SOS Children’s Villages Illinois is committed to providing multiple health and wellness opportunities to our children and families, including caring for mind, body, and spirit. SOS Illinois’ annual Harvest Day, hosted on September 28th at Chicago Village, created an atmosphere that allowed for children and adults alike to discover healthy practices of engaging with the natural world. Whether through learning about the importance of locally grown vegetables, petting farm animals, or listening to wisdom from the SOS Illinois gardener and volunteers, children and families gained a renewed understanding of our connection as humans to the world.
Harvest Day included a wide variety of joy and learning for all ages. After mixing together concoctions of the stretchy slime, a child could be found at the pumpkin painting booth creating a modern-day Picasso on a tiny pumpkin. Foster Parents chuckled as the children, petting the scratchy back of a pig, squealed in delight. Children even enjoyed learning about garden pollination and the impact of bees as they decorated “bee houses” for the Chicago Village garden. All of the stations at Harvest Day were designed to encourage an engaging and healthy mental space, a component of child development that SOS Illinois is dedicated to pursuing.
This event effectively preceded SOS Illinois’ active involvement in Mental Illness Awareness Month. SOS Illinois understands that children must receive well-rounded care that includes a focus on their mental health. One way this is accomplished is through breaking down stigmas that surround mental health. SOS Illinois encourages children to be vocal about their mental and emotional health and provides resources for Foster Parents to take an active role in their own mental health as well as the mental health of their household. Another way that SOS Illinois actively advocates for mental health awareness by having a licensed clinical therapist serving at every Village, available to the children as well as Foster Parents.
The success of Harvest Day, as well as SOS Illinois’ consistent attention to health-focused education, would not be possible without the support of our committed partners, Swissôtel Chicago, Conagra, and PHMG. Thanks to these partnerships, our children are able to have many opportunities for growth, especially when it comes to learning about wellness. Furthermore, each of these partnerships has touched the lives of children by providing other opportunities for learning and engagement, such as career days, music-making workshops, and much more. We thank Swissôtel Chicago, Conagra, and PHMG tremendously for their enthusiastic involvement in the SOS Illinois community, and for passionately participating in educating our children about the mind, the body, and the world.
Through the generous commitment of time and donations like yours, SOS Illinois is able to continue providing valuable resources through our Health and Wellness Program. Click here to invest in the health and wellness of youth and families in Illinois foster care