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Service Locations Conferences Focus on the Topic of Appreciation in Voluntary Services

Every year, the Friends organise Service Location Conferences in various city, in order to strengthen cooperation with service locations, to include them in designing voluntary services, and to thereby improve the quality of voluntary services. At seven conferences, taking place across Germany, practical supervisors, mentors, and institution directors, exchanged ideas about successful ways to show appreciation.
The multitude of forms, with which appreciation is shown, reflects results from a survey done by the Friends of Waldorf Education with volunteers of the 2015/2016 year. Of the 369 volunteers, who took part, around 80% of them rated the recognition of their work as very good or good. Precisely because earning money is not the main motivation in a voluntary service, the meaning of recognition at work increases so that one can experience it as meaningful. The ability to see the good in everything is a requirement for showing recognition.

At the conferences, personal attitudes towards volunteers were reflected in practical exercises. The participants also dealt with what must be included in an appreciate feedback. It is clear from the feedback from the conferences, that the participants now have a greater awareness for appreciative handling of volunteers. In the future, they also wish to create more opportunities for participation for their volunteers, i.e. inclusion in team meetings and conferences, participation in internal continuing education courses. In addition to the content-based work, the participants appreciated the exchange with other colleagues and the opportunity for networking.

"Friends accomplish a lot together!"

Ground-Breaking Ceremony for the New Building of the Friends of Waldorf Education

Many employees of the Friends of Waldorf Education as well as pupils and staff of the Parzival School Centre attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the new building on Friday June 24th 2016.
For their branch in Karlsruhe the Friends of Waldorf Education are erecting a new building in the city district of Hagsfeld as part of a joint project with the Parzival School Centre. For many years already a close cooperation between the Friends of Waldorf Education and the Parzival School Centre has existed; Waldorf pedagogy as basis for their work unites them.

With the motto “friends accomplish a lot together” Bernd Ruf (Managing Director of the Friends of Waldorf Education and school director of the Parzival School Centre) highlighted the connection between the two institutions and between the participants in his speech at the festivities. Melanie Reveriego (administrator Parzival School Centre) also honoured this partnership in her speech. Mayor Klaus Stapf underscored how much he always enjoys attending events by the Friends and wished them much luck.
Honoured guest Dr. Jens Kreuter (managing director of Engagement global GmbH) travelled to attend the ceremony. He also wished in his speech all the best for the coming construction phase, and with a wink of the eye, said that he hoped the new building would soon become again too small.
Matthias Ryzlewicz (managing director of Weisenburger Bau) promoted professions in the construction branch by saying, “there is always something to celebrate, be it a ground-breaking ceremony, topping out ceremony, or tape-cutting ceremony.”

The ground-breaking ceremony with the filling, closing, and walling in of the cassette, was designed by Erwin Doll (Weisenburger Bau Construction Company), Christian Grözinger, and Thomas Keith. Branch manager Christian Grözinger used this opportunity to thank all participants. He praised the positive cooperation with the authorities and his colleagues’ support. Afterwards during a small reception, further discussions were possible.
The whole ceremony was accompanied by musical contributions from pupils of the Parzival School Centre.

The new building is being erected close to the Parzival School Centre and will fit completely into the already existing area thanks to its design.
The new building will reunite the branches of the Friends of Waldorf Education from the current two seperate offices on Sophienstraße and Neisser Straße under one roof and immensely improve the social infrastructure for employees.
The move into the new building is planed for the second or third quarter of 2017.


Voluntary Service with Refugees

Many people are motivated to volunteer. Be it to have a new challenge, to gain new ideas, or just to help others. Already much of the work with refugees is being done by volunteers. The German Ministry for Families has now created 10,000 additional places in “Federal Voluntary Service with Refugees”.

These places are open to all people, who want to be active in the work with refugees, and all refugees who want to do a voluntary service. Initial information about voluntary service with refugees can be obtained at the Friends through the telephone number +49 (0) 721 20111 130. If you would like to apply directly to do a voluntary service with refugees or if you are a refugee wanting to apply directly for a voluntary service, you can find the necessary application here.

Anniversary Celebration: 20 years of Voluntary Service

From the 3rd to the 5th of October 2014, a festive conference with the guiding theme, "20 Years of Voluntary Service-Developmental impulses for individual and society" took place at the Free Waldorf School in Cologne.

You can find a full report here.

Intercultural meeting of international and German volunteers in Karlsruhe

It is Wednesday morning at the Karlsruhe Education Center. At nine o’clock sharp, the nearly 180 volunteers from 25 different countries have gathered in the dining room. After two members of the Friends of Waldorf Education have welcomed the participants, the day begins with group singing. Two songs from Taize and a German song are being introduced and soon after, the group sings in canon. Subsequently, a motivated volunteer from Namibia climbs the table in front and teaches the others a song from her culture. Spontaneously two more volunteers start playing the drums and the music reverberates through the house. A refreshing start to the day!

This is just a short impression of the colorful political education seminar that took place on 9-13 April at the Karlsruhe Education Center. This event was the first time that around 90 German and 90 international volunteers came together, all of whom are currently doing a federal voluntary service through the Friends of Waldorf Education. In cooperation with the Education Centre and the German Federal Agency for Family and Civil Society a seminar concept was developed that conveyed varied and diverse political content.

For five days workshops were held that initiated discussions on topics such as globalization, fair trade, the future of work, racism or prejudice. Furthermore, field trips took place that included visits to the famous “Fächerstadt” and the Media Museum as well as a guided city tour with a critical emphasis on globalization. During these activities new friendships developed and the volunteers were given time and space to share and reflect on their activities. The evening entertainment featured folklore dancing, lectures about the threefold social order and on Easter, as well as a night café that further promoted intercultural exchange and the social gathering of volunteers. On the final evening there was even a concert by the band “Taxi Sandanski” and a DJ ensured that there was dancing going on way into the early morning hours. Finally the young people returned happy, enriched and motivated back to their daily lives as federal volunteers.


International Volunteers visit the German Federal President

In the scope of the citizens’ celebration on September 5th, three current international volunteers were invited to visit the German Federal President Joachim Gauck. They were accompanied by Bernd Ruf, executive board member of the Friends of Waldorf Education and head of the Parzival-School Centre in Karlsruhe.

With a personal invitation to the citizens’ celebration at the Bellevue Park and Castle in Berlin, Federal President Joachim Gauck showed his appreciation for people who are committed to volunteering. The Federal President thus acknowledged the importance of such honorary work for communities and the communal good.

Amongst the 4.000 invited guests were three volunteers, who are currently fulfilling a voluntary service in Germany through the Incoming programme of the Friends of Waldorf Education and Bernd Ruf, the association’s managing director.The three volunteers come from all around the world and currently work with disabled children and adults at charitable institutions in Germany. All three were active volunteers in their home-countries: During her short stay, the specialist in German Studies Brice Degny from Cote d’Ivoire already had the pleasure to speak to the German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel. Walaa Ali Mohamed from Egypt studied Spanish at the Linguistic Institute in Cairo and assisted disabled children. Prior to his volunteer service in Germany, the Mexican Ethan Vasquez worked with autistic children.

During the community celebration at the Bellevue Park, volunteer projects from the fields of social work, environmental protection and cultural development were presented. The celebration functioned as a meeting point, where various non-governmental initiatives had the opportunity to share their experiences with each other.

Since 2011 the Friends of Waldorf Education are a registered supporting institution of the new German federal volunteer service, which is open to national and international volunteers. From 2006 to 2010 the organisation had already offered a chance to volunteer in Germany to dedicated volunteers from abroad. These voluntary services had been organised under the “Incoming” programme of the Friends, which was registered under private law. In 2011, it could be integrated into German federal volunteer service.



Friends of Waldorf Education

Incoming program
Office Karlsruhe
Parzivalstraße 2b
76139 Karlsruhe
Tel.: +49 (0)721-20111-120
Fax: +49 (0)721-20111-181
E-Mail: incoming[at]

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