Verve’s Armed Forces Ambassador Claire Marie Street and I reflect fondly on the past recruitment events we have held with pride. Claire was a Director of the Salford Veterans Breakfast Club; therefore, we and others regularly lunched up to raise money for Xmas hampers.
They were days of fun within the Armed Forces community because the Armed Forces family is a community from which we belong. I also had another reason to be there; I know so many Armed Forces veterans who have left the forces and become Foster carers, and they are amazing.
Our Recruitment events usually meant holding tombola’s and raffles; they were a way of raising much-needed funds to keep the Breakfast Club going and raise the money we needed to create hampers at Christmas time.
We gave out these hampers to Armed Forces Veterans who often lived alone, and many were vulnerable; however, they were part of our family, and we want to make sure they have the best. Claire’s sister Helen is a master baker, the cakes she makes are exquisite, and often Helen would bake for days to prepare cakes we could sell to raise funds.
Helen never asks for a penny towards the cost of baking cakes; she buys everything and does it because she loves the Veterans. Thus, to many, Helen is a legend, her kindness of heart is beautiful, and her compassion makes her a much-loved member of the team.
Being a part of the club makes you feel you belong.
The feeling of belonging is one of the strongest in the world. You feel you have a sense of purpose; you feel included and wanted and valued. All of these are inherent feelings towards being happy, and it is these feelings that make outstanding foster carers.
Sadly, for many children in care, they have never had these feelings, and for many in the Armed Forces, Army life was usually the first place they ever felt they belonged and encountered these feelings.
Verve recruits foster carers for the Not for Profit sector, and fostering is not an easy job. It takes time, patience and an inherent understanding of why children behave the way they do.
Many children in care have often suffered trauma and abuse; subsequently, they don’t want a cuddle. They need someone to focus on them and, with steely determination, to help them move to a positive future.
Children in care need stability, boundaries and respect.
Many Armed Force Veterans have become Foster parents to vulnerable children in our communities; they give children stability in a safe and loving home when needed the most. When asked what their motivation was for fostering, they often reply, we want to give something back. There is a feeling of being blessed because they gained something they never had before; they were a part of the Armed Forces family.
This stability in a strict setting gave many a sense of belonging; they were all equal, and friendships replaced family for the first time in their lives. More importantly, it might be the first time you were treated with respect; this is invaluable if you have suffered abuse and trauma.
We made friendships that last lifetimes, and you have a depth of feeling because you care about each other, which ultimately gives you security. This experience explains why many Armed Forces Veterans are amazing foster parents; they have empathy based on their own lives.
It also explains why consistency of rules and boundaries is vital for children, especially those who never had them before. Strangely, the Armed Forces are the harshest training ground, yet it is, for many, the one most fondly remembered!
Many Veterans faced trauma as children or in care themselves.
Many Armed Forces veterans were themselves in care as children, and I know many people who joined the Armed Forces to get away from difficult home life.
Thus, many who have served in the Forces found strong friendships, often with peers and those you least expected. Many of these friendships stay throughout their lives and have positively impacted their futures.
Indeed, it is true that the ones we didn’t like most inevitable became the mentor who influenced us the most. Consequently, when we reflect on them, we remember them with pride. These people with the rules gave the boundaries we had to obey, and the instinct was to rebel. However, at war, that is not an option. Therefore, you learned to work together within these rules, and thus, you conquered.
Children in care need rules to feel safe.
For many children in care, the rules of life are different. They do not have the family they need, and for many, home life has not been an easy start; thus, they do not trust easy. These children need boundaries and support to give them focus; often, they have never had structure before and adapt to it well.
Indeed, many children find great comfort from structure and routine; ultimately, they enjoy knowing that we reward them for doing good.
And this is why you will find Verve pitched up at the Armed Forces events; because we, too, and our families have served. Thus, we know the benefits of structure in our lives.
The recruitment events are a way to say ‘Thank You’ to Veterans and their families in our communities for what they have sacrificed to keep us safe. More importantly, these events enable us to raise funds to support the Salford Veterans Breakfast Club CIC to keep the Club going; the Club has raised funds to provide Xmas hampers for veterans living alone.
As a result, they bring seasonal cheer to our Armed Forces Veterans and is a way we too can say, Thank you.
We say ‘Thank you to the dedication of the incredible men and women that manage and support Breakfast clubs everywhere; and finally, a huge thank you to those who decided to become foster carers. Your support makes a massive difference in these children’s lives. You give these children a future that quite simply, without you, would be very different. Thank you.
Can you foster?
If you would like information on fostering a child in your community, please get in touch. Verve only recruits on behalf of Not for Profit charities; companies should not profit from vulnerable children. If you would like to have a chat, fill the form in, and I’ll give you a call. Together, we can make a difference in vulnerable children’s lives.
Alternatively, if you would like details of The Breakfast Club and the Salford Veterans Community Centre, soon to be opened, and the services they provide, please get in touch.
COVID19 may have stopped us from getting out there and recruiting, but we won’t stop. After all, we learned this from the peers we adore, our Armed Forces Veterans. Stay Safe!
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- The Veterans Hub, Leigh, CIC, & Re-Engage are the inspiration for change.