Last year, ABC Action News told viewers about the campaign to save a facility dedicated to foster children. On Friday, that campaign was deemed a success as the Joshua House in Lutz had its grand reopening of the 11-acre campus.
"If it wasn't for Joshua House, I would not be the young adult I am today," Synthia Fairman said.
"I was a foster child myself," Fairman said.
For about three decades, Joshua House was a safe haven for kids like Fairman who's been abused, neglected, or abandoned. Then in March of 2020, the Children's Home Society of Florida decided to nix foster care services. That meant the children had to be out by the end of the month.
"That led to some mediations and then that led to more negotiations. And then the decision was finally made that we Friends of Joshua House would purchase our gift back, Executive Director of Friends of Joshua House Foundation DeDe Grundel said.
The non-profit successfully bought back the property last July with the help of donors and a loan. The $3.4 million price tag covered the purchase, renovations, and start-up costs.
Grundel told us it was a challenge getting Joshua House in tip-top shape amid the pandemic.
"My goodness, you couldn't get a contractor to show up. They were all really busy," Grundel said.
Volunteers helped a great deal with renovations. Even Fairman and her business partner commissioned murals inside the bedrooms. There's still more work to do, but hope is on the horizon for Joshua House.
"This is not a shelter anymore. This is not a prison for some kids. This is their home. And this is going to be the happiest place," Fairman said.
Friends of Joshua House Foundation have switched gears from "Saving Joshua House" to "Restore Joshua House." You can help by donating your time, money or resources. For more information visit www.friendsofjoshuahouse.org