Around the country for happy children

Tana Silveland is on a two-and-a-half year journey to raise awareness for the SOS Children's Villages charity.

Tana Silverland and her trike Ranger enjoy the Rails to Trails path.

Tana Silverland and her trike Ranger enjoy the Rails to Trails path.

When somebody sets off on a two-and-a-half year journey, cycling across Canada, zig-zagging from one coast to the other, others might shake their heads in disbelief. Most will likely think this is the fulfillment of a life-long dream.

“There was never a dream of cycling across Canada or a grand plan,” admits Tana Silverland. “Originally, I just got the trike, because I wanted an environmentally friendly means of getting around.”

Silverland quickly noticed the amount of attention her three-wheeled bike was getting and thought to use it to raise awareness for a cause she is passionate about.

Thus motivated, Silverland set off in Whitehorse, Yukon last June, promoting the work of SOS Children’s Villages.Her tour stops in Creston, Cranbrook, Kimberley and the Elk Valley marked the end of the B.C. leg of her tour.

Silverland got to know the charity through volunteering at its office in her native England. The more she got to know their work, the more Silverland wanted to spread the word. In the process, she became a “Permanent Resident in Canada, without a permanent residence.”

Founded in Austria after the Second World War, SOS Children’s Villages today offers facilities in over 130 countries.

“The thing that speaks to me the most is the fact that the children they care for are cared for by a Mom, not a member of staff or a social worker,” Silverland explains. These moms provide the children not only with necessities such as food and clothing, but also with love, care, hugs and kisses.

Silverland says she was fortunate to grow up with loving parents and she knows it made a huge difference to her own life. “I feel passionate that every child in the world should have a chance to have that expression of love,” she adds.

One of the most inspiring tour stops in B.C. for Silverland was a visit to Canada’s SOS Children’s Village in Surrey. Many of the children there were affected by FASD or other issues and the SOS moms help them fulfill their potential despite all challenges.

Unlike other charity riders,Silverland is not asking for donations. She says her main focus is to raise awareness, so she talks to communtiy groups of any kind. Should people still wish to donate, Silverland points them to the charity’s website www.sos

childrensvillages.ca.

Silverland expects to reach her final destination, Cape Spear in Newfoundland in the fall of 2012. You can follow her journey at http://tanasil

verland.wordpress.com.