Markus und Andre beim NORMA Help Day in Maintal.

Hands-on volunteering

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Andre holds the tape, I tear off a piece. Then we tape an outlet up. Andre right, I left. He tells me that he loves football. “What position?” “Striker!” “Wow, great!” Andre beams in pleasure.

“My friends play soccer, too – right now, here at school.” But Andre is busy – he wanted to tape the hallway sockets with me. Later, we paint the hall walls together. He tells me about his life – the life of a bright, cheerful and funny 16-year-old.

NORMA Help Day

NORMA Group encourages employees to support social responsibility through volunteering.

NORMA Help Day

NORMA Help Day was launched in 2014, held for the first time at the Maintal site. 35 employees took part already in the first year.

NORMA Help Day

The campaign first went international in 2015 – in 24 countries worldwide. Two years after its start, 800 participants were involved.

NORMA Help Day

A survey showed that 96% of NORMA Help Day participants would recommend participating to their colleagues.

Andre attends Friedrich Fröbel School in Maintal. A special school, or more precisely a “school with a focus on mental development and a department of physical and motor development.” What does that mean?

Acting Principal Jutta Weiser explains it to me: “We are talking about different learning impairments, comprehensive and less comprehensive. It’s a very broad spectrum.” It includes speech, thought, motor skill and social behavior development. “Some children develop differently than most of their peers.” Andre, for one.

NORMA Help Day is International

We are a group of eight colleagues helping this day at Friedrich Fröbel School. Other colleagues are working at the same time at a children’s day center, a family center and a wildlife group in Maintal.

In China, Serbia, Turkey and the US, and other countries as well, teams are committing to a good cause. NORMA Help Day is international.

Before we get started, Jutta Weiser leads us through the school and gives us a look into the everyday life of the children and teenagers. Around 135 pupils in 18 classes attend the school. They all come from Maintal and Hanau.

We see some classrooms and the small swimming pool where students practice their motor skills.

Inclusion Means Equality

One of my colleagues wants to know how lessons work. “Our classes are formed by age and school year, not by skills or performance,” explains Jutta Weiser.

When living together inclusion means equality, respect and dignity are fundamental. At school, inclusion means that everyone can participate in the classroom – even if learning objectives are individually adapted. “We are still struggling, for example, to get more pedagogical specialists. There is a big shortage.”

Friedrich Fröbel School

Friedrich Fröbel School is attended by around 135 children and teenagers between the ages of 6 and 18. Its occupational orientation intensively prepares students for the working world.

Friedrich Fröbel School

The school is therefore always seeking internships in the region. Knowledge of such opportunities would be welcome by Principal Elisabeth Görgen at the telephone number +49 61 81 49 58 60.

Friedrich Fröbel School

The school is always grateful for donations – it is currently seeking funds for new school buses. Routing details are as follows: IBAN DE 31506500230153016902. BIC HELADEF1HAN.

Suddenly a loud “Hello!” – two girls run past us. Then we take a look in the gym, which is equipped with special equipment.

The school has set itself the goal of enabling all young people to participate in social life. Jutta Weiser proudly explains how one student was given a job after an internship at a supermarket chain.

We Discuss our Experiences

Then we roll the walls with paint. Andre brushes around a heater with fine strokes. I tell him I used to play basketball. Which position? “Power Forward!” Andre nods approvingly.

Four hours later, all the walls of the hall are shining freshly white. We say goodbye to Andre, and I snap a few more selfies of us.

Later on, the group discusses our experiences from the day. How great it was to make a difference as a team and see a direct result. How important it was to give back – right where it was needed. And how important campaigns like NORMA Help Day are.

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