It is a Village by name but for the foster children and parents who live here, it is simply referred to as home.
The lush green trees almost exceed climbing heights for the children. Almost! Squirrels run, rabbits will hop in to say hello, and the only sound drowning out the birds are the kids … and that is most heartwarming sound of all. And then of course there’s the healthy competition on the sports court. The kids are out there at every opportunity. Even in the middle of winter they’ll be out there shooting hoops.
But more than the five big, beautiful homes and the picturesque setting, the Village represents a unique model of healing. It functions to provide some of the very things that these children have lost. The Village provides a sense of community, connection and belonging, in a system where isolation is all too frequent. This Village shouts to kids in foster care,“You Matter!.”
“We’re so thankful to have a place we can call home and where we can have a family. We didn’t believe about families before we came here. We’re a family now, and you all gave us this gift.”
And because of their unique experiences and vulnerabilities, kids living in foster care require consistent opportunities where they are able to experience success. Only then can they feel as though they are worth something; that they belong just as much as any other child. Given the range of special needs – such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder – among these children, several programs are in place to give them the tools necessary to grow into successful and contributing adults.
As much as we try to be the teachers, we learn from these kids on a daily basis. We witness them working out their differences playing in the yard, communicating EXACTLY what they are feeling, and always willing to give others a second chance.
These kids have expressed to us that their neighbours within the Village are like extended family and many say that even though they are all different, they are all in foster care and can share that with one another.
We also support further foster families in the community, meaning our greater Village comprises a total of 12 homes with 15 Caregivers, 40 children, and 5 youth in transition. We own the five foster homes and Village Centre on our wooded 2.5 acre campus, with the other seven homes integrated in the surrounding geographic area. Through a $450,000 capital campaign from 2014 – 2017, we built five much-needed transition suites for homeless youth who age out of the foster care system when they turn 19.
With your help, we can continue to offer a village of support, both for the children living in the Village and those within our communities.
* Please note that due to privacy laws (and our desire for SOS foster children to live as normal lives as possible), we cannot show the children’s faces in photos and we do not allow the general public to visit our Village. Additionally, volunteers may not be able to work with the children and youth in our Village.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SOS CHILDREN’S VILLAGE
Watch this powerful, eye-opening video from SOS Spain that shows you what the Village model is all about and what it means to the foster children and caregivers who call it home (Spanish, with English subtitles).
In order to be adult, you have to be child first.
They are not their mothers, but live with them.
They are not their brothers and sisters, but share a loving home.
They have not been children like the others, but are the owners of their destiny.
Their story starts in a very special village, a place where children learn to be children.
In an SOS Children’s Village.