At the 2017 annual meeting, SOS Illinois CEO Tim McCormick spoke of the power of our Village model of care. This power comes not from the various responsibilities we accomplish when caring for a child, but in the manner in which we carry out these very important tasks. He shared three uniting and fundamental characteristics by which we work: wisdom, strength, and inspiration.
The first characteristic is wisdom. This characteristic does not pertain to just one individual, but to the collective wisdom of a community that discerns and discovers knowledge, prudence, and judiciousness to provide care and support for others. The second characteristic is strength, which relates to a moral and ethical standard that one child suffering is one child too many. It is a strength that allows us to push beyond our normal limits to move with energy, devotion, and commitment to develop and create a place where all lives can be transformed. Finally, the third is inspiration. The Village becomes a place where we can continue to dream and envision a very different way of living together in hope and peace.
The Village Model of Care
Our innovative model of care differs from traditional foster care and is built on four pillars: 1) emphasizing children should live together with their siblings, 2) receive care and support from a full-time, professionally-trained Foster Parent, 3) grow up in a private, single-family home, and 4) be surrounded by a community of support – the Village.
Children benefit from the stability of remaining with their siblings as well as the support of neighboring SOS Illinois Foster Parents and the entire community.
A Supportive Community Environment
Each Village offers comprehensive services including: individual and group counseling, mentoring, and educational and cultural enrichment opportunities. This highly supportive setting provides children a sense of safety, security, and community, encouraging them on their journey toward healing and reaching their fullest potential. The SOS Illinois supportive community includes the following:
Case Management – Our Case Management team is key to the support a Village provides. In traditional foster care agencies, case workers travel each day to see the children in their caseload and end up seeing each child one to two times a month. SOS Illinois Case Workers can interact with our children on daily basis. This year at our Annual Meeting, we awarded our Case Management Staff the 2017 Distinguished Staff Recognition Award for the impactful work they provide to the children in our care. (link to Annual Meeting)
Clinical Therapists – The goal of our clinical therapy is to provide individual therapy and training for Foster Parents that will improve the collective understanding of the complex issues related children in foster care, as well as create connections that will reduce parenting stress and improve family well-being.
Village Staff – Each site is comprised of passionate and dedicated individuals who are committed to the SOS Children’s Villages Illinois mission. Village Directors, Business Managers, Village Assistants, and Education and Activities Coordinators work together to support our direct-care providers. (our people page)
Volunteers – Volunteers play a vital role in the development of our children. By sharing time and talent, our volunteers have the opportunity to get involved in the Village community and change a child’s life. (link to volunteer page)
Board of Directors – Our board members are committed individuals who lead the organization with a focus on support and governance. Board members act as ambassadors to the community and look to protect the organization through fiduciary responsibilities, evaluating the organization’s work, and more. (link to board list)
Extended Community – A key goal for SOS Children’s Villages Illinois is to utilize the community center at each Village to add valuable services to residents of the community surrounding the site. Additionally, we work with other providers to create a comprehensive and supportive array of services to enrich family life and the life of the community.
Donors and Corporate Partners – The generosity of donors allows SOS Children’s Villages Illinois to offer comprehensive, quality services to children and families in need. With the support of our dedicated partners, we are able to continue our commitment to helping foster children grow into caring, productive, and self-reliant adults. (link to corporate page)
The unique strength of the Village lies in the collective power of loving Foster Parents, dedicated staff, and the surrounding community who work together with wisdom, strength and inspiration to help children gain confidence, trust, and a renewed sense of hope. We are grateful to our staff and partners who work cooperatively and communally to provide SOS Illinois youth with the tools and resources they need to grow into caring, responsible, self-reliant adults.