Sierra Martin | Managing Editor
The Burke Center for Youth, located in Driftwood, Texas, is a residential treatment home for foster boys between eleven and seventeen. In June, the Burke Center will be completing a $3.1 million dorm to house the foster boys, which will be the only Texas foster facility where each boy has their own room.
The Burke Center has helped thousands of abused and neglected foster children since its opening in 1973, and after the completion of the new dorm, they can increase their numbers from 21 to 30 boys.
Their programs are focused on helping their residents achieve skills, experience and expertise in various areas while allowing them to experience a childhood they never had. Some of the many programs include guitar lessons, woodshop, fly fishing, auto hobby, culinary arts and equine therapy.
The facility called “Pathfinders Ranch” is built on a 55-acre ranch in Driftwood and has about 20 people a day coming and going from direct care staff, teachers, administrative/ supportive staff, therapists, volunteers and mentors.
Steven Fournier, Executive Director of the Burke Center, says that the best part of his day is breakfast and lunch when he can leave his office and spend time with the boys. Fournier advocates for more families to consider fostering and adopting so the boys at the Burke Center can find a home and family of their own.
“It’s important more so than ever with COVID-19 and people being afraid of bringing kids into their homes that we really, really, really push fostering and adopting,” said Fournier. “Because we’re helping the boys to get re-centered and giving them the tools they need to succeed. But if they don’t have a place to go because they have no family or no family but they can actually rely on, then it’s essential that there are very caring and giving people out there who open up their homes and their hearts to these boys.”
The Burke Center for Youth has a Child Placement Agency with offices throughout Texas along with Pathfinders Ranch. The agency finds placements for around 70 children, girls and boys from birth to 18-years-old and have between 30-40 foster families.
“Have people open up their hearts to fostering and to adopt,” said Fournier. “No matter which organization they help or how they can make a difference. These kids really do need their help, especially in these times.”
More information on volunteering, mentoring, fostering and adopting can be found on the Burke Center for Youth’s website.