Fritz-Erler-Schule Pforzheim II (2018)

First Place of the YES! 2018

High Five – Five Ways to Make a Change

With High Five, we want to create a functional network that helps children and adolescents from all social classes obtain the same opportunities in five different areas. These areas are culture, health, education, outdoor activities and family support.

We feel responsible for supporting young people in our region and enable them to have a better future. We want to make our contribution to a better community, and we hope to achieve this by introducing High Five.

2.5 million children in Germany live in relative poverty. The income of a “relatively poor” family allows for covering essential needs such as food and clothes. In Germany, we are lucky because there is practically no absolute child poverty, which means that no child must live on the street and suffer hunger and ask for food. Relative poverty, on the other hand, often results in children not having the same opportunities concerning the areas mentioned above. We as a team asked our self how we can support these people.

During our brainstorming, a major issue we became aware of was that many clubs and other institutions in our area complain about sinking numbers of members and lack of new blood. To solve this problem, many clubs offer cheap memberships and free trial courses, but often without the desired outcome. But why is that?

We conducted a survey in our school and one of the questions we asked students was:

How many free or price-reduced free-time activities do you know in your area?

As can be seen in this chart, most of the students we asked did not know more than three free offers in their area. Our survey showed us what exactly the problem is. Many children do not know enough about the offers that already exist in their region.

It is not until this problem is solved that everyone can have the same opportunities. With High Five, we want to create a platform on which this information is bundled so that everyone has the chance to benefit from it.

But how exactly will that work? Picture the following scenario: Mike is a 15-year-old boy whose parents have a low income. Mike has two problems. The first one is that he is bad at economics, but he does not know where to obtain affordable tutoring. Also, there is his huge desire to play American Football, but he thinks that the membership fee of the local club will be too expensive.

At school, he witnesses a presentation of the High Five team. In the end, he is told how to access the High Five website, and one of the High Five members recommends him to check the outdoor activities and education sections. Back home, Mike explores the website and finds two interesting offers.

The first one is from a retired teacher who offers free tutoring in economics. The second one is a price-reduced membership with the Pforzheim Wilddogs, the local American Football club.

What exactly did High Five do here? Well, High Five is the connection between the children that search for offers and the clubs, institutions etc. that make these offers and search for new members. Now Mike is happy because he can finally play American Football, the teacher is happy because she can pass on her knowledge and the American Wilddogs have the chance to spot new talents and can recruit new members.

To benefit from being close to the target group, the project should be located directly in schools. Our principal Mr Hoffmann supported us in our plans and allowed us to establish High Five for a trial period. Furthermore, we are in contact with other schools and institutions that showed an interest in supporting us.

Our goal is to create the same opportunities for all children and adolescents no matter which social background they have.

 If you have any questions or would like to know more about our idea, please feel free to contact us to receive further information.

 High Five Group Fritz-Erler-School

Photo: (c) ZEW

The Team

Our team consists of Antonia, Isabell, Leandro, Monica and Rebecca and we are five motivated students attending the international class at Fritz-Erler-School in Pforzheim. We all have different backgrounds which inspired us to participate in the 2018 YES! competition. We decided on the topic „How to Combat Child Poverty- and how can Children and Adolescents be Best Supported?“ because poverty is a really complex issue. Especially our hometown Pforzheim has a very high rate of child poverty. Due to our connection to Pforzheim we feel responsible for making a change.


My name is Antonia Becker-Cosoveanu and I am a 17-year-old student at Fritz-Erler-School, a vocational school in Pforzheim. As my father is originally from Romania, I have seen children living under unacceptable conditions. In some cases, it seems that there is no way to improve the inhumane situation of so many children living in extreme poverty. This issue has been on my mind for years and I have tried to work out realistic and practical solutions. With that said choosing this topic was the only logical consequence. I am looking forward to developing and discussing ideas with my team on how to tackle the problem.


My name is Isabell Faaß, I am 18 years old and for a long time, I have had the desire to help improve society. I think that YES! presents a golden opportunity to make the best use of my talents to create a better future. Unfortunately, I am well aware of the widening gap in income in Germany. One result of this division of society is the increasing number of children growing up in poverty. Those children have only little chance to break this vicious circle. In the future, this might lead to even greater differences in income and in social life as well. So in order to prevent further poverty, we must find ways to reduce child poverty.


My name is Leandro Cerqueira Karst and I am 18 years old. The world has a lot of problems but there are also problem solvers, activists, creative minds and many more individuals that want to make the world a better place. I want to be one of them. In several programs around the world in which I have been able to participate, I have dealt with the topic of youth participation and society. During this period of time, I have always had a thought that accompanied my work: The youth of today is the society of tomorrow. This means that at one point in our lives we will have to take responsibility. Let’s not wait – let’s take responsibility now!


My name is Monica Alessi and I am 18 years old. I participate in the Young Economic Summit because I have always had the desire to help other people. I have always tried to find opportunities to show commitment. I started to go to the German Red Cross to help people who need my help. As I want to make another valuable contribution, I chose to join YES! hoping to promote change for the people who are not as privileged as other people. My goal is to change the situation of the children who do not seem to have such a bright future.


My name is Rebecca Waschtschenko and I am 18 years old. As soon as my teacher asked me if I wanted to participate in YES!, I knew right away why. I have always wanted to help other people. I have the desire to create new solutions and work together with great and talented people. In my view solutions should not just consist of ideas and thoughts, solutions should be realistic and implementable. When I think about the opportunity we are given by YES! I am thankful and am excited about the further progress of this project. I think I will learn a lot from the Young Economic Summit and meet like-minded people.

The team selected this topic

How to Combat Child Poverty and how can Children and Adolescents be Best Supported? (2018)

In Germany, many children and young people in households are living below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold. This also has long-term effects. Studies have shown that success in education and other important things (such as health, life expectancy etc.) are heavily dependent on the home. At the same time, Germany has a developed welfare state and social expenditure represents an essential part of the federal budget. Most of the support for children and young people in low-income families comes in the form of cash payments, e.g. unemployment benefits II (‘Hartz IV’), housing benefit or child supplements. There are also benefits such as child allowance, which all families are entitled to regardless of income. Most services specifically aim at single parents, for example, maintenance payments. As well as these cash payments, families also receive support through benefits in kind and services offerings. This includes childcare (parental contributions are made on a sliding scale based on social status, and only cover a portion of the actual cost), free education and support as part of the education and participation package, as well as child and youth welfare services. Benefits in kind and service offerings are often justified by the fact that the support reaches the children or young people in this way. However, the education and participation package shows that parents and public administration have significantly higher expenses with this kind of support in comparison with cash payments.

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