CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — About a mile down the street from London Elementary School is a new home.
You might say "what is newsworthy about a new home being built out there?"
Well, the home, and the community that will be built around it, are being built FOR and WITH a purpose.
Shannon Murphy who works in community relations for Agape Ranch walks into the home and says "welcome to the first foster family home at The Ranch."
This first home is part of a big dream.
Of a community for foster children and foster parents.
"Vulnerable children will have unconditional love here," says Murphy.
"They're vulnerable," she adds, "because they are being taken out of their home that they know, and (are) being put in with families that they've just met and they need to be safe."
The idea of this Agape Ranch community came from Susan and Tim Klaus who were foster parents.
As foster parents, they saw that there's a desperate need for a foster community that can not only nourishes foster siblings but also keeps them together.
And for foster parents to have support so they don’t burnout.
The dream is to have up to 24 homes, a community center, and playgrounds.
All in one neighborhood.
This first home will be ready to move in by this summer.
"Everybody here is going to be certified with CPR and first aid and have background checks," Murphy said. "That's one of the beautiful things about this neighborhood.
"You could have your neighbor across the street able to watch the children. You can have the respite care providers, two houses over, watch the children, and just based on the need we're going to have homes in this neighborhood for youth that have aged out of foster care," says Murphy.
Youth like Tayneshea Tucker who became homeless the moment she turned 18 years old, was no longer a guardian of the state and was still in high school.
"I turned 18 in December," Tucker said. "I still had half of a semester left, so after that I was homeless."
The statistics on foster kids who have aged of out the system are grim.
Ninety percent of them end up being sex trafficked, homeless, in prostitution, on drugs or abusing alcohol or dead within three years of exiting the foster system.
But Tay is beating those odds.
"I feel like I've been in a lot of situations a lot of many times," she says. "I didn't have the best childhood, so I've learned how to cope and adapt."
Tay is now 20 and a sophomore at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. She's studying psychology and working part-time.
Her input is helping Agape Ranch create a mentorship program for those kids who are getting ready to age out and already have…and mentor them in the path that lies forward.
"They will have mentors holding their hand and supporting them so they can succeed," says Shannon Murphy.
The second home on The Ranch will be for youth who are aging out of the foster system. And to help raise funds for that home there will be a 5K and 10K event at 8 a.m. Saturday March 20 at Heritage Park.
Click on the link below to register:
There are also different ways that you can get involved with Agape Ranch.
Click the link below for that information: