Victoria, Alexia and Maximiliaan Bruggeman (Hug against Loneliness) have received the youth ribbons from the municipality of Heerlen, the “Koelpietjes” for their social commitment. They are the first youth lines in the history of Heerlen.
The certificates are signed by the mayor of Heerlen Mr. Roel Wever, who says: “We thank you for your important work. The Koelpietje symbolizes a true heroic act and comes from the time of the miners. Roel Wever told us in a conversation: “As a municipality, we are very proud of children in Heerlen who stick their necks out or do something special for others. That is why these children deserve a ribbon “.
Hug against Loneliness was founded in September 2018 by Victoria Bruggeman. Victoria, together with her sister Alexia and her little brother Maximilian, have already reached more than 1000 elderly people, most with dementia, and at least 1200 young people and their families. The organization is committed to the social isolation and loneliness of elderly, sick people, people with disabilities of all ages. They take various actions to help other people. For example, they hold a special campaign in December every year for older lonely people who suffer from a severe form of dementia and they visit, for example, elderly people with dementia in closed wards. They literally and figuratively give hugs. In addition, they have ensured that Sinterklaas celebration and Wintertime event in Heerlen are wheelchair accessible.
When asked what to do to realize your dreams, Victoria replies: “Just try, keep trying and don’t give up”. Marion Schmitz, the chairman of Sevagram Verwenzorg, has nominated Alexia, Victoria and Maximilian for the ribbons. Marion Schmitz: “As chairman of Sevagram Verwenzorg (charity foundation) I got to know Victoria, Alexia and Maximiliaan Bruggeman and their foundation. Despite their young age, they are very socially involved. They have been very kind to Sevagram’s clients for years. They symbolize Empathy, Love and Compassion! As a care organization, Sevagram has people-oriented care very high on its agenda. And we think the action of Victoria, Alexia and Maximiliaan Bruggeman is simply fantastic. It offers our clients something to hold on to. So I think it’s completely insanely good. ” The actions of Knuffel against Loneliness were supported, among others, by the alderman Adriane Keulen, Jan Mans, Emil Szarkowicz, Heerlen Mijn Stad, Wintertijd and many other persons and organizations. See the video of the ceremony here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMvJ3BXxo0M&t=2s