Virlanie Foundation, an organization that provides a holistic social welfare program for disadvantaged youth in the country, recognizes the role of house parents in shaping children’s development. Considering them as the “backbone of Virlanie,” the foundation highlights the contributions of these social workers.
A House Parent’s Love
One of the Masaya Home’s houseparents, Mama Sarah, has been working in Virlanie for 21 years. She started when she was 28 years old, caring for four to six-year-olds back in 1999 at the Marco Polo Care Center. Prior to this, she had an on-the-job training working with young women under Virlanie’s care.
Sharing her memorable moments with the kids, Mama Sarah zeroed in on one experience when she was accompanying the children on a tour and at one point, she tripped and fell to the ground head first.
“I was teary-eyed at that moment because I thought, with their age, six to 12 years old, they will definitely go and enjoy playing first, than going back for me, but instead of taking their time to just play around, they all went back to help me.
“You can always feel that they wanted to repay the love that you give to them,” she said.
Recalling Mother’s Day celebrations, Mama Sarah mentioned that the children always prepare something for them, such as greeting cards.
She shared, “I still remember Jordan. When he was already reintegrated outside, he, along with some other ex-beneficiaries, came back and prepared a program for us. They surprised us with heartfelt messages.”
Loving beyond measure is what Mama Sarah learned from the children she cares for. “They have so much to give. I can recall a moment when I got sick, and a child that was not so expressive came to me and told me that whenever I need her assistance, she will be there.
“They will not say the words ‘I love you’, but they will always make you feel that they are also there for you,” she shared.
The Backbone of Virlanie
Each home under Virlanie Foundation’s Residential Pillar has house parents and social workers who are present 24/7 to provide the youth’s basic needs. They make sure that the kids feel protected, taken care of, and loved.
For the younger kids, house parents teach basic household chores and promote play-based educational activities at home. For the teens, they promote pursuing interests, as the young men and women go through livelihood training programs, learning how to bake or sew.
Social workers handle cases of reunification with relatives, adoption, or foster care. They also decide when a child needs to stay in Virlanie Home for independent living or long-term care.
Equipping them with knowledge and skills, Virlanie Foundation initiates a range of training programs for house parents and social workers. This covers child protection mechanisms, proper nutrition, teen parenting, and more.
Loving Home Environment
Virlanie Foundation’s Residential Pillar consists of eight homes, catering to different child ages and needs. Through the Cherish-a-Home initiative, Lamudi Philippines has partnered with the foundation to help improve the quality of life of children in these residences.
The foundation’s Cluster 1 shelters babies and young children. Created in 2013, the Babies and Toddlers Home accommodates those aged 0-4 years old. Marco Polo Care Center, on the other hand, houses boys and girls aged four to six.
Masaya Home and Tanglaw Home, meanwhile, caters to young kids aged seven to 12. The former opened in 1995, while the latter in 1993.
Cluster 2 is the home for young adults. Elizabeth Home houses ladies who experienced physical and/or sexual abuse. Its counterpart, which caters to teenage boys, is Ella Yallah Home. In both shelters, the young adults go through the Independent Living Program in preparation for their life outside Virlanie.
Virlanie Foundation has homes for children with special needs as well. Cluster 3 features Aime Home and Jade Home. The former opened in 2006, while the latter in 1995.
As much as the foundation recognizes the efforts of house parents and social workers providing a loving home to kids, they also acknowledge the role of donors who have played a big role in maintaining the shelters.
For those who are interested in donating to the cause of Virlanie Foundation, they can participate through the Cherish-a-Home initiative with Lamudi, signing this in-kind donation form.