„Wish burgers“ and wish lists New Year's Eve at the Bad Godesberg Children's Home

BAD GODESBERG/WACHTBERG · For many children at Villa Holzem in Bad Godesberg it is not certain whether they will ever be able to return to their families. On New Year's Eve there are „wish burgers“ and wish lists.

"I love New Year's Eve," Lara shouts through the kitchen of Villa Holzem. "I can stay up until really late.“ The others laugh at the table of the social therapeutic living group of the Evangelische Jugendhilfe Godesheim. "What are you going to do then?" asks Yasemin Yazici, the pedagogical director. "Eat and drink well, play and watch movies," is Lara's plan as she and the boys in the group examine the New Year's Eve decoration. "And then we'll go into the garden and see where the fireworks are," adds ten-year-old Kevin. Six-year-old Tim carefully asks whether the children from the three groups at Villa Holzem are allowed to light firecrackers themselves. "Yes, the big ones, who are already twelve," says deputy director Jennifer Thönnes.

The children at the kitchen table are experiencing their second New Year's Eve in the living group this year. "When they came to us a year and a half ago, they were aggressive, knew no structures and no discipline," explained Yazici in the GA discussion. Everyone had experienced bad things and violence. Their parents had not been able to take care of them.

"They had to be taken fromtheir families and are now being cared for therapeutically. Since then, the group has been trying to develop a perspective for them. "Very few will be able to return to their families," Thönnes adds. The protected space is immensely important. "These children want to be accepted, liked and held. Now the main thing is to arrange as normal a day as possible with those who are not allowed to go home on New Year's Eve so as not to give them the feeling of missing something.“

Meanwhile, Tim asks himself atthe cosy round table whether he will manage to keep his eyes open until midnight this New Year's Eve. "I already have new teeth, I'm already a big boy," the six-year-old shouts and immediately shows Christian Steinberg from the regional youth welfare office in Godesheim, who is just visiting the kitchen, his two gaps in his teeth. "Great, Tim.“ Steinberg pats the excited boy on the shoulder with appreciation. "What will we eat on New Year's Eve this year," Lara continues. „Last year we had raclette.“ Thönnes still remembers. This year Lisa Wittmeyer will accompany the children into the new year. "Well, I will make burgers with you according to your wishes,“ suggests the pedadogist.

Wishes for the new year

The ingredients are immediately discussed at the table. Cheese is absolutely necessary, meatballs, cucumbers, tomatoes and meat sausages are also necessary. "And ketchup and mayonnaise," Leon interferes in the conversation for the first time. The others immediately agree with him. Would the minder also bring them wine and beer? The children bend over with laughter. "But we absolutely want to drink Fanta and Sprite," says Lara. "And I might even get a sip of adult cola," Tim hopes. Wittmeyer strokes his hair. Her suggestion to have a tournament makes everyone curious. "That's all I'm telling you," says the teacher. Then she wants to write down wishes for the new year with the children. "The notes are burned and sent into the air so that they can be fulfilled."

Tim is immediately on board. He wishes for a bicycle. Lara wishes to become a midwife later. "I love babies." Kevin sighs, "I wish I could concentrate better at school." Lara comforts him: "Oh, you know, it happens to everyone that they don't notice something." Leon, who could actually spend New Year's Eve at home with his mother and little brother, would much rather be at Villa Holzem. Everyone at the table looks at him in astonishment. "We are happy that you also like to be with us, Leon," says Yazemin Yazici, moved. This was the first time that the shy boy openly expressed his sense of belonging to the group, she explains later, when the children are no longer listening.

(Original text: Ebba Hagenberg-Miliu / Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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