AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- A non-profit is working toward building a tiny homes community in Augusta for teens aging out of the foster care system.
The transition from childhood to adulthood is difficult for teens under the best circumstances. The Bridge Builder program is a bridge for those kids as they enter adult hood.
Jackson DrumGoole with Drumgoole Family Initiative is behind the project.
It would offer resources like financial planning and help entering school or the work force. He said without programs like these, many teens aging out of foster care end up homeless or worse.
“Augusta is about 70 to 77 percent– 70 to 77 percent come through the sex trafficking ring. About 30 to 50 percent of these youth are homeless by the time they leave foster care which, again, is dismal,” said Drumgoole.
His tiny homes community will create affordable housing and include a community center with community building activities like cooking lessons.
It’s meant to be a short term option for kids to bridge that gap between childhood and adulthood.
“When the youth come in and say listen, I know Jackson, I know you want me to get a degree in engineering. I know you want me to go into cyber space, but listen. All I care about is learning how to drive. That’s success for me,” Drumgoole explained. “And so I have to let that go and say you know what? You’re absolutely right. What’s success for you is learning how to cook your own meals, learning how to manage your checkbook, learning how to manage your household, and being able to just take care of yourself when you leave our organization.”
Droomgoole credits Dr. Jermaine Whirl, President of Augusta Tech, as a champion for their cause since their first discussion to ensure that the youth enrolled in the housing program benefit from the myriad of programs available at the school with little to no cost.
The Bridge Builder Leadership Academy will partner with community organizations like GoodWill, United Way, Local banks, Department of Labor, The Purpose Center, Serenity Mental Health, and others to provide the needed wrap-around services for this population.
Drumgoole said they hope to have land and break ground on the community in January–then be to open in April.
If you would like to make a donation toward the project CLICK HERE.