Events: Limburg, Limburg, My tips

Children mayor Victoria engages children to help lonely older people

Pilot action in Heerlen, the Netherlands.

The ten-year children’s mayor of Heerlen, Victoria Bruggeman started a pilot action in the Netherlands entitled: Hug/ soft toys against loneliness “.  Yesterday she made the elderly in old people’s home Tobias in a Dutch city Heerlen very happy with hundreds of soft toys and teddy bears. Victoria noticed while visiting her ill grandmother and grandfather in the nursing home  that many elderly people in the old people’s home  were so lonely.

“When I am in the old people’s home, I almost never see family of the older people. Nobody visits them. I find it so sad. Victoria says: ‘’When I once had my favourite soft toy: a doggie and gave it to an elderly woman, she was so happy. The next time I gave a teddy bear a soft toy in a shape of a heart to a few other residents of the care center. An elderly woman said she went to bed with the soft toy she received from me and always woke up cheerful because she was not alone “, says Victoria.

She decided to apply for the function of children’s mayor; a ‘vacancy’ that the municipality has created to involve young people more in society. Victoria as her priority described engagement of older people and handicapped young/people in the society, not leaving them alone. She stressed out that it would be great if children could be involved in helping older lonely people. Both sides would learn from one another and help one another. Children could understand how much they can mean for other people and how much they can mean for the society and the older people could feel loved and not alone. WIN-Win situation. Victoria continues  “I thought: I start the action” Hug/ soft toys against loneliness “in schools. Every child has more than one such a toy. We could collect them at schools”.

Victoria started the pilot action at her primary school Tarcisius and was supported by the municipality of Heerlen, the alderman Ms Adriane Keulen whose portfolio includes older people’s policy and the director of school: Ms Maud Deckers and the school team.

 Children and parents from the Tarcisius primary school brought almost 200 soft toys and teddy bears and all of them were packed in a Christmas way. Yesterday they were delivered at Tobias by Victoria, alderman Ms Adriane Keulen and supported by Mr Peter Kastrop, politician and of course by Victoria’s brother, sister and her parents.

“I hope that lonely elderly people have a happier Christmas time in this way. I think so because they all were happy and walked with the presents they received and some of them took them even to bed’’.

Photos: © Copyright, 2018. All rights reserved.

Sources: De Telegraaf,, De Limburger

Children from Tarcisius primary school in Heerlen with the alderman Ms Adriane Keulem, director of Tarcisius Maud Deckers and Victoria Bruggeman
Victoria is giving a soft toy to a touched inhabitant of Tobias nursing home
Victoria and her sister Alexia and brother Maximiliaan are visiting other inhabitants of the nursing home in Heerlen
De Telegraaf
De Limburger

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