As you may know from reading past posts, I love writing about charitable organizations that are created by kids. This time, however, I’m moved to spread the word about a very special nonprofit that that was spearheaded by a single caring adult for kids. I’m excited to observe May, Foster Care Awareness Month, by sharing the story of The Children’s Village of Sonoma County(www.thechildrensvillage.com).
Research (State of California) indicates that within four years of leaving the foster care system:
- 50% were unemployed
- 25% had been homeless
- 40% were on public assistance
- 50% did not graduate from high school
The Children’s Village of Sonoma County is dedicated to giving children secure and happy childhoods so that they will grow up to be emotionally healthy adults equipped to lead happy and productive lives.
“It’s like we’re free and away from things we don’t want to be around.” Village Resident
Inspiration & Hard Work
Following the death of 12-year-old foster child Georgia Moses, professional child care consultant Lia Rowley was inspired to create “a unique alternative model for children in foster care” – a village that would provide a stable, nurturing environment for foster children and siblings. After seven years of hard work and fundraising, The Children’s Village of Sonoma County celebrated its grand opening in 2006. At the celebration, a check for $1,000,000 was presented to Lia from the estate of G.K. Hardt, to be used to build The Village Community Center. The Center is now the hub of Village activities and houses a library, computer area, tutoring space and art rooms. A playground and basketball court flank the Community Center.
“It’s not like other group homes, we (siblings) get to live together here.” “If we were split up, we would be lonely.” Village Residents
The Village Experience
- A home-like, non-institutional setting
- On-site, full-time, Village Parents
- Village Parents (trained, resident staff members)
- Village Grandparents (trained resident volunteers)
- On-site case management
- Educational support
- Social and recreational activities
- Parent education and support
- Community involvement
- Vocational and independent living skills
Today, The Village consists of 4 houses where “Parents” and 6 children reside. “Grandparents” spend time with the children, sharing skills and acting as mentors. When fully built, The Village will consist of 8 children’s homes and 6 Grandparent apartments, and will serve 48 children and siblings.
“When I’m sad, there is someone to talk to.” Village Resident
If you’re captivated by this story of dedication to better lives for children in foster care, visit www.thechildrensvillage.com to learn more – and perhaps get involved! To read more about charitable organizations, especially those created by kids, visit http://www.triplegift.net and click on “Blog” or go to http://spend-save-share.org.