Family Of Adam Toledo Announces Plans For Adam’s Place, A Rural Escape For At-Risk Youth – CBS Chicago
CHICAGO (CBS) – The Chicago police shooting that killed 13-year-old Adam Toledo in March sparked calls for a new Feet Persecution Policy announced on Wednesday.
By now, Wednesday would have been Adam’s 14th birthday.
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CBS 2’s Tara Molina spoke to Adam’s family about what could be a lifeline for other kids like him. Following the example of the Boys Farm in South Carolina, plans are underway for a retreat called Adam’s Place to help vulnerable children from Chicago escape into the countryside.
“The family wants something good to come of this terrible event,” said Toledo family lawyer Adeena Weiss Ortiz.
To that end, she said, Adam’s Place is “designed solely to help other families like yours give Chicago youth an alternative lifestyle to city life.”
The Toledo family and their attorney announced plans for the nonprofit in front of the brand new mural in honor of Adam in Little Village. His mother couldn’t bring herself to read her prepared statement.
“We can try to help other families protect their sons from the temptations that brought Adam to the streets that night,” Ortiz said.
Adam’s sister Esmeralda Toledo spoke publicly for the first time on Wednesday.
“He deserves the chance to make mistakes and learn from them,” she said.
Adam’s Place is still in its earliest stages. The model for this, the Boys Farm, is 777 miles away in Newberry, South Carolina.
“I think Adam would have loved it here,” said Michael Davis, Boys Farm manager. “Our motto is” Build boys instead of repairing men “.”
Molina spoke to Davis virtually to get an idea of what her private program, which has been on for more than 60 years, is about.
“We want to help children have a second chance in life,” said Davis. “We’re really trying to keep them out of the youth system.”
A plot of land about three hours from Chicago in Potosi, Wisconsin, in the southwest corner of that state, is currently under contract following a successful auction offer. It consists of 151 hectares – of which 18 hectares are inhabited by pasture and buildings, and 51 hectares for crops.
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The $ 770,000 real estate sale was signed last week after Adam’s Place paid 10 percent.
The goal is to gain a foothold on Adam’s Place this fall and fully open next summer.
It is planned to take in eight boys, most of them from the Chicago area.
It will be smaller than Boys Farm, but with the same mission.
“I’m pushing for something positive to come of this,” said Davis.
“There will never be a tragedy like Adam Toledo again,” said attorney Joel Hirschhorn.
Attorney Hirschhorn said the idea for the rural setting came from the Toledo family. He said they called the owner of Boys Farm to see if they would help and the owner said, “Bring it on.”
“Life would have been very different for Adam if he had been able to visit Boys Farm,” said Hirschhorn.
He said the boys who will stay on the farm will not come through the judicial system but through organizations and nonprofits. The boys would stay on the farm year round but could come home to visit the family.
Hirschhorn said Adam’s Place also hopes for a bungalow on the farm where families with their children can stay and visit.
The time the boys would stay on the farm would vary individually, but most would start and go through high school by the age of 10.
This is still at a very early stage. Adam’s Place is still in the process of fundraising and becoming an official 501c3 non-profit organization. However, we are told that they are working with local organizations in Chicago to help local boys.
Work is also underway to obtain the necessary licenses from the state of Wisconsin.
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Regarding the ongoing investigation into the March 29 police shots that killed Adam, Hirschhorn simply said, “Science will give us all the answers.”