A community of support for children who need it most
By Taylor Shillam
Photo Courtesy of The Children's Village
The Children’s Village is a community home that provides safety, love and support for local children in crisis. The organization began with a promise: “I will build you a home to keep you safe.”
The promise was made in 1983 by a Coeur d’Alene principal to two siblings suffering from abuse. The Children’s Village opened seven years later and has since provided thousands of meals and nights of shelter to those who needed it most.
The Children’s Village is dedicated to providing a safe haven for children who have been removed from their homes either by law enforcement, the Department of Health and Welfare, or by the families themselves who cannot support the children through a time of crisis. The organization most often supports children whose families are experiencing a severe crisis, including domestic violence, substance abuse, a mental health emergency or homelessness.
The only licensed crisis nursery in North Idaho capable of serving infants from birth, the Children’s Village provides shelter and loving care to children of all ages. They offer nutritional meals and snacks, clothing, personal hygiene items, transportation and health support, along with activities designed to build children’s skill sets and self-confidence.
The Children’s Village owns two residential homes that operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They are also the only nonprofit children’s residential care facility in Kootenai County, the home of the only crisis nursery in North Idaho, and the only foster care facility capable of serving large sibling groups. Through community partnerships and support, they have been able to touch thousands of lives for over 30 years.
This July presents the opportunity for Coeur d’Alene community members to support the Children’s Village at their annual benefit auction. Thursday, July 15, the Children’s Village will host 400 of their friends and supporters, uniting to show the community’s children an outpouring of love.
“Our annual benefit auction is a summer night in the meadows right here at the Children’s Village,” stated acting CEO Vanessa Moos. “The sold-out event is our largest fundraiser of the year, to fund our services which include two 8,000-square-foot trauma-informed residential homes, and a Counseling and Education Center.”
In its statement to the community, the Children’s Village’s Annual Benefit Executive Committee recalled the impact the pandemic has had on the children they serve. As a residential home, the Children’s Village staff has a firsthand, around-the-clock perspective of what each child experiences.
“We have watched as their lives are bumped around with schools closed and in-person interactions limited,” the committee shared. “Children living with us have already experienced so much hardship in their lives.”
In unprecedented times, the need for the Children’s Village is greater than ever. The stability provided by the Children’s Village through daily home-cooked meals, warm beds to sleep in and a loving staff surrounding them with support has proven to be critical.
“In 2020, five children died in Idaho due to child abuse; no previous deaths had been reported since 2017,” Moos shared. “Pandemic-related financial, food and housing insecurities are growing rapidly in Kootenai County and surrounding areas. Children’s Village is working to ready and grow their partnerships and services for those in need.”
This year’s Children’s Village Live Auction and Silent Auction event is sold out to attend, but donations are being accepted online for those ready to offer support. The event’s committee hopes everyone in attendance can shout in unison, “We love you,” for the children living at the property to feel the love the community has for them.
The Children’s Village has grown over the decades to cover 15 acres with two homes and the Counseling and Education Center (CEC), where the organization can provide holistic therapeutic services, therapy, education and life skills training for families within the community.
Since the opening of the CEC in 2019, Children’s Village has hired a full-time residential therapist and continues to expand paraprofessional services to better cater to the emotional and mental well-being of the children they support.
The services offered by the Children’s Village have proven necessary to the children’s readiness to adapt and overcome difficult times. The organization looks forward to continued growth and the ability to expand on the selection of quality services they provide, thanks to the support of the Coeur d’Alene community.
Along with their annual fundraiser, the Children’s Village offers a variety of opportunities to get involved. They have a wide selection of volunteer positions, including event and fundraiser support, facility maintenance, and quality time spent with the children onsite. Their volunteer program is open, with full application details and their complete volunteer packet available online at TheChildrensVillage.org.
Those seeking additional opportunities to support the Children’s Village can donate through their website or opt to participate in their monthly giving program, Partners in Restoring Hope.
The Children’s Village is thankful for the ongoing support from the communities surrounding Coeur d’Alene, including other businesses in the area. Silverwood Theme Park recently auctioned off the first 10 spots to ride its newest roller coaster, the Stunt Pilot, with all proceeds directly benefiting the Children’s Village.
“The pandemic has been hard for us, both staff and resident children,” the organization stated. “Lots of changes, lots of unknowns, but we’re making it through because of you.”