Raising six children in a blended family, Kathy and Ted Truscott of Marblehead could not imagine their kids growing up without parents or siblings.
That is partly why they got involved with Plummer Youth Promise, a Salem nonprofit that serves youth in — or at risk of entering — foster care through several programs, including family foster care, a group foster home and community apartments.
“It really resonated with us, the idea of a child not having a family,” Kathy Truscott told the Current. “Plummer is working with a segment of the population that’s often forgotten about. They’ve faced a lot of trauma in their young lives. Everybody needs a family. Everybody needs that one person who is going to be there for them.”
The Truscotts are leading a capital campaign to build a new residential facility on Winter Island, right behind Plummer’s original 1867 building, which has raised $13 million so far.
“These kids need this so badly,” Truscott said.
The new facility, which will cost approximately $17 million, features single bedrooms and bathrooms, along with a kitchen and an apartment where visiting family members can stay overnight and cook meals together. It will be home to between 40 and 50 youth each year.
“It’s going to be amazing,” Truscott said. “Our new campus will not only provide dignified living for youth in state care, but it will also serve as a powerful tool to propel them safely and quickly back to family by creating a trauma-informed environment that promotes healing and relationship building.”
‘Our opinions mattered’
Chris, 20, arrived at Plummer when he was 15 and lived in the group home. He now lives in an assisted apartment upstairs, which gives older youth more autonomy and privacy.
Chris worked with architects to help design the new building. He advocated for more living and common space, explaining that younger teens are more likely to want to hang out together and seek camaraderie. The architect immediately adjusted the plan to reflect Chris’ suggestion.
“I like that we were included in the process,” said Chris, who asked that his last name not be used. “Our opinions mattered, and they changed the design based on our feedback.”
He continued, “It will be a big upgrade over the building we have now. It will be more comfortable and have more privacy because people will have their own rooms. It will be more comfortable and homey for people.”
Once the new facility is complete, the plan is to renovate the older building and use it for administrative offices.
To learn more about Plummer, visit PlummerYouthPromise.org.