Why is it important to give something back?

"Commitment makes you strong - join in": This was the motto of the nationwide volunteering week that started last Saturday, and the city of Freising's volunteer meeting point is once again participating with a series of events. Until Sunday, September 23, various organizations, associations and clubs will introduce themselves and offer an insight into the many opportunities to get involved. "Volunteering gives you a lot back," says Marita Hanold, who has been doing voluntary work for a number of years - among other things, the 64-year-old educator helped set up the "Balu und Du" project in Freising.

SZ: Ms. Hanold, how many hours a year do you volunteer?

Marita Hanold: I think that all together that's between 400 and 450 hours a year.

And why not use this time for walks, visits to the café or other nice things? There are many reasons for that. Personally, I've had a very good life in my life and now I would like to give something back to society. Before, when I was still fully employed, I just didn't have the time.

You helped set up the "Balu und Du" project in Freising. Tell us about it. The idea is that the Baloos, young people between the ages of 17 and 30, elementary school children, the Mowglis, give time - as a kind of great friend. We started with five baloos in December 2016, and have now grown to 16 baloos. The Mowglis are taught by the St. Lantpert elementary school in Lerchenfeld. The whole thing then runs for a year, Baloos and Mowglis meet weekly for at least an hour - usually several hours - and do something together. This can be a visit to the city library, a trip to the Isar or a visit to the airport. I meet with the baloos every 14 days to discuss how things went. I coach the young people, so to speak.

Adolescents and young people are repeatedly accused of being too selfish and self-centered, of not getting involved with others. How do you see it Quite different: there are young, committed people just like in the past. Getting to them and starting a conversation can be a bit difficult at times. However, I think that society as a whole has become more selfish, I see this as a problem for society as a whole, not as a characteristic of young people.

Why do you volunteer? The reasons for this are totally different. Some want to help, do something good. Some want to get together with other people and gain experience that they were unable to gain in their job. If you look at who is involved, you will see that these are often people who were socially involved in their youth - or who have benefited from it themselves.

The cliché of the wealthy wife who is socially committed no longer applies? Absolutely not. They are people between the ages of 14 and 84, with very different qualifications and professions, and with the most varied of motivations. The Baloos have female students as well as a professional firefighter or a retail saleswoman who meets with her Mowgli on Sunday.

Give and take: What do volunteers get back? Very much. If I look at the baloos, they learn a lot in that one year. The importance of reliability and punctuality, the experience of how important structure is. And they experience how great it is to see the world through children's eyes and to experience things in a completely new way. A Balu even received a scholarship through her commitment. But isn't it sometimes too much for volunteering? Especially in the area of ​​asylum? The whole state was initially overwhelmed by this topic. The necessary structures were not there, the volunteers were like a fire brigade. Of course, it cannot be that volunteers take on state tasks. Of course, organizations have to take responsibility and the volunteers have to cooperate. So personally, I don't feel abused in any way by the city of Freising (laughs).