Holiday drawings of a Christmas tree and a snowman created by Margari and Jayla from Great Oaks Village.

Great Oaks Village Campaign: Making Holiday Wishes Come True

Community & Services

Great Oaks Village (GOV), a residential foster group home for children, has been a safe-haven for kids ages 6 to 21 for nearly a century. The young residents are placed at GOV due to various forms of abuse, abandonment and neglect. Every year, the home’s Children and Family Services Board (through the Orange County Youth & Family Services Division), runs a holiday campaign, serving as steward for all donations.

The goal of the campaign, which began on November 11 and runs through January 13, is to provide a sense of normalcy for the children at the shelter, especially during the holiday season.

“We attempt to raise funds all year to provide things such as class pictures, class rings, field trips and clothing,” said Tracy Salem, Deputy Director, Orange County Community and Family Services, and Manager, Youth & Family Services, “but this is the ideal time of year to do a campaign because people tend to donate during the holidays, and holiday presents mean the world to these kids.”

Salem stressed that these children are part of our community, who have been made victims through no fault of their own. It is not easy being a foster child, so it is important they are made to feel special, and especially during the holidays.

“Nothing can replace a family, but we do our best by providing them with a loving and stress-free environment to live in despite their situations,” explained Salem. “There’s a void in their lives, and we do everything we can to fill this void.”

Great Oaks Village goes to great lengths to create a normal environment for the children living there. As such, the individuals on the board are the communication liaisons to the community. Some are foster care parents and others are counselors, so they use discretion in who they let know about campaigns.

“Our employees and board safely vet the process for us and bring in good, positive people who are donating for the good of the cause,” said Salem. “These contributions provide our kids with a holiday season to remember as well as educational and enrichment opportunities throughout the year, and we’re incredibly grateful for that.”

To become a holiday sponsor for a child living at Great Oaks Village, go to Great Oaks Village or call 407-836-8938. All donated funds are used for the health and welfare of the children.

Photo Caption: Holiday drawings of a Christmas tree and a snowman created by Margari and Jayla from Great Oaks Village.

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