New immigrant on mission for SOS

Barriere Lions Club member Frank Gordon

Barriere Lions Club member Frank Gordon

Tana Silverland immigrated to Canada in June, 2010, and almost immediately set out on a journey across Canada with her three wheel recumbent bicycle or “trike”.  Starting from Whitehorse, she has made her way through the Yukon, down the B.C. coast, up through the Interior of B.C., and on Thursday, Mar. 17, she paid a visit to Barriere.

Tana told the Star/Journal that for the past few months she has been traveling via bus, as the winter conditions make riding her “trike” rather burdensome, so for now she uses public transportation.

While Tana is travelling from town to town across the length and breadth of the country, she is asking people what they love about the place that they call home.  She would love to know what you think is special about Barriere, you can go to http://tanasilverland.wordpress.com, click on ‘The Place You Call Home’, and let her know.

From Barriere, Tana will make her way south to Hope, where she will pick up her “trike” and continue east towards the prairies, via pedal power.

While she hasn’t a favourite per se, there are several places that do stand out for her so far.  “I found Dawson City to be a very fascinating place,” Tana stated, “And I never thought I would really like a desert, but the area around Ashcroft has a real beauty of its own.”

The purpose behind this epic adventure is to spread the word about SOS Children’s Villages; an international charity that provides new homes and families for children who have no one else to care for them.

“Children need to be loved,” Tana said, “And SOS Children’s Villages understands this.  They not only make sure the children have a roof over their heads and good food, but they also look to the more intangible things – such as stability.”

She says the organization doesn’t spend much on advertising, though.  They operate on the principle guideline that asks: “What impact will this (whatever action they are contemplating) have on the children?”  Consequently, they aren’t much in the media – which is why Tana felt she needed to spread the word about this organization and the good work they do.

Tana commented that being single, young and healthy, helped her to decide that she could explore her new country and spread the word about the SOS Children’s Villages at the same time.

She notes that SOS does have a Canadian office, in Ontario, and also has one children’s village in Canada – right here in B.C., in the city of Surrey.

The mission of the children’s village is:

• To share our knowledge that countless British Columbia children face challenges every single day that no child in any country should have to endure; to hear and respect their voices;

• To engage the community in providing individual care and support for hurting and frightened children as young as newborns who must live in foster care;

• To enhance family function with flexible programming, in a collaborative, culturally sensitive and inclusive environment;

• To create a bridge to Community so these children and youth, who have already lost so much, regain a sense of trust and belonging;

• To strengthen families through building a supportive, autonomous SOS Village community with integrated services that can be broadly shared;

• To restore dignity and stability to vulnerable youth, equipping them for life and enabling them to transition to independence with skills, hopes and dreams.

Tana says she invites anyone who would like to help provide an orphan somewhere in the world with a place that they can call home, to visit the SOS Children’s Villages website (http://www.soschildrensvillages.ca) and click on ‘You Can Help’.