Retired chief helps vulnerable youth

CPO2 (Ret’d) Neil Laur, his wife Maggie, and their dog Daisy take a break from their daily activities to enjoy some chocolate chip cookies on their back porch.

CPO2 (Ret’d) Neil Laur, his wife Maggie, and their dog Daisy take a break from their daily activities to enjoy some chocolate chip cookies on their back porch.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

For the past 22 years a retired sailor and his wife have been opening their home to support vulnerable youth, and are encouraging others in the defence community to follow their lead.

“We believe every child deserves a second chance,” says CPO2 (Retired) Neil Laur. “They are all different, come from different communities, different family settings and have different cultures, but we welcome all of them with open arms as if they were our own.”

Before his retirement in 1998, Neil Laur enjoyed a 40-year career with the Royal Canadian Navy as an electrician working at CFB Halifax and later CFB Esquimalt. Towards the end of his career, he and his wife Maggie decided to become a Care Family for the Boys and Girls Club Services of Greater Victoria.

Since then they have provided over 85 youth between the ages of 13 and 19 with safe refuge, a comfortable bedroom, warm meals, and a stable family environment.
“We don’t mind being called ‘Grandma’ and Grandpa’,” says Maggie.

She says fresh-baked cookies, greetings from their dog Daisy, and a loving environment all serve as excellent ice breakers for newly arriving guests at their home on a quiet street in suburban View Royal.

The Laur family are currently enrolled in the Boys and Girls Club’s Full Time Attendance  Program, which focusses on assisting male youths on probation, who normally come from communities outside the Greater Victoria area.

Temporary family members are required to help with the household chores such as washing dishes, folding clothes, and cleaning their rooms.

Household rules also include no swearing “unless it happens when we are playing cards,” says Neil. He encourages face-to-face social activities such as cards.

Debi O’Boyle, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Victoria Manager of Quality Assurance, says the Laurs are not only their longest serving family, but also among their best.

“They do the most important things very well and provide top-notch care and always ensure their house is warm and inviting,” says O’Boyle. “They are wonderful care givers and their longevity with us is remarkable.”

The Laurs have made many long-lasting friendships over the years. Maggie says one of her happiest moments is getting a Mother’s Day or Christmas card from a former guest, or hearing an update on their life.

There is also financial compensation for families participating in the Full Time Attendance Program. Care Families can earn up to $2,800 per month when a youth is being hosted, funded by the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family.

Before acceptance into the program, applicants participate in a homestudy, and get a thorough background check and criminal-record sweep by the RCMP. Care Family members must be in the house when a youth is in their home.

The program is designed to keep youth active and out of trouble by being in a supportive home, attending a school program, and after-school and weekend programs run by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Victoria.

O’Boyle says military members are a perfect fit for the Full Time Attendance Program because they understand the value of hard work, discipline and structure in life.
More information on programs offered by The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Victoria can be found on their website:

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  1. Suzy says:

    I lived with Maggie and Neil in 2001 for just under a year and its a time i absolutely could never forget. Maggie took a lot of pride in her cooking and i definitely have never forgotten her homemade choco chip cookies and choco chip muffins lol. I was just thinking of them today and decided to google their names and i thankfully came across this. I dont have one unpleasant memory of living in their home. Maggie once said that all i ever needed was “some tender love and care” and proceeded to give me one of her big hugs when i was having a bad day. Ill always remember that time of my life and think of it with a smile on my face. I hope to get in contact with them one day soon as they are definitely people with the biggest hearts and people u can never forget 💌

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