What is Fit for Life?

“Fit for Life” in Hoyerswerda stands for a joint program of the town and civil society, which strives to build up an encouraging educational landscape in this eastern Saxon town marked by an exodus of young people and demographic change. Hoyerswerda is changing. Education is both the foundation and motor for this change, and if this change is to be successful, education has to be provided in such a way that it reaches society, in particular, children and adolescents and that they can benefit from it. For this reason, the town of Hoyerswerda is assuming part of the responsibility for the development and quality of education. Coordinating the efforts in the town is how this responsibility is put into practice. It is taking top priority and will be managed by the Educational Coordination Office, which is part of RAA Hoyerswerda/Ostsachsen e.V.

What are the goals?

The City Council passed the local concept for action and development, called “Fit for Life”, in 2006. With this decision, taken in the interest of children and adolescents, it decided to achieve closer working relationships between all relevant actors in the town so as to make the transitions between educational levels compatible, to minimize educational inequality and close individual gaps in assistance opportunities. The focus is on giving young people perspectives for the future and providing them with the skills needed to actively contribute to the remaking of their town. In 2012, the concept was continued as an educational program of the town of Hoyerswerda.

What does Fit for Life do?

  • It promotes democratic and job-relevant key competencies of children and adolescents,
  • It systematically improves the educational opportunities of all children and adolescents by concluding annual target agreements between institutions, their network partners as well as the town and its coordination office,
  • It organizes the series of events “Strengthening the educational actors”,
  • It accompanies and evaluates results of model projects such as, for example, productive learning, partnership for education, supplementary job-preparation year, and handles the transfer of such models,
  • It conducts an annual education conference,
  • It is responsible for local educational monitoring by publishing a report on education,
  • It participates in the working group “Weinheim Initiative”.

Who is financing the Coordination Office Education?

  • Freudenberg Foundation, Weinheim
  • The town of Hoyerswerda

Which partners are supporting the Coordination Office Education?

  • The town of Hoyerswerda
  • District of Bautzen
  • Saxon Education Agency
  • Employment Agency
  • Schools
  • Day-care centers
  • Non-government youth welfare service organizations
  • Associations
  • Educational institutions

Why is the Freudenberg Foundation engaged in Fit for Life?

Hoyerswerda is a shrinking town in a region with structural deficiencies. The unemployment rate there is 25.1% at the present time. Of this number, 32% are long-term unemployed and 11.2% are younger than 25 years of age. The social problems ensuing from such high unemployment are increasing steadily. Besides an increasing lack of motivation and frustration, worries about money and alcohol consumption are becoming significant problems. A lack of educational potential and parental guidance in the families is having an evident effect on the children and adolescents. And these become tangible above all in the schools and recreational centers. At the same time, however, the town of Hoyerswerda can offer numerous and diverse, differentiated and effective educational institutions and recreational centers which need to be activated and supported. RAA Hoyerswerda supports schools and, in its practical work, combines the promotion of democratic as well as job-related key competencies of children and adolescents. In view of the growing need for skilled labor, the early job-oriented qualification of children and adolescents is becoming increasingly urgent. Also, given the demographic development, each and every young person will be needed in future.

Coordination Office “Fit for Life”
RAA Hoyerswerda/Ostsachsen e.V.
Evelyn Scholz, Jens Wetzel
Strasse am Lessinghaus 7
D-02977 Hoyerswerda
Phone 0049-(0)03571-416072
Fax 0049-(0)03571-924047

Change Story

Now I know, I can do it!
Never before had I been so nervous! Of course, I would be able to open the vocational information day which I and other members of the student agency had organized and to welcome the many guest. Everything would work out fine. After all, we had prepared well for this occasion. My nervousness was mixed with a considerable portion of wistfulness. This would be the last event I organized as a member of the “Schüleragentur zur beruflichen Frühorientierung”.
More than three years ago, I began working with the student agency. I was in 7th grade when I went to the student agency, which worked from the Léon Foucault Secondary School in Hoyerswerda, for the first time. I, a student with special needs, was on my way to a secondary school! That was a strange feeling. Mrs. W., our coordinator, met me and introduced me to the other members of the student agency. I was much too scared to speak in front of all these strangers, but they accepted me as a member of the team. I also was given my work contract right away.

The tasks at hand were the evaluation of the career aspiration questionnaire and the vocational fair. The preparations were unbelievable: writing invitations, calling companies, organizing the auditorium of the local bank and preparing it for the fair, writing press releases, informing and inviting schools, etc. At the beginning, I really disliked working at the computer. I didn’t know any programs and couldn’t type for the life of me. But that is the nice thing about our team: we help each other. And so I learned how to work at a PC. So, now I can also state “PC skills” on an application.

Apart from everything else, I was scared of speaking in front of a group of people. The others, however, quickly let me know that they were listening and that my opinion was valued. MY first test of courage came when Mr. B., a board member of the energy company Vattenfall, came to visit our school agency. He immediately asked questions about our work. I think I stood there blushing the whole time, but told him about my responsibilities. Personally, I think I explained everything quite well. Mr. B. was very impressed by all of us. When it was time for him to leave, he said: “When I hear what you’re telling me, I think you’re so skilled that I would hire all of you immediately for an apprenticeship in our company!” We hadn’t expected that at all!

And now I am standing here in the stairwell of my school getting ready to open the vocational information day – my last task as a member of the student agency. In the meantime, I have found a real apprenticeship as a doctor’s assistant in Dresden. I know that it will be hard at first – a new city, a new team, difficult tasks. But I have learned and proved that I can be tenacious and successful.