Since 1998, The Selfhelp Home has partnered with the Berlin-based Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ARSP), which works to bridge the gap between the lost older Jewish German generation and the youth in Germany, while building trusting relationships and healing painful, historic wounds.
For more than 50 years, ARSP has been committed to fighting racism, discrimination, and social exclusion through reconciliation and peace. ARSP creates global partnerships around the world to offer long-term international peace service programs. Every year, about 180 young adults between 19 and 25 years old participate around the world in 13 countries on a variety of educational, historical, political, and social projects. As the ARSP volunteers engage in understanding the history and other cultures, they strive passionately to make a positive contribution toward a more peaceful, just, and tolerant world.
Each year, Selfhelp is host to a young German intern who becomes an integral part of the Selfhelp family, helping residents and warming hearts. Selfhelp did not have an intern in 2021 due to the pandemic.
We recently welcomed Ms. Julia Boecker, our 23rd intern to join The Selfhelp Home family through our partnership with ARSP. Julia arrived from Dortmund, Germany, in September 2022 and will be spending a year at Selfhelp to complete her volunteer peace service, or gap year internship. As an intern, Julia is totally immersed in our community and lives at Selfhelp in a studio apartment while assisting with resident activities. Living at Selfhelp also affords her the opportunity to learn more about the Jewish culture and traditions. Julia learned about the program from her neighbor who served in Czechoslovakia with ARSP. When Julia initially visited the ARSP website, she was immediately inspired by its goals and values, especially the focus on history and promoting peace between different nations, which she felt was really important.
“Looking at German history, it is necessary to take responsibility for the events that happened in World War II, because even though our generation is not actively guilty anymore, it is still an important factor to create awareness and maybe achieve to show that a nation can learn out of huge mistakes and can spread love instead of hate,” says Julia. “I was thrilled by the idea of doing something important and maybe even making people’s lives a little easier.”
Julia knew she would enjoy being at Selfhelp after she completed an internship at a nursing home in St. Elisabeth-Altenpflege in Dortmund. “Before applying to ARSP, I did an internship for two weeks at my local nursing home where I helped organize free time activities like singing, cooking, brain training, and many other things, and visited the residents in their rooms.”
Julia attends the University of Siegen and is in her fourth semester, majoring in psychology. Julia speaks German, English, Spanish, and Latin, and she enjoys music. She has played the piano for ten years, learned the guitar for four years, and also enjoys reading, drawing, and swimming. Julia continues, “Doing a gap year in the United States has been my dream for ages. I started to love the English language when I entered school and I remember learning every single sentence of the dialogues in our English workbook by heart. I had the opportunity to visit New York City in 2017, and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.”
We welcome Julia to the Selfhelp family and are so inspired by and grateful for the work of ARSP.