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Local foster parents honoured

by Kelly Waterhouse

ARISS - Family and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County (FCS) hosted a dinner on Oct. 18 to honour foster families throughout the region.

The event was held at the Ariss Valley Golf and Country Club and coincided with National Foster Family Week, which is celebrated across Canada from Oct. 17 to 23.

The purpose is to recognize the dedication and commitment of people who take foster children and youths into their homes and also to thank families for help in either emergency or long-term care.

“We get the chance to work with these people a lot, but we don’t often get the opportunity to truly honour the recognition of these amazing families,” said Kirk Jenkins, resource worker with FCS.

“Tonight we get to do this properly, and when we hear the grown foster children speak of what these foster parents have done for them, it is really moving. These foster families are incredible.”

The evening included presentations honouring many years of service for individuals such as Cathie and John Ridgeway, who, along with their son, Jamie, have fostered children for 30 years, and also Shelley and Terry Halls, who have been foster parents for 20 years. 

Susan and Phillip Moore were recognized for 25 years as foster parents, and raising their own children alongside their foster children to build a family.

For them, the highlight of the evening was when their now-adult foster child, Jennifer Desrochers, spoke of what the family means to her.

“It’s not the awards that matter,” said Susan Moore. “But when our Jennifer got up to speak, and we realized that we’ve always stuck by her and she’s always stuck by us, that’s when you realize tonight was a celebration of her success, too.  And that’s important.”

Ann and David Clark shared their 15th year honours alongside Sherri MacIntyre, and each of them said they love what they do and don’t need any special accolades.

“I appreciate the privilege of having cared for all the great children I’ve had in my home,” said MacIntyre.

“It’s nice to be recognized,” added Ann Clark. “But really, it’s just what we do and we don’t see it as all that different than what anybody else does.” Her husband Dave agreed.

“This is the place where you hear that you’re appreciated, and it’s good to hear,” Dave said.

Brenda and Charlie Albert, Lisa Stahlbaum, Danika and Jame Brown, Lesleigh Hunter and Glenn Martin, and Helena Rooyakkers were recognized for ten years of providing foster care.

Jan and Mike Bayton, Philip Brace, Jackie Cribb, Linda Hepburn, Patricia Hotsonyame and Lori McDonnell were recognized for five years of service.

Also recognized were 17 new foster parents.


October 21, 2011


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