Northern Star staff and board of directors agreed that with the uncertainties that the first 2 months of Covid-19 brought, that it would be in the program’s best interest to relinquish the lease on Carpenter Lane’s 4-house campus. With Georgia being under a state of emergency, DFCS ceased field visits; this meant that the state was unable to complete the needed walkthrough for Northern Star to receive approval and a contract to open the maternity and parenting support program this summer. With everything being put on hold for an indefinite period of time, the smartest decision seemed to be to move some of the participants into the house Northern Star had purchased for the maternity program and into community apartments.
Does Northern Star still plan to open the maternity and parenting support program? YES! There is still a huge need and when the state adapts to the “new normal”, the maternity and parenting support program will open!
While many things remain uncertain, Northern Star witnesses every day the definite need for maintaining and even expanding supportive programs for teens and young adults in foster care. With the 3 months remaining in 2020, Northern Star has a large vision that we would like to get underway.
The first step is finding land, preferably in Lumpkin County, but not mandatory. If anyone has land to sell, knows of land available, or would like to help in the search, the county has set the following minimum acreage for building a Northern Star campus:
- Agricultural Preservation- minimum lot size for multifamily is 15 acres.
- Rural Places- minimum lot size for multifamily is 10 acres.
- Residential Growth- minimum lot size for multifamily is 5 acres
The following is the initial plan/dream:
Investing in Our Future
Homeless? Incarcerated parent? Foster care? Family drug use? Poverty? Untreated family or individual mental health?
Any one or combination of these situations can cause a teenager to lack the life skills and experiences necessary to transition into the role of a successful adult. Over the past three years, Northern Star has served over 40 youth bridging the gap between at-risk teenage years and becoming a productive community member.
Due to the continued growth of Northern Star’s independent living program and the knowledge gained throughout the growth, it is time to restructure and build to fit the program’s long term needs.
The program is very thankful for having a landlord over the past 4 years who supports Northern Star’s mission and was able to provide the physical space necessary to get the program established, in operation, and thriving. Renting “the bricks” property, as participants called it, made it possible to invest in the lives of over 40 youth. While renting was ideal for program start up, currently, Northern Star would like to invest in becoming a self-sustaining organization. With individual, business, and community support, Northern Star would like to create and own a campus that would meet the needs of all participants and staff.
A 5+ acre property in North Georgia (preferably Lumpkin County) with a terrain to support the building of several small structures.
Phase I – by the end of 2020
- Obtain Land
- 2 Septic tanks
Phase II – by the end of 2021
- 2 story Multipurpose Building – Offices, large meeting room, kitchen for life skills and space for all residents to dine, entertainment/hang out area, family visitation, gym, storage.
- Foster Closet – for all foster families, relative guardians, and community members in need.
- 2 Tiny Houses for first two Independent Phase level participants.
Phase III – by fall 2022
- 2 story Apartment – for entry level participants. Each story will have 3 resident bedrooms plus an additional space for around the clock staff when necessary.
- 2 additional Tiny Houses
Phase IV – by end of 2022
- Half basketball court
- Fire pit
- Gazebo – outdoor gathering area
A permanent location will allow Northern Star to become an established organization in the community.
The design of the campus will allow for a safe environment and housing of participants in various levels of independence.
Northern Star’s independent living program will provide opportunities for participants to:
- Learn, practice, and master basic life skills
- Household – cooking, cleaning, safety, nutrition, meal planning, shopping, basic maintenance
- Obtain all personal identity documents – ID, Birth Certificate, Social Security Card
- Health – physical, emotional, mental
- Relationships – self development, communication, respect, healthy
- Complete high school level education
- Community involvement – volunteer, religious, organizations
- Career interests, determine education/experience needed to obtain career
- Create a resume, job search and apply, interview preparation, obtain job
- Money management – budgeting, saving, credit, taxes, investing
- Obtain own transportation – learner’s permit, driver’s license, insurance rate quotes, purchase vehicle
- Obtain own housing in the community
As participants progress in their journey toward independence, they are not only changing their lives, but also becoming productive community members.
Northern Star staff, volunteers, and local supporters have been diligently investing in the youth of Northern Star over the past several years. This project would allow the program to serve additional participants, have a central location, and the resources necessary to run the most effective program possible.
Northern Star would like to invite individuals, community members, businesses, organizations, and friends to invest in building a campus and to equip youth with the skills necessary to become successful community members of OUR future.
Phase I – Northern Star needs you to commit to help with:
5+ acres (preferably in Lumpkin or surrounding county) donated or exceptional purchase price
Financial Donations –
Mail, PO Box 1781, Dahlonega, GA 30533
Via our website, https://northernstarga.org/donate/
Via Venmo, @northernstar28 phone #9319
Via Cash App, $NorthernStar
Building supplies –
Lumber, Roofing material, siding, electrical, plumbing supplies,
Skilled Labor –
Grading, Drilling well, Septic installation, Framing, Roofing,
Electrician, Plumber, Drywall, Painter
Additional Volunteers – Join the Campus committee and help with:
Planning and organizing
General labor, assistants, clean-up
If you personally, your business, or affiliated organization would be willing to commit to making this vision happen, please donate monetarily via one of the methods listed above or to commit to donating materials or labor contact Mandy Williams, 770-364-9319, firstname.lastname@example.org
NORTHERN STAR IS A 501(c)3 PUBLIC NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION
*All financial and in-kind contributions are tax deductible.