Strong communities are the bedrock of society. Community provides stability, a critical factor that contributes to an individual’s ability to thrive. Community is so essential that the well-being of children and families is directly impacted when they live in strong, stable, inclusive, and supportive communities.
From the beginning of time, humans have depended on the community for survival. Living in clans enabled them to share food, care for children, and build social networks to meet the daily challenges of their environments. Today, humans continue to forge connections and embrace community.
Being part of a community helps people develop a stronger sense of personal and collective identity. It can also boost a person’s self-esteem and willingness to take on the world to make dreams happen. But the importance of community goes beyond that.
Communities Drive Change
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the power of community. At one of the most challenging times we are likely to experience in our lifetime, local communities created much-needed systems of support throughout the pandemic. Formal and informal volunteering soared, people came together virtually and from a distance to help one another in myriad ways, including reminding one another that they were not alone.
Coming together as a community can drive real change, influencing local governments to provide safety measures or setting up a charity fundraiser for a family in need. Those changes can also be in supports for individuals and families. For example, when families encounter obstacles, community-driven change can ensure that they have access to the resources they need.
Strong communities can also serve as a much needed tool to prevent situations that cause children to be placed into care. Unfortunately, while billions of dollars are allocated to the child welfare system each year, national data consistently shows that very few of those dollars are invested in supporting children and families before maltreatment occurs.
SOS Children’s Villages Illinois Roosevelt Square Community Center
The focus of SOS Children’s Villages Illinois has always been community. Its innovative foster care model revolves around carefully constructed villages designed to provide children with the opportunity to live in single-family homes with their siblings in the care of full-time, professionally trained Foster Parents.
In addition to the supports provided by the organization, the success of SOS Illinois and the children and families it serves also depends on the support of the entire community.
SOS Illinois’ commitment to community continues to grow with the Roosevelt Square Community Center. The new facility has indoor space, including an all-purpose community room where community members can meet to learn, socialize, and share. There is also green space, a playground, and access to the community garden right across the street.
The center’s benefits extend far beyond its physical space; however, offering family resources and a series of events and workshops to help families thrive. For example, resources like Six Tips To Help Strengthen Your Family, Health and Wellness Resources for Black Communities, and Understanding What a Mandated Reporter Is.
In addition, families can refer to online resources like Four Tips for Connecting With Your Teens and follow up at the center with available on-site clinical therapists and Child Welfare Specialists. On-site clinical therapists and Child Welfare Specialists can provide an array of professional services, including consultations, to strengthen family bonds.
Future plans also include a series of events and workshops. Please visit sosillinois.org/community to learn about upcoming opportunities at our Roosevelt Square Community Center.
The Power of Community
The work to make the center a reality was and continues to be a community effort, with many people coming together to fulfill a promise made to families in need. Coming together as a community enables parents and youth to build relationships that enable them to discover the power of their voice. It’s an opportunity for everyone to be part of conversations that matter and a collaborative approach to take action to facilitate the future they want for their families.
Help Us Strengthen Families and Communities!
When you donate to SOS Children’s Villages Illinois, you’re transforming lives! The generosity of donors has enabled us to provide safe, stable, loving homes for thirty years. With your support, we can continue to build on our intentional community of care to ensure a strong foundation for a bright future for multiple communities.