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Healing the unemployed youth.

For the past four years, our church has set a specific task for the office for youth work, to work with the youth on unemployment through churches and schools. The scope of duties include development and promotion of concepts for an Evangelical youth work with an orientation to life and profession and the initiation and running of projects to meet these needs.

One of the most important matters in this context is the pedagogical and practical accompaniment of male and female volunteers and full-time workers in the Evangelical Youth. Most of the energy goes in conducting training workshops with cooperation from seminary and most importantly, through community actions. Our aim is to be lively and creative, so that many young people will take part in what we offer.

The worst affected by employment, reduction of staff or displacement of employment are the women who have dropped out of school without completing their studies. They are very worried about their job market and of their own identity. Boys are especially affected by fears concerning an uncertain future.

In the background of growing request for education and the existing high level of unemployment among young women and girls, a concept is necessary, which improves their chances for professional and thereby also for social integration. It is necessary to recognize the strong and weak points of the unemployed and then to support them in their qualification and to enlarge their competencies. The chances for professional integration can only be promoted when we will be successful to find enterprises that offer apprenticeships for girls and young women.

Equal opportunities and reducing prejudices in the sex-specific work with girls, is one of the most important aims of our work. Our educational plans offer courses on planning for one's life, especially for girls and young women who are disadvantaged in learning or with low grades. We offer basic experience with the following specifics: Communication, social safety, education and the confirmation to find perspectives for a successful and good life. Therefore we not only offer professional help and work possibilities, but also love, partnership and relationship, spare time activities, awareness on politics and society, family and children. Therefore it is also important to provide ourselves with enough space for vital energy, strong enough to cope with the challenges that we face. We try to be very practical and according to our finances, fairly economical.

We, as Evangelical Youth, do invite all male and female pupils of the final classes and their teachers to join us in our motto: Co-operation on trade and industry, school and church/partnership for apprenticeships. More than 4'000 young people took part in our educational activity in Goslar, Wolfenbuttel, Helmstedt, Seesen, Bad Ganders helm since March 1999 and also for the third time now in Blankenburg/Wernigerode. We look for eccentric places, for example, the main workshop, forge and garage of the former mine directly in front of the Rammelsberg, the church campus or the medieval St. Georgenhof so that we are free to do what we want which is so important for our youth work. Not only trade and industry give a positive resonance to these events but volunteers also show an incredible thirst for activity, giving their best effort.

We meet in open rural areas meet with district and municipal governments, ministries, local government authorities and we get special licenses for places for example, the place in front of the town-hall in Helmstedt. We are being supported by our provosts and church congregations, our data processing department and the audio-visuals center.

Young people who usually are not interested in church, get in touch with us directly. We do have various and productive contacts. These youth activity-days are a good possibility to show the contents of our work in such a way that it gives us the needed publicity. We are very happy that the people in our church districts also show their interest and want to join our work in the partnership for apprenticeships. Those people who joined us say: "It is wonderful that the church arranges something like that, which shows that they have put their heart and soul in this matter!

I am often asked: "How can this work be fulfilled through the Gospel?" We are all asked to develop ourselves and to live a positive life. Christian belief calls for relation and participation. We are more than we ourselves think, experience, feel or believe. And that is not only because we are single persons, only responsible for ourselves, but also because there is something in our personality that shows us that we are responsible for other people too. The godlike personality that shows our responsibility for other people, that which consoles, strengthens and unburdens us personally.

There is no sentence more often to be read in the bible than the ones:

"Don't be afraid!"

"God is always with you".

"Don't be afraid!"--that is a word, young people need at the moment. And this in combined with concrete offers. Our church stands in front of a world that wants to know how to cope with crisis in fields like economy, personal identity, ecology, guilt, and hope for the future ... Any Christian has to be open for what happens in this world. We are part of a cultural context and should know this context in detail. We have to understand the time we are living in and also the language of our young people and we have to use their language too.

It is a challenge for us working in our church to give an answer to the true and legitimate question of young people "Where do I go?" and these young people have the right to get an answer! Through working with the unemployed young people, we see a chance to get very closely relating to young people. This gives us the opportunity to experience what and how they witness, think, feel and believe, but it also helps young people to be reintegrated to their daily lives and to their social responsibility.


Evangelical Lutheran Church in Braunschweig, Germany
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Title Annotation:Evangelical Lutheran Church, Braunschweig, Germany
Author:Richter, Sabine
Publication:Women Magazine
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Jul 1, 2003
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