It takes a village…
SOS Children’s Village BC understands the true meaning of this statement. Working with youth aging out of care (19 years old, no longer in foster care) brings additional challenges in helping them further their education, finding employment opportunities, and maintaining social networks in tough times. The competitive edge here is access to the internet, but with funding tight, the idea of setting up wifi in multiple locations was cost-prohibitive.
That’s where Uniserve came in. An initiative headed up by Chere Croteau (our Director of Customer Experience) meant reaching out to SOS Children’s Village to find out how they may be best supported with the programs that they run. The result? Setting up WiFi and internet access at the SOS Year Intensive Houses as well as the village centre that supports the young students and staff that run the programs.
“Thanks to the dedicated efforts of Uniserve representatives, access to Internet at the village provides resources to our children and youth to help support their personal development, provide educational support and access to information for our young students and youth who are attending post-secondary schools. SOS Children’s Villages BC also uses the village center, on-site where all five homes are located, to bring workshops and education seminars to our youth aging out of care and foster parents caring for children with behavioral challenges. Uniserve has helped ensure that these resources are sustained and accessible to our vulnerable families.”
– Kistie Singh, Village Director
To find out more about the impact this has made on the children of SOS Children’s Village, watch our interview with Village Director Kistie Singh.
The 4 Pillars of SOS Children’s Charity Village BC
The SOS Parents
We believe being a foster parent is a profession, so we provide them with training and specialized support to ensure our SOS Moms and Dads are the best caregivers they can be to the traumatized foster children they welcome into their homes. Many of the youth in our Village have mental health conditions, so it is important for our caregivers to have the skills they need to deal with difficult behaviour and to nurture the healthy growth of these children.
The Sibling Dynamics
We have a strong focus on keeping siblings in foster care together in the same foster home to grant stability (as long as that is deemed in the child’s best interests), while in other cases we create a mix of genders and ages to create a sibling dynamic. We believe that sibling groups are of primary importance in the healthy social development of children.
The very word conjures up images of peace, harmony, love, and safety. We build, and provide at subsidized rent, a physically safe home for SOS Parents to create a nurturing family structure where a child’s basic needs are met, and further allows them to open up to the healing and growth programs provided in our Village. We don’t just ‘talk the talk’ when it comes to permanency, we ‘walk the walk’. Most children in our Village live there from toddler to young adult. It is traumatizing enough to be removed from the care of biological parents, and we do not wish to compound that with multiple moves from foster home to foster home.
The Supportive Community
A community of professional caregivers working together and supported by a core of highly trained, dedicated, and dynamic SOS staff providing individualized, wrap-around programming for the children and caregivers. The foster 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. They feel that they belong and that they matter.
The first SOS Children’s Village was founded by Hermann Gmeiner in 1949 in Imst, Austria. He was committed to helping children in need – children who had lost their homes, their security and their families as a result of the Second World War. With the support of many donors and co-workers, our organisation has grown to help children all over the world.
We take action for children as an independent nongovernmental social development organisation. We respect varying religions and cultures, and we work in countries and communities where our mission can contribute to development. We work in the spirit of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and we promote these rights around the world.
For more information, please visit http://www.sosbc.org