March 10 2004
The Duchess of York visits the SOS Children's Village in Florida
10/03/2004 - Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, took time to tour the premises of the SOS Children's Village in Coconut Creek, Florida, and hold one-to-one conversations with the children in the organisation's care.
The children at Coconut Creek greeted Sarah Ferguson with a painted sign reading "Welcome Duchess." During her two-hour visit, she toured the children's village with the organisation's Florida Executive Director Margie Bruszer and USA Executive Director Christopher Zappia.
The Duchess took time to personally shake hands with all of the children and their SOS mothers, and exchange a few words with them. She told one child: "I've come here today to get everyone to give lots of money so we can build more places like this so we can help more children."
After the tour, the Duchess made a speech to Florida donors and founders before engaging in a photo shooting session and speaking with media representatives.
"There isn't another place I know of in the United States of America that provides this kind of attention for children who, really, have been through so very, very much," the Duchess said. "SOS Children's Villages provides the permanency, the support, the ability for these children to be able to take their shoes off and really kick back and learn about healing and learn about their lives."
The SOS Children's Village USA Association was established in 1961 with the initial purpose of raising funds for the international work of SOS Children's Villages International. In 1993, two SOS Children's Villages were inaugurated in the USA in Coconut Creek, Florida and Lockport, southeast of Chicago, Illinois.