Ribbon Cutting

First Nations Elder Bruce Robinson, Todd Schierling, Judy Villeneuve, Marvin Hunt, and SOS BC executive director Douglas Dunn cut the ribbon for the grand opening of the transition suites.

Surrey, British Columbia SOS Children’s Village B.C. is thrilled to announce the grand opening of their final two suites for youth struggling to transition out of foster care and into independent adulthood. This momentous moment in the history of foster care in British Columbia – with a June 17th ribbon cutting by Mayor Linda Hepner and MLA Marvin Hunt – is the culmination of three years of intensive capital campaign fundraising of $450,000 to build five permanent suites. Success has been achieved through the generosity of individuals and organizations who understand the incredible need for this project.
Every year in British Columbia, more than 700 teenagers age out of the foster care system. As soon as they turn 19, the only support system they knew is no longer available to them, and they are expected to begin taking care of themselves. But at just 19, with no confidence, no skills, and little support or resources, it is setting these teens up for failure. And far too many of them do fail, ending up homeless, living on the streets, addicted, or in trouble with the law. Indeed, over 40% of youth living on the streets of B.C. have been in foster care.
That’s why SOS Children’s Village B.C. is excited about the completion of construction on the final two (of five) independent living accommodations. Separate building entrances, bathrooms, living spaces, and kitchen areas will allow young adults or young mothers to live an independent lifestyle, with support from a youth worker. A survey by the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks found 64% of youth transitioning out of care said housing support is what would help – or what would have helped – them the most.
Kids on piano 2017“Like any parent, we don’t believe that a relationship ends with a child on their 19th birthday,” said Douglas Dunn, executive director of SOS Children’s Village B.C. “Our program helps young adults move from the dependency enforced by being in care, to independence.”

Most transition programs require a referral through the Ministry of Children and Family Development. The SOS B.C. program accepts referrals from other professionals, schools, social workers, parents, and most importantly, from youth themselves.
The high-risk youth in the Youth Housing Year Intensive Program will have greater social connections – the number one desire of youth who have aged out of care – by developing relationships with the other children, youth, caregivers, and staff in the SOS Village.
Unique to SOS B.C.’s program, youth will be able to access the other therapeutic services offered to the Village families including: learning clubs; music lessons; camp, recreation and cultural programs; and cognitive, expressive arts, and Neurofeedback therapies. These wrap- around support programs will contribute to a more normalized experience of transitioning to adulthood for teens who cannot live with their biological parents.
Moreover, the SOS Children’s Village Thrift Store Foundation can outfit a young person with clothes, school supplies, furniture, and more, all at no charge. Participants will be provided with the business attire needed for successful job interviews.
“There are financial incentives to pursue education, and rewards including everything required for their own apartment: furniture, appliances, kitchenware, computer, TV, etc. – an ‘Apartment In A Box’ that they can take with them after graduating from our yearlong program,” said Douglas Dunn.
Inside Transition Suite“No one is really building suites like these and most grants only run for three years. What makes our project different? It is truly ongoing, as we have established an Endowment Fund to ensure operation of these suites for the next 30-50 years.”
A stable living locale will allow youth aging out of care to positively connect to their communities. With the location of the housing at an SOS Village, the teens will be healthier both physically and mentally, with access to the extensive green space and facilities of the Village which include a sports court, dedicated and stocked art/music studios, and more.
SOS B.C.’s capital campaign has garnered interest and praise from around North America. “I read with great enthusiasm about your effort to raise money to create homes for teens who must leave the foster care system at age 19,” said Richard Klarberg, President & CEO of the Council on Accreditation in New York. “Kids aging out of foster care is one of the most important initiatives in both Canada and the United States. Programs like yours offer a concrete and cost-effective approach to reducing homelessness and poverty among this growing segment of society. Congratulations on having the foresight and courage to tackle this problem.”
Once youth graduate from the Youth Housing Year Intensive Program, SOS B.C. promises lifelong engagement through their Aftercare Program. Once a child, youth, or caregiver has been part of SOS, they are part of the SOS family forever.
About SOS Children’s Village BC

Cake for 30th Birthday

Celebrating the 30th birthday of SOS Children’s Village BC on June 10, 2016!

SOS Children’s Villages is the world’s largest non-governmental, non-denominational child development organization and cares for fostered, orphaned, or abandoned children. It has existed for over 65 years with presence in 134 countries and 572 Villages. British Columbia is home to the only SOS Children’s Village in Canada. SOS Children’s Village BC provides homes, a supportive community, and programs to help foster children and youth in need grow into caring, self-reliant adults.





Members of the Swiss Women National Softball Team 2016 with Team-Manager Sabina Sokolowski

Swiss Softball Nationalteamwill arrive on Wednesday, July 13th, at about 7pm in the International Arrival Hall of the Vancouver Airport before heading to the Hotel Sheraton Guildford in Surrey by bus.

Swiss ScarfDress up in your Tracht oder Choteli and bring your Swiss and Kantons flags, Cowbells & Trychlen, Alphorns & Maellerstuehli, Jochs, Cameras, Signature books. etc.

As of now (Sunday, July 10th at 00:05) the Team should be able to see us at about 7pm but the local SWISS FAN CLUB will gather from 6pm on in the Int. Arrival Hall where Alfred Eigenmann und Peter Schaelle will greet the Swiss Fan Club members with a large Swiss Flag and a Trichle.

Please spread the message to our Compatriots and any like-minded and let me know should you have any questions. We wish all the 17 players and 6 coaches of the Swiss Women National Softball Team a safe trip.
2016 ChampionshipRegards und Hopp Schwiiz!!!

The SURREY 2016 Organizing Committee is proud to welcome the world’s best fastpitch athletes, representing upwards of 30 nations, to Surrey, BC, Canada for the WBSC XV Women’s World Softball Championship.

Learn more here:  https://www.surrey2016.com

The World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC) is the rights holding broadcaster.  The WBSC have chosen not to broadcast the event on television, but instead to prepare a web streaming package to allow a Pay-per-View model for viewers around the world to follow the excitement of the Surrey 2016 WBSC XV Women’s World Championships. To subscribe, click here.

Participating Teams are:

  • Africa (2): Kenya, Uganda
  • Americas (10): Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Peru, United States, Venezuela, and host Canada;
  • Asia (6): China, Chinese Taipei, India, Japan, Pakistan, Philippines;
  • Europe (11): Austria, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Serbia, Switzerland;
  • Oceania (2): Australia, New Zealand.

Successful Saengerfest Thanks to MGV Lyra

Edelweiss Musikanten with Lyra Choir

Edelweiss Musikanten with the MGV Lyra

Surrey, BC – Eight different choirs spent the last 3 years preparing for the 40th Saengerfest, which was held in the Chandos Pattison Auditorium in Surrey on Friday, June 5th, 2015. MGV Lyra was the host choir, and out of their 50+ members, they chose Horst Zimmermann to be the Chairman of the Nord Pazifischer Saengerbund Festival Committee. He then recruited 9 others to help him organize the festival: Rudy Milz, Wolfgang Araszewski, Willi Ternes, Bernd Hirsekorn, Dieter Momeyer (MC), Jochen Petersen, Manfred Frank, Joseph Mens. Horst also recruited me to attend the events and help with digital marketing, as well as prepare a talk on how to use the Internet to attract younger members.

Beatrice Schreiber, Paul ButenHorst also invited VIP’s Consul B. Dierkes-LeifeldBeatrice & Horst & Beatrice Schreiber, President of the German Canadian Business Association. Beatrice also brought friend, artist Paul Buten, along with his wife. Beatrice recently received an “Order of Merit” from the Federal German Government “awarded for achievements that served the rebuilding of the country in the fields of political, socio-economic and intellectual activity” and who says: “My primary objective is to preserve and maintain the local German Cultural heritage and economic associations.”

Edelweiss Musikanten

The Edelweiss Musikanten warmed up the crowd

Beatrice and her guests were very happy to be able to attend the Saengerfest and were amazed at the variety of songs that were offered by the different choirs.  They were also impressed of the energy demonstrated, especially considering the age of some singers.  For example, there were some people who have been singing with their choirs for 50 years already, and Frank Posch who was acknowledged for being involved with the Saengerfest for 75 years!  As there is apparently no special pin for this achievement available., Mr. Posch was given a bottle of wine and a special certificate instead.

Horst Zimmermann awards flowers and wineTowards the end, all of the Conductors, Accompanists and Presidents were invited to come on stage, where the ladies received a bouquet of flowers and the gentlemen a bottle of wine.  All were smiling as they left the auditorium to attend the “Afterglow” Party in the Sheraton Hotel in Guildford, where beer, pizza and accordion music awaited them.  Some of the choir members mentioned that they were already rehearsing at 3 pm and, as the concert attended after 10 am, had lasted almost 8 hours without having eaten anything except for fruit!  Very impressive that the choirs were able to perform so well, and they delighted and amazed their audience with repertoire.  All 230 singers received a standing ovation.

230 Singers at the 40th SaengerfestThen we were able to enjoy 230 people singing four songs altogether to make a joyful noise:  “Als Freunde (Crandal), Lied an die Freude (Beethoven), Unser Leben ist Musik (Sorg), Messiah No 44:  Hallelujah Chorus (Haendel).

Please click on any picture to see a larger version.


Last Advertisement for the Saengerfest

50-Year Anniversary for the Lyra Choir!

There are still some tickets available for the amazing singing Festival to take place in Surrey, BC on Friday, June 5th. See 280 voices sing in 8 different choirs, with 3-4 different songs, from 2 different countries in the Chandos Pattison Auditorium. You will even have a chance to sing yourself! If you want tickets, now is your chance to order them!

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson:

The performing arts and musical events, such as the Saengerfest Festival, are important aspects of a city’s lifestyle. This event is a wonderful celebration of German culture and represents the multiculturalism we are so proud of in Vancouver. With performing choirs from British Columbia and across the border, the tradition of German Song will be upheld and shared throughout our community.