Position at COPS
Leader of a residential community, Sponsoring
At the company since
Koi breeding, football
What connects me to corima is …
…increasing challenges and flexibility in everyday life and work
In ten years…
… I hope that the first progress against climate change can be seen and that the pandemic is no longer an issue.
Hello Mr. Rotter, since 2013 there has been a very nice tradition at COPS: children from your institutions send our employees their Christmas wishes, which the colleagues then usually fulfill without exception. If I’m rightly informed, you were already involved back then. How did it come about in 2013?
Thomas Rotter: I was contacted by Ms. Rosemann at that time. We had a very open and appreciative conversation. Of course, I was immediately enthusiastic about the idea of giving great joy, at least in material terms, to the part of our children and adolescents in our institution who cannot celebrate Christmas in their families of origin or with relatives. Since then, your colleagues and you have been fulfilling personal Christmas gift wishes for this group of children and young people every year.
corimamagazine: Can you briefly outline for our readers what the Stiefern Social Pedagogical Living Communities are and what your mission and goals are?
Thomas Rotter: The Stiefern Social Pedagogical Living Communities are a private socio-educational contract facility of the Lower Austrian Child and Youth Welfare Services and offer children and adolescents in particularly difficult life situations the opportunity to develop new life perspectives. We help them to take a new path with the aim of returning to their own family or, in the case of young people for whom this is not an option, we provide support through accompanied independence in their own home.
Children and adolescents between the ages of 3 and 18 live in a total of three residential communities, all of which are located in the village or in one of the training apartments (in the area from Horn to Krems) for independence. Dislocation and diversity of the self-sufficiently managed houses allow a rich offer of individual care in a family-like atmosphere.
„ The basic supply is of course well taken care of. Larger leisure highlights, however, are only possible with external funds.“
corimamagazine: That’s a very remarkable task that you and your colleagues have taken on. But when I look at the BLOG, it doesn’t work as well as you imagine without external help, does it? Why do you need sponsors and campaigns like ours? Or what would be without the external help?
Thomas Rotter: The basic supply is of course well provided for. Larger recreational highlights, however, are only possible with external funding. All our donations are managed on the donation account and used exclusively for leisure projects. This begins with the purchase of ice skates, bicycles, technical equipment such as a Nintendo Switch for the group, extends in the expansion of the large playground facilities and extends to eventful group vacations. These in particular are extremely valuable from an educational point of view.
corimamagazine: Despite all the sponsors and donors you have already been able to actively motivate to help, surely there is still some things missing? What would be on your personal Christmas wish list for 2022?
Thomas Rotter: In addition to the leisure items mentioned above, I would be very happy for the children and young people if spa weekends or short ski vacations were possible again next year. I have been asked countless times in the last year and a half when it will be possible again. If the health aspect allows it, it would of course be nice if this could also be realized financially.
corimamagazine: How else could interested readers get involved with you. Is voluntary commitment possible and desired at all?
Thomas Rotter: Unfortunately, we cannot rely on voluntary commitment – especially with regard to activities with children and young people. We are entrusted with the care and education of children and young people by the child and youth welfare services. All of our employees have a pedagogical education and most of them have a lot of experience with the often manifold problems of children and adolescents. To be honest, the biggest support besides the leisure time articles is the financial one, which enables our children to take part in activities or projects that cannot be realized in the conventional financial framework. We are grateful for every euro that comes into our donation account. Numerous smaller receipts always result in large amounts. (Editor’s note: Donation account at the End of the interview)
„ The pandemic is already taking its toll on our strength.„
corimamagazine: Austria is currently in the fourth lock-down. So, in view of the current situation, how is the COVID pandemic, with all the lock-downs, restrictions and health risks, affecting the children and adolescents in your facility and you, your colleagues and your daily work
Thomas Rotter: The pandemic is already taking its toll on our strength. If you consider that there are nine children or young people living in a residential group, most of whom go to different classes and almost every child has its own family environment, you can imagine how many possibilities there are to become a contact person. If this then occurs, it is an enormous challenge to implement the appropriate hygiene and quarantine conditions. We are very happy that so far, we have been spared from serious health events and that our staff is still so motivated in their work even after such intensive times, which means for almost 2 years now. But we also hope, as probably most people do, that some normality will return soon.
corimamagazine: We all hope so. Thank you for letting us share a little of your extremely important work. We wish you, your colleagues and of course the children and young people a wonderful pre-Christmas period, a peaceful Christmas and all the best for the New Year.
Important data of the SPWG Stiefern:
Sozialpädagogische Wohngemeinschaften Stiefern – Spendenkonto
IBAN: AT46 3242 6000 0041 7329
Raiffeisenbank Schönberg (Langenlois)