“I want to be an environmentalist!”

– announced by one of the little girls after visiting the bears

“This is the best day ever!”

Child while visiting the bears

“A lovely thing just happened… the kids were watching Madagascar 3 and they came running to tell me that a raccoon was going to rescue a bear from the circus because the bear was sad and being made to ride a bicycle. They then announced – bears don’t like being made to do tricks!”

Text received from a Carer

“When it was explained to the children that the bears couldn’t sleep when they felt scared and sad but as soon as they felt safe and secure, they were able to sleep. The children and the carers all completely related to this and drew parallels with their own circumstances.”

Lesley Winton, Project Manager

“When the children came to me they showed a mixture of fear and disregard towards animals, yesterday they were snuggling up to the Therapets.”

Foster mum

“I hung my Dreamcatcher up in my bedroom and my nightmares stopped!”

Child in Kinship care

“The children drew beautiful pictures after their visit to the sanctuary. They were captivated by the bears’ pool and waterfall as they themselves find water very relaxing and calming and can relate to how it makes the bears happy. They drew pictures after their visit. When our little boy first came to live with us, if he was drawing, he would take a black crayon and press really hard on the paper and just draw round and round in angry circles. We used to call these ‘tornados’ as they were the little boy expressing his anger. His drawings are now full of colour and imagination.”

Foster mum

“Because of our children’s circumstances they couldn’t be in school photos for fear of identification so they always felt singled out at school as ‘different’ for all the wrong reasons. After they went to visit the zoo both children told their teachers and classmates all about their trip to see the bears and the children now stand out because they were ‘extra special’ to be chosen for the trip much to the envy of their peers. They are now ‘different’ for good reasons.”

Foster mum

Q. Were there any memorable comments/feedback the children made or gave to you after each activity?

A. There was nothing after the activities. But Jack had a hamster which sadly died recently. To my amazement he was very very upset. Before taking part in this project I do not think that there would have been the same response. He is very guarded about his feelings but these activities must have had an impact. He has put his ‘Santa stop here’ sign beside where we have buried his hamster. So ‘Hammy knows Santa is coming’.

Comment from one family’s feedback form

“Yesterday was such a perfect day… we call these ‘memory days’. The day was so perfect for all of us and the kids are still talking about it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this – it couldn’t have been more perfect – it was magical.”

Foster mum

Q. In what way did the children being part of Fostering Compassion help you in the care of the children and as a family unit?

A. I think it helped us so much as a family. The children now both have a better understanding of what a family is all about and they both now understand how much they are loved and that we are never going to leave them or do anything to hurt them.

Feedback from a Kinship care grandmother

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