What's New at the Village: SOS Social Circus!
By Kistie Singh, B.A., B.Ed., Village Director
The summer of 2016 at the Village was all about the exceptional SOS Social Circus! Working closely with SOS Children's Villages Canada, Vancouver Circus School, and Cirque du Soleil, SOS BC was able to land an exciting circus program for our Village community.
With children and youth all involved, as well as dedicated SOS staff and Vancouver Circus School trainers, the kids were able to receive 2 hour sessions twice a week for over 7 weeks! Our children and youth learned all forms of juggling. The kids used new gymnastics skills to contort and shape their bodies to perform independently, and in groups, creating pyramids and extending their height by balancing on the shoulders of Vancouver Circus School trainers.
While having a blast learning new skills in circus, the kids also picked up on important social skills as well. The rapport built between trainers and staff with our SOS kids made all the difference. The team was dedicated to teaching the kids not to give up even when some tricks seemed hopeless! This resiliency was a key part of the program. The children and youth also learned to respect boundaries, and picked up on social cues that helped them understand personal space and the comfort levels of others.
At the end of the program, the community and staff came together to watch the kids put on a show to showcase their new skills. Highlights included some flips on the new trampoline that was gifted to the Village from the program, and the biggest pyramid the kids have ever attempted to build! Of course some pizza and ice cream cake were in the mix. It was a great end to the summer pilot program. We hope to see Social Circus next year!
Celebrating the Grand Opening of the First Three Transition Suites and our 30th Anniversary!
On June 9th we celebrated the grand opening of three new transition suites for youth aging out of care (more about the campaign at: www.sosbc.org/notothestreets
- we're still fundraising for two more suites) and the 30th anniversary of SOS Children's Village BC!
Though clouds loomed overhead, luckily the rain held off and everyone had a great time. We had over 100 of our closest supporters in attendance, including Our Founders, Marvin Hunt MLA Surrey-Panorama, Judy Villeneuve Surrey City Councillor, Bruce Robinson First Nations Elder, Todd Schierling executive director Surrey Firefighters Charitable Society, Qoola and their CEO Warrick Chu, MPB Construction, the Surrey Now newspaper, and the JACK FM trucksicle!
Letters of greeting from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, David JohnstonGovernor General, Carolyn BennettMinister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Christy Clark Premier of B.C., Stephanie Cadieux B.C. Minister of Children and Family Development, Linda Hepner Mayor of Surrey, and Melanie Mark MLA Vancouver-Mount Pleasant were read aloud to guests in attendance.
Thank you to all our donors at the event, and to all our staff for putting together such a wonderful celebration at our Village.
AN ANNOUNCEMENT THAT SPANNED THE GLOBE
The opening of our trailblazing transition suites for youth aging out of care was one of the featured articles in the July 7th edition of the Global SOS Intranet Newsletter, that goes out to all SOS Children's Villages staff around the world!
Mayor of Surrey and City Councillor Visit SOS BC Village
We were pleased to welcome Mayor Linda Hepner of the City of Surrey -- the second largest city in British Columbia by population -- to the Village earlier this year. Mayor Hepner and Councillor Vera LeFranc toured the Village and sat down for tea.
The Mayor contacted us to schedule a visit after seeing one of our posts on Twitter (@SOSBCVillage).
She praised our social media presence, and was so proud that the only SOS Village in Canada is located in her own city. She expressed her full support of our Capital Campaign to build five basement suites in the Village for youth who are aging out of foster care.
Mayor Hepner told our staff that our SOS Village concept -- 4 pillars: the SOS mother/father, the sisters and brothers, the family home, and the Village community of support -- should be in every city across Canada. She added SOS BC to the charities that benefit from the annual Mayor's Ball put on by the Surrey Firefighters.
Special Thank Yous
• Arlin Foundation for a $1,000 donation
• BC Gaming for a $100,000 programs grant
• Chris Spencer Foundation for a $7,400 grant to furnish the new Transition Suites
• Envision Financial for a grant of $10,000 to Pathway to Trauma Informed Care
• Home Depot Foundation for a $35,000 grant to our Capital Campaign
• Kids for Kids Charity Initiative & UBC TSA for raising $6,500 for us thru RHYTHM
• Knights of Columbus Council No. 4767 North Surrey for a $2,700 grant to our camps
• Kwela Leadership & Talent Management for choosing us as their charity of choice with a $3,870 gift
• Mayor of Surrey Linda Hepner and Surrey Firefighters Charitable Society for a $25,000 grant to our Capital Campaign and TTA program
• MacDonald, Dettwiler & Associates for a $1,000 donation
• Province of British Columbia and MLA Marvin Hunt for a $10,000 grant to our Capital Campaign
• Royal Canadian Legion Whalley No. 229 for a $1,000 donation
• Strawberry Hill Housing Society kindly gave us $7,000
• Vancouver Foundation - Youth Homelessness Initiative for the third cheque of $47,000 of a three year grant to our Transition to Adulthood program
• Youth and Philanthropy Initiative and St. John’s School group (pictured above) for winning us $5,000
We appreciate the support & generosity to the kids in our programs and our organization.
A New Musical Playground
Marc DeLong, husband of our Clinical Director Dr. Lise’ DeLong, generously built a musical playground for the kids in the Village while he was visiting from California with Lise'!
The children were so excited about it, they even started using it BEFORE it was finished (as you can see in the photo).
Thank you to Marc, it looks great.
Did you know Drinking Anytime during Pregnancy can Cause Serious Brain Problems?
By Dr. Lise' DeLong, Ph.D, CPCRT, CCCM, Clinical Director, Developmental NeuroCognitive Specialist
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders - FASD is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Effects may include physical, mental, behavioural, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications.
Typical primary characteristics in children, adolescents, and adults include:
• Memory problems
• Difficulty storing and retrieving information
• Inconsistent performance (“on” and “off”) days
• Impulsivity, distractibility, disorganization
• Ability to repeat instructions, but inability to put them into action (“talk the talk but don’t walk the walk”)
• Difficulty with abstractions, such as math, money management, time concepts
• Cognitive processing deficits (think more slowly)
• Slow auditory pace (may understand every 3rd word of normally paced conversation)
• Developmental lags (may act younger than chronological age)
• Inability to predict outcomes or understand consequences
Many people with FASD have strengths which mask their cognitive challenges:
• Highly verbal
• Bright in some areas
• Artistic, musical, mechanical
• Friendly, outgoing, affectionate
• Determined, persistent
• Good with younger children
A study conducted by the University of Washington shows the percentage of people age 6 to 51 with an FASD who had difficulties in the following areas:
• 94% had mental health problems
• 83% of adults experienced dependent living
• 79% of adults had employment problems
• 60% of those age 12+ had trouble with the law
• 50% inpatient treatment for mental health or substance abuse or spent time in prison
• 45% engaged in inappropriate sexual behaviour
• 43% had disrupted school experiences
• 24% of adolescents, 46% of adults, and 35% overall had alcohol and drug problems
This doesn’t have to happen. Here are some ways to remediate and rehabilitate:
• Spend time encouraging independence
• Create ways to help them feel successful
• Engage them in music at a young age (encouraging an outlet for expression)
• Social programs that encourage talking about their concerns
• Brain remediation games that assist with:
o Speed Processing
o Language Processing (Expressive and Receptive)
o Auditory Processing (Reception, Association, Sequential Memory, Discrimination)
o Divided and Diverted Attention
o Working Memory
o Executive Function Skills (Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Reasoning, Deduction)
o Cognitive Switching
o Left/Right Orientation
o Internal Organization
It does take a whole village to raise our children, please tolerate differences and yet teach yourself so you can help the younger generation learn what MIGHT happen if they are not careful.