February 19, 2021
Making a House a Home in partnership with EQ3, Buenen Design, and SOS Children’s Villages Canada
I want to share a project with our supporters that brought hope and light into our Village in late 2020. After trying to manage the pandemic, we had a transition at our Village site where one house became available for a foster family. This was a unique time to take on such a transition. Lockdown leered on everyone’s minds, and there were particulars for figuring out how to do it safely. Word got out amongst the team, and were able to set up a great partnership with Canadian furniture company EQ3 and with SOS Children’s Villages Canada. They wanted to be sure, regardless of who the family was, that they could provide furnishing for the home to help make the family feel very welcome.
Our program staff sorted out what was needed while following strict COVID-19 health and safety procedures. This involved introducing ourselves to a family of seven (of which five are foster children) eager to find a home within our Village. Although it seemed that all moving parts were coming together, we realized and began to worry that the house would feel a bit vacant as we began to learn about the family and the children.
Usually, SOS Children’s Village BC would hold a gathering to welcome our families. We’d acknowledge and introduce our parents, children, and youth to each other, and of course, break bread! So we wanted to be sure that the family felt welcome – with a statement!
Light and Life
In stepped Jason Buenen of Buenen Design, a friend to the organization, and an incredible up-and-coming interior designer and stylist. Jason, with his expertise and knowledge, helped bring the home more meaning. His design brought light and life into the house. In other words, he ensured anyone seeing or being in the space would be excited to live there.
Jason’s work took over a month and half in prep. This included many meetings with myself and staff to ensure that the items in the home were just right! I am continually impressed with Jason’s work. But something I took to heart was that Jason was adamant about making sure that if anything was missing we had the resources and materials to get the job done – and done right. He showed care for this family, knowing that their experiences have been unfortunate to some extent, and wanted to do whatever in his power he could to make sure this family felt this house was their home.
In the lives of foster children, second hand items are often the story. Or hand me downs from other siblings. But with this opportunity, we were able to bring solace and resolve to these kids during a time of transition. To ensure they felt what every child should feel: safe, loved, and worthy.
In conclusion, a house can have many definitions. But it’s partnerships like these that help that definition transition the word ‘house’ into a ‘home’. These children will be able to grow, thrive, and develop here at the Village in a home they can call their own, with support and services right in their backyard, and a community of families who empower each other.
By Kistie Singh, Executive Director
Edited by William Brennan
Who is SOS Kinderdorf?
SOS Children’s Village BC is part of SOS Children’s Villages, 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. SOS Children’s Village BC was founded in 1986 as a grassroots response to deficiencies in the provincial foster care system characterized by frequent placement breakdowns and moves for children and youth, and the separation of siblings into different homes. Even today, the state of foster care remains a “North American epidemic”, as described by local former foster child Tom Watson.
Foster children are frequently at risk of emotional disturbances, delayed social development, and poor educational performance. Foster parents who raise these children require ongoing special resources and support. SOS Children’s Village BC enhances the development and healing of foster children with a holistic framework that addresses their physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs. We ensure long term stability with a strong focus on transition to adulthood programming and aging out of care.
From the SOS BC Children’s Village: https://www.sosbc.org/making-a-house-a-home/