We Haven’t Been Able to Innovate Christmas (Which is Already Perfect as it Is)

But at least this year we are contribuiting renewing “Gruppo della Gioia” van.


According to ISTAT n research, 6.63 million Italians commit to voluntary activities. A figure that corresponds to almost 12% of the population.

I’ll tell you how the idea came about: in mid-November, we gathered to decide which initiative to take at Christmas. Each of us put a series of proposals on the table but it seemed only banality to come out.

As is done in the best brainstorming, we have made a commitment and we have taken little notes where each of us has written in secret a word that could represent Christmas.

We open the cards and read them aloud:


It was clear to everyone that the true meaning of Christmas is the family.

So what could we do for families?

the answer came by itself: helping those families already help them.

We found out and found that, near our offices, there is an association called ” Group of Joy Volunteers “, which helps families with disabled people and others.

I interviewed Clarissa, an association volunteer, and asked her how the Volunteers of the “Gruppo della Gioia” was born

The association was founded towards the end of the 1990s at the behest of Aldo Ciaponi, a local missionary who brings together a group of volunteers with the aim of giving relief to families with disabled people.

The group over the years has seen numerous adhesions of children and volunteers and for this reason, in 2,000 it was made an official association, initially with the sole purpose of social assistance to the disabled and relief to their families.

Over the years, the Group is increasingly attentive, extending its attention to the social aspects of the community, promoting a culture of integration of the marginalized.

The main goal, today, is to avoid social exclusion in a different context, not just those related to disability.

Currently, the Group operates in different contexts and with different users: disabled people, underage, the elderly and more generally, people at risk of social exclusion.

The objective that involves over 150 members and about 80 active volunteers is to prevent marginalization, bringing disabled children to go on trips and offering entertainment for the elderly.

Events are also organized with the aim of collecting funds that can help the association in organizing the activities.

The coordination of the association is managed by a board formed by about 7 volunteers and carried out by a fixed and prepared social worker.

In addition to the family circle, there is a world to approach but often disabled children lack opportunities.

Today the association has about 20 subjects with 100% disabilities.

These users are offered various activities with two main major objectives:

  1. The first is to make people with disabilities enjoy pleasant experiences and momentsmaking them interact with each other and with people who are different from their family and who are normally dedicated to them.
  2. The second is to raise, at least for a few hours, the care and custody of the disabled person’s families.

The activities offered to children are varied and include sports, wellness, pet therapy, music therapy, recreational outings and participation in local events.

Each year, for example, the Group participates in Christmas Running, Cantine di Morbegno, Fiera del Bitto and many other activities.

Never missing is even the disco night, an afternoon of shopping or a good movie at the cinema.

Engine lovers are always satisfied with the track rides at Monza or the visit to a racetrack with entrance to the paddock.

Artistic and expressive laboratories, aquatic routes and weekends on the snow are also offered to allow children to experiment on skis (thanks to the provision of adequate equipment for alpine skiing, sitting category, qualified instructors and tireless and unbeatable volunteers!).

According to Istat n research, 30% of Italian residents are at risk of poverty and marginalization

An alarming fact that is increasingly frightening if we think that this percentage does not seem to be diminishing.

Think of how much serenity can give these people who are mostly disabled, adults and elderly left alone, the fact of being able to find in situations full of joy songs, games, skits and laughter.

These activities take place monthly at the Retirement Home.

Money: the thorn in the side of almost all the associations

The idea is as old as the pyramids, but fundraising initiatives for associations are still the main source of livelihood along with private donations.

The Group of Joy Volunteers knows this well, in fact, every year it raises funds to support its activities through participation in three major events in the lower Valtellina: 

• The Festival of Fried Gnocchi

That this year counts for its eleventh edition

• The Christmas bingo

An evergreen for every self-respecting “family”

• The Rosazzurro tournament.

5-a-side football where each team will have to field at least one girl on the field

Would you ever travel your family on an old, non-compliant van? 

The answer is NO.

For this reason, we do not want even the boys and the association’s volunteers put their lives at risk with an old and run-down van.

Our gift this year was to support the foundation for the purchase of a new minibus that can safely transport youngsters and make this great family “Group of Joy Volunteers” feel a little safer and supported by the communities and businesses nearby.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Cy.Pag.

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