Be good, do good, feel good: support SOS Children’s Villages
BY: WENDY ALTSCHULER Special Columnist
WENDY CITY MOM. the parenting column.
Lynn Croneberger, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages USA, has been helping disadvantaged orphaned and abandoned children around the world, including right here in the Chicago area. SOS, which began operating in 1949, is the world’s largest independent NGO that works toward creating permanent, devoted families for affected children. They keep families together when possible, provide outreach programs to the surrounding communities and aid existing families to prevent children from becoming orphaned or abandoned. Impacting the lives of over 1 million people each year and raising over 80,000 children in 500 villages across 133 countries, including two villages in Illinois, SOS has grown closer to their goal of helping needy children grow up in supportive and loving homes.
With the help from Chicago Mayor, Richard M. Daley as well as the City of Chicago, nearly 100 children have a home in a SOS Children’s Village in Chicago.
SOS also provides a program for pregnant girls and young mothers; a foster family program, for emergency situations; and in-home family support, to help local Chicago families build on their strengths and address their pressing challenges.
“We do this so children can grow up in a loving home and family, and avoid being entered into the child welfare system,” said Croneberger. “Our family strengthening strategies address behavioral situations at a critical point in a youth’s life, and help decrease family crisis to prevent youth from being separated from their families and homes.”
Globally, if children have been abandoned or orphaned, they are able to live in a home, provided by SOS, where they will be taken care of in a nurturing and protective family environment. These children will remain in the supportive home until they’re able to become independent adults.
“A SOS home consists of a mother and around 6-10 siblings, depending on the Village,” said Croneberger. “All children get the necessities to survive–clothing, meals, education and health care–but most of all, they receive what they need to develop into independent adults: the personal attention and care from their SOS moms.”
Want to help?
Contribute your available resources, make a donation, sponsor a child, start a fundraiser, volunteer or spread the word via social media about this organization. Visit the website to learn more: SOS-USA.org.
“We’ve created this huge worldwide support network made up of children, SOS mothers, families, donors and supporters—we call it the world’s largest family – all working together to make sure that there is a loving home for every child,” said Croneberger.