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Foster Parent(s) of the Year Award – 2015 – Claire and Richard Bourgon

Claire and Richard are passionate people dedicated to their role as foster parents and have a warm heart.  During the past 18 years they have welcomed many children, teenagers and adults into their home.  They guide our youths, act as mentors, and care for the physical, mental and intellectual well-being of our youth.  They have greeted a multitude of young people and adults with different diagnosis of impairment, hyperactivity and autism just to name a few.

They encourage natural family contacts, and community integration.  They are involved in the community, and encourage our young people to do the same by inspiring them to participate in community festivals, and to volunteer for the Scouts in their area.

It is also with the involvement of our youth and adults in the community that they develop a sense of belonging and friendship network.  Claire is also a PRIDE trainer, and is a great mentor for those who are starting their journey as foster or adoptive parents.

They have also welcomed the son of one of their adults in placement for visits, once a month for a period of a few days to a full week.  The family receives no financial compensation during visits or transport, food or clothing for the child.  They do this out of love for the adult, and his son.  They respect Court Agreements and act as a mentor.  They continue to teach parenting techniques and provide supervision during visits.  For them, allowing the father and his child to develop and maintain a relationship is more important than anything.  Belonging to a family is the anchor we all deserve to have and to experience.

Claire and Richard always see the positive side of things.  They can identify the hidden gem within each young adult, and have a special skill to make it shine for all to see.  This allows everyone to see that our youths are just like any other.  They have a heart; they experience sorrows, and have dreams.  With their help they accomplish great successes and have stability in their lives.

Last spring Claire started her battle with cancer, and with her strength, family support and the support from their children and adults who love her dearly, Claire had surgery and has started her treatment on the road to recovery, this family did not ask for placement disruption.  They remained a united family, living and fighting this difficult battle together, as any family should.  It is easy to see how these parents fill our children with compassion, love and caring as they are offering it back to them without selfishness during this moment.

They do not judge, they simply love.  We would like to thank them for their patience, and their unconditional love.