Abbott House celebrates opening of Therapeutic Foster Home in Rapid City
The Abbott House celebrated the opening of its Vyas West Therapeutic Foster Home Tuesday in Rapid City.
The home is part of the Bridges Therapeutic Program, which provides residential housing for foster children from the Abbott House, a private charity that provides housing and treatment for South Dakota foster kids between the ages of 7 and 23.
The Vyas West Home houses six boys from ages 7 to 17 along with foster parents who care for them. The home also encompasses four apartments as part of the Bridges Independent Living Program, which serves 18- to 23-year-olds as they transition out of foster care and into adulthood.
“The Bridges Program is really about the relationships that these kids will build with adults in their lives that they will remember forever,” said Eric Klooz, Abbott House executive director. “This has really been a dream come true for us.”
The Abbott House partnered with Scull Construction to build the facility and with many other community organizations — including the Vucurevich Foundation and the Black Hills Area Community Foundation — to fund the project.
Klooz said “Mentors are one of the best things we could have, just people that want to get involved for probably a longer period of time with the kids, check in with them, maybe help them get a job, maybe take them to supper, you know all those types of things, just to be there."
Inspire, a 2013 Harley Davidson Road King, was unveiled at the ceremony. Twenty-four youth from Bridges Foster Homes helped redesign the bike in partnership with Blackout Industries and Black Hills Harley Davidson. This is part of the Build Abbott program, which encourages foster children to rebuild bikes as they change their lives.
“We’ve built a lot of motorcycles in our time, but I don’t think we’ve ever been as emotionally attached to a bike as we have been to these two wheels,” said Blackout Industries co-owner Katie Washnok. “It’s been the privilege of a lifetime to get to work with these kids and to build this bike.”
The bike will be sold by raffle and tickets are still available.