Social distancing orders have not stopped SOS Children’s Villages Illinois from taking the time to honor the immense, transformational work of the people who bring our Village Model of Care to life. As May was Foster Care Awareness Month, SOS Illinois also celebrated Foster Parent Appreciation Month, 31 days of honoring the important and groundbreaking work of our professional Foster Parents. Through special social distance-friendly initiatives and events, our staff, friends, and supporters made sure our Foster Parents know how special and important they are, in May and always.
SOS Illinois Foster Parents Deserve Recognition
As May was Foster Care Awareness Month, child welfare and foster care agencies around the country worked to raise up the important issues, challenges, and breakthroughs happening within the foster care system, including celebrating the tremendous barriers overcome by children in care and the Foster Parents who serve them. As we celebrated Foster Parent Appreciation Month in tandem with Foster Care Awareness Month, we recognized that the success of our unique Village Model of Care is only possible with the hard work and loving support of our professional Foster Parents.
“I, and so many in this organization, respect, care, and see you as a blessing,” Tim McCormick, CEO of SOS Illinois, shared at the beginning of May to help kick off the month of gratitude.
For our Foster Parents, this time of great uncertainty navigating the global pandemic has offered additional challenges in care, as our Foster Parents step up as at-home teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, and more. In fact, the dedicated work of our Foster Parents during this unprecedented time even captured the attention of ABC News Prime, a national broadcast that recently featured SOS Illinois Foster Parent, Liz Hope.
With so many challenges in which our Foster Parents have risen to the occasion, there is an increased necessity for celebrating their tireless work, and we’re excited for the multiple ways we were able to do so during Foster Parent Appreciation Month.
Special Deliveries for SOS Illinois Foster Parents
Throughout May, SOS Illinois Foster Parents received several special deliveries to their Village homes as small tokens of our appreciation. Deliveries included special treats to enjoy with their children, decorative items to help make their house a home, and more. Though just a small gesture, SOS Illinois hoped these gifts offered a glimpse into the amount of gratitude we have for the work our Foster Parents put into each day in their Village homes.
Additionally, our wonderful corporate partners also wanted to show their support to our Foster Parents during this vital time of their service. Our friends at Swissôtel Chicago gifted each Foster Parent at SOS Illinois a free night’s stay at Swissôtel Chicago once it is safe to enjoy time away from the Village. This special offering will allow our Foster Parents the chance to relax, recharge, and enjoy the atmosphere at the luxury hotel.
Virtual Celebration Brings Together Foster Parents and Staff at a Safe Distance
Annually, SOS Illinois hosts an appreciation event for our Foster Parents during Foster Parent Appreciation Month to bring together our Foster Parents from all three Villages (Lockport Village, Chicago Village, and Roosevelt Square Village). These events, which give the opportunity for staff and supporters at SOS Illinois to pay gratitude to our Foster Parents, have stood as a celebratory time of recognition.
This year, in response to the social distancing needs required during the current health crisis, we moved our celebration to the virtual world, allowing Foster Parents to connect to one another and receive well-deserved praise from the comfort of their own homes. This year’s virtual celebration provided special remarks from select members of our leadership team and corporate partners, words of wisdom from an SOS Illinois Foster Parent, Terica Page, musical entertainment, plenty of joy, and even a special delivered brunch for our Foster Parents, courtesy of SOS Illinois.
“I thank you for your dedication and sacrifice, and for being an inspiration by the sheer power of the love, and the care, and the hope that you give,” shared SOS Illinois’ Chief Operations Officer, Delphine Rankin, during the event. “You stepped up to the call, you decided to foster, and you’ve gone a step further and decided to foster six children. I often ask myself, ‘What special person does that?’ But I know who they are: The 30+ men and women who are serving as professional Foster Parents at our three Villages.”
Though we were not able to gather together in person, the energy shared through the Zoom appreciation event confirms that our Foster Parents continue to serve with positivity, patience, and hope even during these difficult circumstances.
“None of us would be here without the professional Foster Parents,” SOS Illinois’ Director of Recruitment, Kelsey Balk, shared with the virtual gathering, “Seeing our Village communities pulling together during this time, making quick and smart adjustments for the health and safety of our children has been amazing to witness and makes me so proud to be a part of what we are doing here. It truly is what a Village stands for. I am personally inspired by what I see and learn from [our Foster Parents] each day.”
Become a Foster Parent at SOS Illinois
As we continue to celebrate the efforts of our Foster Parents throughout the year, we invite you you to consider joining our team alongside these talented members of our family. By becoming a professional Foster Parent at SOS Children’s Villages Illinois, you take on the noble role of helping to build the future of foster care, where children and teens can find healing, love, and success. Learn more about this position today and reach out to a member of our Recruitment team to get started on the application process!