SSI welcomed and thanked the Vietnamese Students Association (VSA) last month, whose members came along to personally donate $12,000 they raised for children supported by SSI’s Multicultural Foster Care Service (MFCS).
The MFCS is a provider of out-of-home care services specifically for children and young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Guided by bilingual staff, SSI helps these children to stay connected with the language, culture and religion of their birth family, which strengthens their fostering experience and helps if they are restored to their parents.
Ghassan Noujaim, SSI Out of Home Care Manager, welcomed the attendees and thanked the VSA for their involvement in the program.
“We are here today to celebrate the great effort and commitment made by the VSA, whose successful donation will be fully spent in a significant and long-term benefit for the children who are in the MFCS,” Mr Noujaim said.
Stephen O’Neill, SSI ExecutiveManagerFamilies & Inclusion, presented the VSA with a framed painting of one of the children to recognise their generous donation to the MFCS team.
The funds, which were gathered at a fundraising dinner in Canley Heights last September, were distributed in $100 vouchers to be used at Dymocks bookshop among all the children and young people in out-of-home care.
“We are happy with how thoughtfully and creatively SSI has spent our donation,” said Justin Truong, president of the VSA. “Personally, education has provided me with a set of skills that have opened the doors to my future. I hope this gift helps these children here to grow up to be great community leaders.”
VSA NSW is a not-for-profit organisation comprising nearly 2,000 students from five different universities. Its members aspire to develop their skillsets and networks, both professionally and personally, by engaging in social participation through community, cultural, leadership and social activities.
The idea to raise money for children in foster care came from one of the VSA members, Richard Huynh, who has had two foster siblings at home for the last five years. Aware of the usual needs of kids placed in out-of-home care, Richard suggested the idea of raising funds to his VSA peers.They quickly agreed and began to organise the fundraising events.
“We are thrilled to be here today and be able to engage with the ultimate beneficiaries of the donation,” Mr Huynh said.
The celebration ended with MFCS staff handing out toys and t-shirts for the kids, who headed home tired after a long but fun day, happy with all their presents.
Their carers were also recognised by SSI staff with gifts of aromacandles, hand made by participants of SSI Employment Services.
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