Last week at a meeting, I was introduced to someone who is currently studying social work. When I introduced myself and The Federation, the person I was speaking to exclaimed, “You signed my bursary cheque my first year of university! I am a recipient of the Federation’s bursary!”
Meeting this person and hearing their story and their commitment to serving other young people was just the boost I needed in the middle of a long and trying week. I was encouraged and emboldened by this lovely example of what the future of social care work looks like. (As I have said before, The Federation’s Youth Education Bursary—and the intention and love underneath the dollar value—is one of the things I am most proud of.)
And this interaction also reminded me that BC Child and Youth in Care Week is coming up soon. This year, the week of June 3rd to 9th will be devoted to celebrating the strength, diversity, talents, and resilience of youth in and from care in our province. And once again, The Federation is proud to be part of the advisory committee helping to plan a week of events and activities that support, raise awareness, and acknowledge these amazing young people.
Like our bursary program, the events, awards, and contests that are a part of BC Child and Youth in Care Week are important and meaningful ways for us all to recognize youth in care, raise awareness about the barriers they face, and fight the stigma that can come from being a foster kid.
Celebrate youth in care
I encourage you all to consider hosting a local event, circulate information to your community members, or nominate someone for one of the various BC Child and Youth in Care Week Awards. There is a great deal of information available on the BCCYICW website including links to bursaries, entry forms for a youth art contest, and a promotional kit to help you spread the word among your networks.
The past few months have been very challenging for our sector. And the next few months will likely be the same. We are addressing a number of complex issues and a level of precarious uncertainty that makes the work we do even harder than it normally is. And I know that the young people and families that you serve are facing just as much complexity and uncertainty.
We have a lot of important work ahead of us and a scant few opportunities to celebrate and hold each other up while we do that work. That’s why I believe it is so important to grab those opportunities when they come along. I hope each of you will consider forwarding this email and spreading the word about BC Child and Youth in Care week. I hope you will be able to find a moment in your busy day—even if it’s just sharing a post on social media—to help us spread the message to our most vulnerable young people that we see them, that they matter, that we care for them and honour and respect who they are.