Who We Are
SOS Children’s Village BC is part of SOS Children’s Villages, the largest non-governmental, non-denominational child development organization in the world. SOS Children’s Villages has existed for 70 years with a presence in 136 countries and 559 Villages, with a seat at the UN to be the voice for the rights of children everywhere. SOS Children’s Village BC was founded in 1986 as a grassroots response to deficiencies in the provincial foster care system characterized by frequent placement breakdowns and moves for children and youth, and the separation of siblings into different homes. Even today, the state of foster care remains a “North American epidemic”, as described by local former foster child Tom Watson.
Foster children are frequently at risk of emotional disturbances, delayed social development, and poor educational performance. Foster parents who raise these children require ongoing special resources and support. SOS Children’s Village BC enhances the development and healing of foster children with a holistic framework that addresses their physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs. We ensure long term stability with a strong focus on transition to adulthood programming and aging out of care.
The unique Village model is based on SOS Children’s Villages founder Hermann Gmeiner’s belief that a loving caregiver with trauma training, a family-like atmosphere that keeps siblings together, a consistent home with subsidized rent, and a community of professional support staff create a circle of healing, hope, and belonging for children in need. Our wraparound services provide counselling, art therapy, cultural traditions, neurofeedback training, and more to allow youth – many of whom have mental health conditions – to recover from their traumatic past.
These elements are evident in our local Village, located in a picturesque area of Surrey, where the need is most acute. Since its opening in 1999, the 2.5 acre SOS BC Village campus has provided care and support to local foster children and their families; helping to build on individual strengths and cultivate social networks to maximize each child’s opportunities for success. We recognize that the Ministry is overworked and underfunded, as are the caring professionals who work in the Ministry and delegated agencies. We as a society have underfunded and overworked them for decades. SOS Children’s Village BC took the lead in developing a successful model of care for the troubled provincial child welfare system to emulate – setting the standard for the care of foster children and vulnerable youth in BC.
“Nothing in the world is more important than to care for a child.”
– Hermann Gmeiner, Founder, SOS Children’s Villages
OUR VISION – What we want for children
Every child belongs to a family and grows with love, respect and security
OUR MISSION – What we do
We provide homes, a supportive community, and programs to help foster children and youth in need grow into caring, self-reliant adults
OUR VALUES – What keeps us strong
Courage: We take action
Commitment: We keep our promises
Trust: We believe in each other
Accountability: We are reliable partners
OUR EQUITY AND DIVERSITY POLICY
We are committed to developing a diverse organization that is reflective of and responsive to the diversity of Canada, in which women and men, in all their diversities, feel respected, confident, and valued. But we recognize that equity means more than treating people in the same way; it requires special measures, accommodation of differences, and empathy towards past trauma. To ensure fairness, measures are often needed to compensate for historical and social disadvantages that prevent, for example, women and men from otherwise operating as equals. We also give preference to job candidates facing barriers to the labour market, such as Indigenous applicants. We acknowledge that our organization will better reach its overall goals if it is successful in systematically identifying and removing barriers to full participation in all aspects of our work.
Diversity: The visible and invisible differences that exist among people, including but not limited to, gender identity, race, ethnic origin, physical and mental ability, sexual orientation or identity, culture, age, economic class, language, religion, nationality, education, and family/marital status. These visible and non-visible differences among people can also lead to differences in experiences, values, attitudes and ways of thinking, behaving, communicating and working.
A MESSAGE FROM THE BOARD
SOS Children’s Village BC celebrates diversity and strongly believes in the strength of our communities. We do not see differences between individuals regardless of religion, race, creed, or culture. Because of this, SOS Children’s Village BC does not tolerate any abuse or harassment of any kind directed towards any of our staff or community members including physical and/or online environments. Stress and heightened emotions during a crisis can exacerbate bullying, but that doesn’t excuse it. As a non-profit focused on our mission and ensuring our objectives are met, situations of this nature are investigated, responded to appropriately, and taken seriously. A nature of silence is one we do not encourage and we hope to model for all of those involved with our organization, including the children and youth we are directly connected to.
- Only 10% of our charity’s funding comes from government sources, we rely on donors for the rest
- We are the national programming office for SOS Children’s Villages in Canada
- We completed a $450,000 capital campaign to build five transition to adulthood suites for homeless youth aging out of care
- We have been refining SOS Children’s Villages’ proven and alternative model of care for over 20 years, within a BC context
- Our model of care is based on lifelong engagement and embracing the cultural heritage of each child
- Our long term vision is to expand our Village model to every town in British Columbia