Good books can nurture your spirit, but what if they could also help you achieve a place within the community?
BookBox is a project operating in several Italian cities. Originally launched in Florence, it is now also gaining popularity in Milan and Piacenza. It is a driving force of education, social integration, independence and group spirit that is making a real difference to people’s lives.
Finding work is an essential goal for young people as they grow into adulthood: it facilitates the consolidation of one’s personal identity, self-confidence and independence. But growing up can be more difficult for people with autism. After finishing school, adults affected with the condition can become confined to their houses, reducing social integration and personal independence. Autism can bring lifelong challenges and what has been offered in Italy, for those over the age of eighteen (in terms of services and job opportunities), is not ideal.
This is where BookBox steps in. It operates by setting up small libraries in the waiting rooms of places that receive regular visits: such as clinics, pharmacies and so on. With responsibility, periodic updates, and distribution of books and magazines being entrusted to young people with autism.
This gives them a chance to engage in work experience and moreover to build their self-confidence – something which can be difficult due to social stigma.
The project also provides a social good: the products the young people are responsible for are books. This means not only are the young people benefiting from the experience of working with the project, so too is everyone else.
Bookbox is a project that offers young people with autism the chance to access the working world and by doing so, to provide a valuable service to their communities while building self-esteem and personal independence: truly, the project is a positive step toward fighting the stigma that often surrounds mental disabilities and toward helping vulnerable young people find their place in society.