April 07th 2022

Hobby Lobby Innsbruck: Meaningful leisure activities must not be a privilege

MCI graduate Vera Maria Matzak brings successful education project to Innsbruck

350,000 children and young people in Austria are at risk of poverty and exclusion. The effects of poverty on children and young people are manifold. On the one hand, the psychological and physical development of children is negatively affected by low financial resources, and on the other hand, the future opportunities for children affected by poverty are reduced due to structural disadvantages. This is where Hobby Lobby comes in and counteracts with a diverse range of activities.

Hobby Lobby is an educational project that offers free leisure courses for children and young people from low-income families. From basketball to juggling to street art, the project offers different courses for all interests. In the process, children and young people can develop essential social skills, learn about their strengths and develop their potential. 

Following the success of the educational project in Vienna, Hobby Lobby has now opened its first location in another province in mid-March 2022. Vera Matzak, a graduate of the MCI Bachelor's programme in Nonprofit, Social & Health Management, brought the idea to Innsbruck.The four Rotary Clubs of Innsbruck as well as the Rotary Clubs of Hall, Wattens, Imst-Landeck and the Rotary District 1920 support the establishment of the new Innsbruck location with a magnificent donation of €15,000, thus making 7 free leisure courses for children and young people possible. 

"Right now, an easily accessible and free leisure programme for the target group is more important than ever. The Corona crisis hit children and young people from low-income families particularly hard. Restrictions on contact and no regular daily routine have left their mark. The lack of physical compensation as well as insecurity cause them emotional distress. They can switch off their minds for a moment at football or let their thoughts run free at the street art course. Through routine and regularity, the young people find new friends and role models in the volunteer course leaders, who share their enthusiasm for a hobby with them," explains location manager Vera Matzak.