_1315

Enjoying WeFree Days

 

Advertisements

Music and Art and Family

Various ramblings heard during the Easter weekend:

While sitting around the dinner table during Easter the conversation turned to mEaster 2015usic.  Kris was asked, “What kind of music do you like to listen to?”  “Oh, I like the rap music” he answered.  Then he turns to Kathy Golden, Eileen’s mom and says, “Sorry Gran. I will not dance the disco with you. You will have to find someone else.”  Cut to Kathy who is laughing so hard that she must wipe away the tears.

On Good Friday there was a multisensory art exhibit that coincided with the stations of the cross.  The art, music, poetry and readings combined to make an already emotional event extraordinary and stellar.

Resurrection Day

Resurrection Day by Shannon Almanzar

Entombed

Laid in a Tomb by Annie Cullen

Last Supper

The Last Supper by Pamela Stopfer

Mary

Mother and John by Anne Fantini

Finally, during Good Friday service this song was performed by two young women in our church.  Angelic.