Presenting the New Short Film for our Capital Campaign
The Capital Campaign for Transition to Adulthood Suites short film has been released! Professionally produced, it premiered at our 20th Annual Holiday Gala in Grouse Mountain’sTheatre in the Sky
, and the video is now available to the general public at www.sosbc.org/notothestreets
Please help us share it far and wide. We need your help to reach our goal of $250,000 to build suites for youth aging out of foster care, who otherwise would be homeless. Our campaign was highlighted at the end of a front page article in The Vancouver Sun on Boxing Day. We also got in the Surrey Now newspaper last week. So far we have raised $50,000!
The SOS Annual Run & Walk: Stepping Up to Follow Up for Foster Children
On Sunday, May 24th, lace up your joggers and join hundreds of runners and walkers streaming onto the Richmond Olympic Oval Plaza for the 9am kick off of the 7th Annual SOS Children’s Village BC Run & Walk, a major fundraiser supporting SOS homes and programs for foster children.
Kids in foster care face challenges that most young people could never imagine. They endure crises, family breakdown, and perhaps see people they love and depend on abusing drugs or alcohol or suffering mental health problems.
Maybe they have been abused themselves, physically, mentally, or sexually, and their childhood has been a living nightmare. On average, a foster child’s life becomes a travelling circus of seven homes, seven families, seven schools, and seven neighbourhoods.
Foster children are like youngsters abandoned in the aftermath of war. In fact, it was after the Second World War that a doctor, Hermann Gmeiner, decided to find homes for Austrian children left to fend for themselves, homes where they received proper care and, most importantly, unconditional love and respect. SOS Children’s Villages was born!
Lois and Gilles Bouchard, who brought SOS Children’s Villages to BC and founded the Run & Walk, say the mission is alive and well because many individuals, organizations, and corporations volunteer their time and talents.
“We help fund five SOS homes in Surrey where foster kids grow up in a family with a mother’s care and programs and therapies for their healing and development,” says Lois Bouchard. The Run & Walk, she added, is now one of Richmond’s most anticipated community events.
“It’s a joy to see the athletes and their families having fun on the Oval plaza. With the great riverside location and the spectacular mountain views and so much spirit and camaraderie, how can you lose?”
“Last year, the Richmond Rotary Club came on-board with our Run & Walk Team, so things are just getting better and better. We cannot thank the Rotarians enough for their terrific organizational skills, enthusiasm, and willingness to pitch in for the SOS cause.”
SOS BC Communications Coordinator William Brennan explained that the agency continually looks for new ways to solve difficulties faced by foster children and youth.
“Those who have turned 19 and are no longer eligible for government funding can, without the referral of a social worker or other professional, enter our Transition to Adulthood program to negotiate the challenging next stage of their lives."
To enter the 2K, 5K, or 10K Run & Walk, to volunteer, or to make a donation for $20 or more to receive a tax receipt, follow this link:
Holidays at the Village
By Kistie Singh, Village Director & Education Coordinator
At the end of 2014, the kids and families at the Village were fortunate to team up with a new corporate sponsor, Qoola Frozen Yogurt
. Unlike many organizations in our community, Qoola has a strong piece of community involvement and giving practices.
Qoola teamed up with SOS BC to deliver an incredible Christmas Party. Over 20 members from their organization, BC Lion Adam Bighill, and all of our families at our Village attended this event and it was a huge win! All the kids met their sponsors directly and were given gifts for Christmas, and even the caregivers were given gifts as well. We shared a few dances and holiday carols and then spent the evening enjoying Qoola frozen yogurt and their amazing paninis and treats.
CEO Warrick Chu made an amazing speech on the importance of being involved in the community and giving back. It touched our families so much, that one spoke out about how humbled and blessed she felt that they chose to give back to their community here at SOS. Warrick feels strongly towards the foster kids in our care - when Warrick was just a youth he had to find his own way in life without the support of his family and was able to find the path to success. He hopes to continue influencing and inspiring children to reach for their absolute best.
Special Thank Yous
• BC Gaming for a $100,000 programs grant
• Boag Foundation provided us with a $10,000 grant for our Capital Campaign
• Coast Capital Savings for a $15,000 grant for our Capital Campaign
• Hellenic Canadian Congress provided us with $500 for our Capital Campaign
• HSBC - Future First Program granted $54,329 for our Learning Club and Neurofeedback programs
• RBC Foundation gave $500 in honour of volunteer hours provided by Sandra Webster
• RCMP Ladies Auxiliary donated $400
• Rotary North Delta donated $1,000 to our Transition to Adulthood program
• Sook Ching Foundation for a $10,000 grant to our Therapy programs and $5,000 for our Sounds of Learning program
• Steveston #284 Army, Navy, and Air Force Veterans donated $1,000
• Sunshine Hills Elementary in North Delta donated $340 from their Christmas Fair
• Telus House Ottawa for $1,000 through employee Sid Sidhu and volunteer program
• Vancity for a $8,000 grant to our Transition to Adulthood program
• West Coast Title Search for a $700 donation
• White Rock Rotary Club gave $1,500 to our Capital Campaign
• Anonymous gift of $2,000 to our Capital Campaign
• Anonymous donations of $5,000 and $2,000
We appreciate the support & generosity to the kids in our programs and our organization.
An Exceptional Holiday Challenge, Because of You
A heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who donated to our Holiday Season Challenge campaign in December.
The totals are in and ... drum roll please ... we raised $21,745!
Rather impressive considering the goal for our campaign was $15,000 - you helped us blow past that!
The generosity displayed this past Christmas by the community towards our programs for foster children and youth really warmed the hearts of all the staff at SOS BC. The foster kids we help are so lucky to have our caring donors looking out for them, to lift the heavy burden they carry.
Furthermore, over the holidays, we appealed to the public for gift card donations for youth in our Transition to Adulthood program, many whom lack the funds to purchase life’s essentials. The response was overwhelming with over $7,500 in gift cards donated (a huge increase from $3K the previous year), plus heaps of food hampers and other gifts.
The generous donors included two children age 7 and 9 who decided to give half their Christmas money ($6 and $10) to our SOS kids. One young woman came in for a ‘special’ Christmas gift, a tax receipt for a donation in her boyfriend’s name. You see, she hadn’t known he had been a foster child until they read our front page article in the Cloverdale Reporter, and he had a very strong emotional reaction to it. She knew that helping our children would be something that would make him far happier than getting another gift under the tree.
THRIFT STORE STORIES: Happy To Be Here
By Brenda McGuire, PT Thrift Store Manager, Kerrisdale
A couple of years ago, I was at the peak of my ‘success’: a big house, a thriving business and 400 Facebook ‘friends’, but I was the most unhappy I’d ever been. To truly make a long story short, I ran away. I got rid of 95% of my possessions, put the rest in storage, and fled to Italy.
Over the following two years, I obsessively studied happiness and how to achieve it. I mined mountains of research and smelted it down to this one nugget:
“Go be a blessing on the world and joy will be fast on your heels.”
I made a promise to myself that I'd return to working only if and when I could be that blessing. Six months ago I saw an ad for part-time manager in the window of my favourite thrift store and cobbled together my first resume in 25 years.
That ad and resume landed me in a community that understands what I discovered through 18 months of research. I'm surrounded daily by people who are a blessing on the world. Donors bring us beautiful, valuable things, volunteers give enthusiastically of their time and expertise and SOS team members are consistently warm and kind.
The six months have flown. Under the strict tutelage of long-time store manager Vera (and the volunteers), I am learning to operate this very efficient machine of a store. I think I’ve got most of the names and faces of the volunteers and regular customers set to memory. I love mining the mountains of donations for gems, and with the help of Chris and Lady Google, I enjoy appraising them.
As an avid Facebook user, I enjoyed creating a page for the store. I love taking photos of all the cool stuff that comes in and sharing it with the online community. I'm happy to report that it has brought in donations and customers, and feedback has been great. The page's 'reach' in the community is gradually climbing!
Also during this time, Vera recruited a team to give the Kerrisdale store a touch of fresh paint. I visited the Steveston store during their very successful Christmas event, and together the stores had record-breaking sales for the 2014 holiday season.
I thank the winds of the universe for blowing me in the door of this wonderful organization. I'm happy to be here.