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Ludwigshafen, 1.8.2009

News clipping from "Der Westen" on 15.8.2008
Source: WAZ (German)

Honorably Old and Lively

The Karolinenheim was donated 1908 by Daniel and Karoline Luyken.
Since ten years it is a youth center.

By Marco Virgillito

The Karolinenheim looked like this in July 1953.
At that time, the municipal office
resided here.

WESEL. The walls of the Karolinenheim are already 100 years old. But the building on the Herzogenring in Wesel doesen't seem neither dull nor frail. Rather, it sputters with life. This is mainly due to the merry ongoing inside. Since ten years now, children and youths who visit the Karo Youth Center fill the time-honored rooms with life.

Daniel and Karoline Luyken where the ones who in 1908 donated the asylum to the Evangelical Women's Association for diaconical purposes. The asylum was named after Karoline. Until its destruction during World War II in 1945 the Kaiserswerther Deaconesses used the house as communal living quarters. Women who worked in the ambulant sick-nursing and as kindergarden supervisors felt here at home. In the house they imparted knitting and sewing lessons and catered for the needy during times of need.

Auxiliary Church after the War
1941 the Karolinenheim was preventively transferred to the curch community. This paid off in 1948, when an auxiliary church was installed here in the ground floor. Masses with christenings and weddings in great distress were not rare, as Reverend Walter Stempel reported 1998 in a community letter. Youths already used at this time the Karolinenheim as a meeting place. Sexton, community nuns as well as three priests (Stempel himslef and before him Knüfermann and Böddinghaus) lived in the first floor.

The municipal office was installed 1952 in the ground floor. The relocation to the Lutherhaus followed 1973. The City of Wesel bought at that time the Karolinenheim and transferred there school classes. After a time of unoccupancy in the eighties, the Niederrhein Nurse School was accomodated here in 1988. Sure enough in the spirit of the donors, who after all had established it for social purposes.

1977 it was decided to move the youth center from the citadel to the Karolinenheim. "It was the political wish to set the city archives at the citadel", Matthias Schüler remembers, who today is head of the Karo.

Very Popular on Weekends
A remodelling was necessary: The roof framework was renewed, walls were removed, the garden was spruced up, windows and doors were renovated. The Karo was reopened at Easter 1988. "Back then we started with lots of spirits and a new program", reports Schüller who assumed his job shortly after reopening. The open-door weekends were an instant sensation. Youths came in hordes to the Karo.

Since then the program has continuously been extended - mainly for children from socially weak structures. Cooperations with schools turned out to be sucsessful. A project to aid during the transition from school to work was started with the Martini-School in 1999. A cultural-pedagogical project against violence together with the junior high school Mitte (Center) and the NRZ started in 2002. Since two years the Karo has been conducting a de-escalation training with the fifth-graders of the Konrad-Duden-School. Music makes up an important part at the youth center: Band projects are supported, guitar and drum kit lessons are imparted. Schüller and his team want to "always stay alert" in order to react to developments.

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Links Karolinenheim

Website of the Karolinenheim (German)
News clipping ("Der Westen") on the "Karolinenheim" in Wesel (German)

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