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Inauguration of the Children’s Centre of the University of Parma

Inauguration of the Children’s Centre of the University of Parma


Published on 30 November 2023

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A new building housing the Children's Centre of the University of Parma and the operational headquarters of the Accademia dei Giorni Straordinari Foundation is now officially open at the Science and Technology Campus of the University of Parma.

The University of Parma has entered into an agreement with the Accademia dei Giorni Straordinari Foundation to deliver an educational project aimed at involving children and young people aged between 10 and 14 who find themselves vulnerable due to economic, social, or family conditions. The objective is to work with these children and adolescents to foster human, social, and cultural development – promoting inclusion and ensuring that no one is left behind.

The Foundation and the University are also inviting a dialogue with other local organisations and groups that share their aspirations, and that have significant experience and expertise to contribute to the project. The inauguration of the building marks the start of a shared journey and collaboration between institutions and civil society, evolving through the involvement of others who can offer their expertise in educational and formative fields.

The project will look to tackle school dropout and educational poverty by providing wrap-around support and educational opportunities that are tailored to each individual’s needs and interests. This will include taking part in practical workshops, sport, art, music, and cooking, as well as more traditional subjects. The young people identified for the project will benefit from a supportive environment to study and do their homework, as well as having the chance  to share in motivational presentations from successful individuals from the worlds of sports, entertainment, science, and culture, and including talks from local entrepreneurs and various professionals.

“The foundation was established to support minors, who are experiencing challenges of family and social fragility, in their extracurricular growth journey,” says Paolo Barilla, president of the Accademia dei Giorni Straordinari Foundation.

“Our intent is to create an educational alliance over time with all local entities operating in various educational areas, to build a network capable of providing cultural tools necessary to face life and its inevitable challenges. It involves encouraging young individuals to cultivate passions and talents, fostering their proactive inclusion in social relationships. This commitment is for the benefit of minors struggling to keep pace with more fortunate peers, with the advantages inevitably benefiting the entire community. An open and supportive community that provides growth opportunities for everyone regardless of their economic status will be a better, more tolerant society, free from prejudice, modern in the most authentic sense. Helping children and young people become aware, autonomous, serene adults who believe in themselves and their abilities will have a formidable social impact to collectively face the challenges that the future holds for all, especially in today’s context.”


The educational project and objectives of the Foundation were presented during the inauguration by Elio Volta, the Coordinator of the Foundation, with two decades of experience working with young people in Giocampus, a well-established educational organisation in the Parma region which focuses on the well-being of future generations, with specific attention to physical and nutritional education.

The new building and project will work alongside the University nursery and kindergarten for children aged 0-6, providing increased integration and greater opportunities for socialisation in a multi-lingual, multi-generational setting.

“The structure we inaugurated” says (now former) Rector Paolo Andrei, “is a fundamental acquisition for a project of great importance not only for the University but for the entire region. Finally, the University of Parma will have a centre for children, benefiting the academic community and strongly interconnected with local services. However, this is only part of a broader plan in which we have the privilege to work together with the Foundation. In contiguous spaces, created at record speed, two complementary projects focused on education and inclusion will live and grow together. The University provides its knowledge and expertise in close synergy with the Foundation, seeking innovative solutions for the well-being of individuals and the community…..”

The new building is an attractive, welcoming design, and an innovative and sustainable construction. It was completed in just over a year, with the whole project being enthusiastically led by Professor Chiara Vernizzi for the University of Parma, and Dr. Umberto Panizzi for the Accademia dei Giorni Straordinari Foundation ETS.