A new video aimed at potential donors showcases SOS Children’s Village BC, a site in Surrey focused on family-based foster care for children and also youth aging out of care.
“We thought it would be fun to take you on a virtual tour of our Village,” director Farah Collier says in the 157-second video, posted to the international organization’s YouTube channel.
The location of SOS Children’s Village BC is kept secret to protect the children and youth who live there.
“From the front of the houses they just look like regular houses on a regular street,” Collier explains in the video.
“There’s a book by Frances Hodgson Burnett called ‘The Secret Garden.’ When you walk up the stairs and open up the gate, it reminds me of these two children from the book. They find this overgrown garden and then they tend it and they care for it turns into this magical place.”
The Village includes five houses, each housing between three to five children in care, along with one or two caregivers.
“The back of the forest goes right up until the fence over there,” Collier says in the video. “All the kids love building forts and having a lot of fun there, and let’s not forget the chicken coop.
“Downstairs we have what’s called our Year Intensive housing suites where when you age out of care, which here it’s 19, you can come and live in these suites,” Collier adds. “We call them Year Intensive housing suites but it’s never a year, it’s usually a lot longer than a year, but that’s just like in regular life, right. In your own families you wouldn’t be kicking your kids out when they turn 19, they are leaving when they’re ready.”
It’s all part of a “little hub” of a Village in Surrey, she says.
“We provide counselling services, we have mental wellness supports, we have education so that kids can come and get their homework done after school or any kind of tutoring,” Collier details.
“It looks like your regular living room. We don’t want it to look clinical, we want this place to be an extension of our kids homes so that they don’t feel like they’re any different than anybody else. And each one of our staff, when they’re here this is their second home as well.
“As you can see this is nothing like what you would ever expect.”