Concerts doctors: citizens provide education

Hartmut Schwiering (chairman of the Konzer-Doktor-Burgerstiftung), Ingeborg Wagner (dedicated volunteer teacher) and Monika Peters (press officer) Photo: Thiesen

They are bright yellow, stand out everywhere and help to keep our children safe. For the fourth time in a row, the Konzer-Doktor-Burgerstiftung (KoDoBuSt), with the generous support of Mobel Martin, was able to distribute the bright yellow KoDo warning caps to all first-graders in the city and municipality of Konz. Photo: Foundation

The Konzer-Doktor civic foundation has been active since 2008. One of its founders and current chairman, Hartmut Schwiering, remembers the town talks that gave rise to the foundation: “Ideas were collected to raise the profile of the town of Konz. One of the concerns was education, because “education is actually the most important good and it is not only an issue of the state, but also of society”, according to Schwiering.

Education tradition of the concerts considered

A foundation has been established to actively pursue this aspect further. The special feature of the foundation is that it is a community foundation, i.e. a foundation that is not only organized and administered by citizens, but also works for the interests of citizens. Education also played a crucial role in finding a name for the foundation, as the special educational tradition of the concerts was taken into account: In 18. Konz had elementary schools in the nineteenth century, so the Konzer children were said to have a head start in education. In the surrounding area they were nicknamed “concert doctors”. So it seemed obvious to combine the name of a foundation with a focus on education in Konz with this name – the Konzer-Doktor-Burgerstiftung was born. The high level of acceptance within the population was evident right from the start: Instead of the 25.000 euros needed to set up a foundation, five times the foundation capital could be collected within six months. But even today, the coDoBust is widely accepted. The number of 46 founding donors has doubled in the last eight years, and the capital has quadrupled.

Broad spectrum

The different projects of KoDoBust are focused on the (education) and integration of young people. “Especially in the border region, young people with multinational connections need increased support”, according to Schwiering. The spectrum is broad and ranges from reading sponsorships and homework supervision at elementary schools to the promotion of social engagement at secondary schools. At the initiative of the Foundation, for example, the “Bridging the Gap – Generations Working Together” working group was founded at the Realschule Plus in Konz founded. There, students get involved by caring for people in their fourth year of life on a weekly basis. Demand is very high and participation has an impact not only on students, but on society as well. In an age of skills shortages, young people are being introduced to careers in care through such initiatives, sparking an interest in them. Two students have already decided to start training in this field after graduation.

Helping refugees learn German

One of the many KoDoBust projects supervised by Ingeborg Wagner. The retired teacher travels once a week to Konz-Hamm to a residential home of the supporting association Karree Eifel to support unaccompanied minor refugees in learning German. This project is the foundation’s response to current challenges: “We have far too few teachers who speak German as a second language, Schwiering reports. Teaching German of this kind presents special didactic challenges. Some of the young people do not know the alphabet or any other language besides their mother tongue. But their vocabulary is very large, because they have already learned many words during their time in Germany. In addition, the age range of the students is from 14 to 18 years and they have completely different backgrounds. Ingeborg Wagner masters all this not only thanks to her many years of experience with a wide variety of age groups in the school sector, but also thanks to the continuous cooperation of her students. The goal of teaching students to read by summer vacation is accomplished. Until the Christmas vacations, the young people will be familiarized with certain spelling rules.

An anchor for young people

Ingeborg Wagner appreciates the time she spends with her students: “I go home after the two hours and think I’ve done something useful for society.” The former elementary and secondary school teacher is pleased with the progress young people can make with her help. Your work here goes well beyond teaching. She helps her students to find perspectives, to work for these goals and to find orientation in a new world. “Mrs. Wagner is an anchor for these young people”, says Schwiering.

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