School for Dreamers, Alberto Cabanes: “Turn up the volume of your heart” | Schiller International University Skip to main content Skip to footer

This past month, the “School for Dreamers”, series by professor José Pinto, had a very special guest. We were honored to welcome Alberto Cabanes, from Adopta Un Abuelo (Adopt a Grandparent), to our Madrid campus. He shared his extraordinary story - and entrepreneurial experience - with our students, faculty and staff.

How it Started

Born and raised in Ciudad Real, Spain, he moved to Madrid to study Business Administration. He didn´t really know what he wanted to do for a career, but knew it had to do with the business world.

Fast forward a little to where Alberto was visiting his grandfather in the nursing home where he lived when he befriended Bernardo, an elderly childless widower who dreamed of having grandchildren. This is when Alberto said to Bernardo, “I´ll adopt you as a grandfather”. 

An idea was generated to grant Bernardo´s wish, which over time grew into a business: "What if young people could adopt grandparents and pay them regular visits? The relationship could be beneficial for both and alleviate one of the main problems of aging societies".

Alberto decided to experiment with his idea by setting up a friend with an elder at the same nursing home. He called to check in on them, no one picked up. After a couple of hours, he got in touch with them finding out they did not answer because they were at the cinema together. This is when he knew, his idea would work.

The road was not easy, he had to sell all his possessions and move in with friends to start his business. After countless hours, many struggles, and sleepless nights, Adopta Un Abuelo was born.

Adopta Un Abuelo Today

Available via app or online, volunteers can sign up to give their time to hang out and connect with an elder. Adopta Un Abuelo currently operates in 50+ cities and has had over 3,500 grandparents adopted

Elderly people are a vulnerable group in our society, therefor Adopta Un Abuelo has implemented an exam, ID check and background check to volunteer. Once you are accepted, you then get matched with someone. You can dedicate your time online or offline, to fit your schedule.

An inspiring story we took away from our session with Alberto was one of the participants did not know how to read, and one of the volunteers taught them how.

And what’s in for the volunteers? “Young people can learn so much from the elderly population. They have better stories to tell than Netflix” Alberto says.

Cabanes' advice to young entrepreneurs: "turn up the volume of your heart” and “when you know who you are, everything is easy".

 If you would like to make a difference in someone’s life, you can sign up at

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