Fostering Bulloch received a $21,000 boost to its efforts to help foster children transition to adulthood.
Leadership Bulloch's Class of 2014 presented a check for that amount to Fostering Bulloch during a brief ceremony Tuesday morning on the steps of the Bulloch County Courthouse.
The money donated began as a class project for this year's class. To raise the money for Fostering Bulloch, Leadership Bulloch acquired bricks from the former Snooky's restaurant. The class cleaned the bricks as well as adding a signature plaque.
"The project is a class project, they decide on their own as a group what project in the community they want to participate in or attack," said Brian Cartee, the chairman of Leadership Bulloch.
The iconic Statesboro restaurant closed in 2012 and was demolished to make way for the Verizon retail store that opened last year.
"We designed the plaque and Bruce Yawn (owner of Snooky's) signed the plaque so it could make it more authentic," Cartee said. "We thought that would be a drawing card, since Snooky's was no longer here and everybody wanted to be a part of that."
The unique remembrance of Snooky's allows local business leaders and residents the opportunity to have a little piece of history from the legendary restaurant.
Chris Yaughn, the director of Fostering Bulloch, was behind the idea of selling the bricks. He and a partner originally came across the bricks and decided to hold onto them, hoping that one day they could somehow benefit the community.
"Back when they were doing the remodel work turning Snooky's into Verizon,
we contacted Jamey Cartee, who is the general contractor, and secured some of the bricks that were slated for the landfill, and just kind of sat on them figuring that one day an opportunity would present itself to reconnect those bricks with a positive endeavor in Bulloch County," Yaughn said.
Leadership Bulloch chose Fostering Bulloch for its high financial need.
"The funds raised by Leadership Bulloch for this project are committed to a brick-and-mortar footprint to aid Fostering Bulloch in developing a transition living program for youth aging out of foster care or in DJJ (Department of Juvenile Justice) in Georgia," Yaughn said. "Surrounding counties will benefit; as well Bulloch County will benefit."
In total, 42 bricks were sold for $500 each, and extra donations were made.
Fostering Bulloch will use the money for the development of a transition program for people who are too old to remain in foster care.
"When you age out of the system at 18, you don't get a lot of support," Yaughn said. "There are programs, but you've got to be able to convince that kid to sign himself back in, or to submit himself to more state oversight and to do that, it requires a very special program. And we think we have the capacity to develop that."
As well as Leadership Bulloch, Yaughn credited Yawn for the success of the campaign.
"We hope to one day be able to very publicly thank Mr. Bruce for not only this, but for everything they have done," Yaughn said. "They are a tremendous asset to our community. We just appreciate Leadership Bulloch thinking enough of our kids to involve us in the project."