AUGUSTA, G.A. (WJBF) — A non-profit is working towards building a tiny home community in Georgia for teens aging out of the foster care system.
The transition from childhood to adulthood is difficult even for teens under the best circumstances. The Bridge Builder program is a bridge for those kids as they enter adulthood.
Jackson Drumgoole from Drumgoole Family Initiatives is behind the project.
The community would offer resources like financial planning, help entering school and help entering the workforce. Drumgoole said that without programs like these, many teens aging out of foster care in Augusta, Georgia could end up homeless or worse.
“70% to 77% come through the sex trafficking ring. About 30% to 50% of these youth are homeless by the time they leave foster care which, again, is dismal,” Drumgoole said in a statement.
His tiny home community will create affordable housing and include a community center with community-building activities, such as cooking lessons.
It’s meant to be a short-term option for kids to bridge the 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 cyberspace, but listen. All I care about is learning how to drive. That’s success for me,” Drumgoole said. “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 Jermaine Whirl, President of Augusta Tech, as a champion for their cause, since their first discussion was to ensure that the youth enrolled in the housing program will 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 including Goodwill, United Way, Local banks, the 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 break ground on the community in January 2023. He aims to have the community open by April 2023.
If you would like to make a donation towards the project, visit the Drumgoole Family Initiatives website.