Transitional home move-in ready for first former foster child

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DRIFTWOOD, Texas (KXAN) — In March, KXAN reported on a Texas non-profit building hope for foster care boys once they age out of the system.

On Saturday, the Burke Center for Youth, a treatment center for abused and neglected boys, held a ribbon cutting and a housewarming party at their first transitional home in Driftwood.

It was built from the ground up thanks to hundreds of donors, and provides a safe place for boys to live after they turn 18.

“It’s truly amazing because when you’re in CPS, when you turn 18 it’s very difficult to actually get a place to stay,” said Shannon Fisk who turned 18 in April.

He is the first person to move in, and took KXAN on a tour of his new home Saturday after the ribbon cutting.

“It’s been a big secret,” said Fisk. “This is my room. Wow. It’s beautiful. You know, growing up I never had my own room so this is something amazing.”

Fisk grew up in an abusive home, and entered the foster care system around the age of 14. He’s been at the Burke Center for Youth for the last three years.

He is the first of four who will live in the new home while working and taking classes at Austin Community College.

Rosemary Campise was also on hand for the big day. She founded the Burke Center for abused and neglected boys on her family’s farm 44 years ago.

“The state called them failures,” said Campise. “They just couldn’t bond, could make it in school.”

But she saw their potential to succeed.

“They said, ‘Why do you want to work with those kind of kids?’ Somebody needs to. ‘You really like ’em don’t ya Rosemary?’ I love ’em, yeah, and they know it.”

Fisk knows if it wasn’t for Campise he may not have ended up in such a positive place in life. She and others have helped teach him tools to live on his own, like how to cook and clean.

“They’ve helped me through all my struggles, and really they’ve just been there for me,” said Fisk.

Volunteer Jimmy Winkler who drew out the plans for the home five years ago on a cocktail napkin says there is a lot more planned for the site.

Donations are being collected for a chapel, a gym, and another house that can house four more young men.

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