Every time we get together, we learn new things.  On Aug 26 meeting, not only did we meet the new Director of Development for SOS Children's Village BC, Michelle Bernard, we learned some sobering facts about foster children in BC.  It is staggering to know there are about 9,000 foster children in the system, and that number is fairly constant every year.  There are many foster parents throughout the province.  Some operate under the umbrella of SOS Children's Village BC. 
 
SOSBC is part of SOS Children’s Village, 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.
 
SOSBC was founded in 1986 as a grassroots response to deficiencies in the provincial foster care system.  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!.”
 
 
SOSBC has a wonderful story to tell.  In 1980 the founders of SOS Children’s Village BC, Gilles and Lois Bouchard, were troubled by the unstable life of a 15 year old girl who entered their lives. She had been in foster care from the age of 6. She was separated from all her siblings and lived in several foster homes (some extremely difficult) with three different placements just between age 15 and 16 alone. At 19, she received a government cheque for $400 and was on her own in the world, struggling to survive without family or adequate education.  It is at this age these young people are "fostered out" of the system and left on their own.  Troubling, don't you think?
 
Lois and Gilles Bouchard, angels of hope and healing for dozens of foster kids, year upon year.  Thanks to their vision and compassion these foster children have a wonderful gift of values and a place to call home.