Founded in 1979, the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada is a national charity focused on improving the lives of vulnerable children in Canada. The Foundation strategically raises and grants funds and develops programs that are delivered in partnership with 74 child- and youth-serving agencies across the country, with the goal of reaching the unique and diverse population of children and young people involved in child welfare.
Being on the board and a member of the Scholarship committee, I am thrilled to be a part of an organization that is dedicated to helping children in need.
I agree that it has never been more pressing to find solutions to the issues that many of these kids face, such as child poverty, homelessness and abuse and neglect. Together, we are working to remove the barriers that limit the potential of these children, while providing access to the opportunities they need to become contributing members of society.
On September 11th, I was honored to attend the Foundation’s annual Stand Up for Kids Night at Koerner Hall. The annual event is organized to honour the resiliency, achievements, impact and commitment of the bright and deserving young people we support, along with the extraordinary Canadians who have made a mark on the child welfare landscape.
During this year’s event, I was thrilled to meet Samidha Singhal, a girl who has worked so hard to defeat the odds stacked against her in life.
Born and raised in India, Samidha’s life changed forever when her mother passed away when she was only seven. She immigrated to Canada with her family at 12, but after such devastating loss and adjustment to a new country, her father was unable to provide parental support and care. As a result, Samidha entered foster care, moving from school to school and home to home.
Despite these challenges, she promised herself she would continue to keep moving forward. Samidha has made the choice to persevere and advocate for current and former children and youth in foster care and has joined the Foundation’s youth council and ambassador teams to raise awareness, to ensure there’s adequate support, to pay it forward, and, most of all, to stand by those who feel that they are alone.
In talking to Samidha, I got to know a bright, motivated and optimistic young woman who is currently completing a summer internship at CIBC. She is studying at McMaster University for a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce, with a minor in sustainability. In addition to advocating for changes to the foster care system, she is passionate about environmental and economic sustainability, healthy active living and education in under-developed countries. She aspires to be an entrepreneur and use her degree to make our world a better place.
Samidha was this year’s Stand Up for Kids Night recipient of the 2019-2020 Sean St. John Scholarship, and I couldn’t be more honored or proud to support her on her journey for higher education.
There are nearly 67,000 children and youth living in foster placements across Canada. Please consider being a part of their success by donating to Children’s Aid Foundation. https://www.cafdn.org/ways-to-give
-Sean St. John