Meanwhile, Wednesday would also have been Adam’s 14th birthday.READ MORE: Mayor Lori Lightfoot Backs Declaring Juneteenth An Official City Holiday Starting Next Year
CBS 2’s Tara Molina spoke with Adam’s family about what could be a lifeline for other kids like him. Modeled after the Boys Farm in South Carolina, plans are afoot for a retreat called Adam’s Place that would give at-risk kids from Chicago a rural escape.
“The family wants something good to come out of this horrific event,” said Toledo family attorney Adeena Weiss Ortiz.
To that end, she said, Adam’s Place “is directed to solely helping other families like theirs give the youth of Chicago an alternate lifestyle to city life.”
The Toledo family, with their attorney’s, announced the plans for the nonprofit in front of the brand-new mural honoring 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 took Adam into the street that night,” Ortiz said.
Adam’s sister, Esmeralda Toledo, spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday.
“He deserved the chance to make mistakes and learn from them,” she said.
Adam’s Place is still in its earliest stages. The model for it, the Boys Farm, is 777 miles away in Newberry, South Carolina.
“I think Adam would’ve loved it here,” said Michael Davis, executive director of the Boys Farm. “Our motto is ‘building boys instead of mending men.’”
Molina talked with Davis virtually to get an idea of what their private program, running more than 60 years now, is all about.
“We’re all about helping children have a second chance at life,” Davis said. “Really, what we are trying to do is keep them out of the juvenile system.”
A piece of land about three hours from Chicago in Potosi, Wisconsin in the southwest corner of that state is under contract right now after a successful bid at auction. It is composed of 151 acres – including 18 that will be occupied by a pasture and buildings, and 51 for crops.READ MORE: Child Tax Credit: How Much Will Your Monthly Check Be?
The $770,000 land sale went under contract last week after Adam’s Place paid 10 percent down.
The goal is to break ground on Adam’s Place this fall and fully open next summer.
The plan is to host eight boys – most from the Chicago area – to start.
It will be a smaller scale than Boys Farm, but with the same mission.
“For something positive to come out of this is what I am pushing for,” Davis said.
“Never again will there be a tragedy like Adam Toledo,” 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’ve been a lot different for Adam if he had been able to attend Boys Farm,” Hirschhorn said.
He said the boys who will stay at the farm will not come through the court system, but through organizations and nonprofits. The boys would stay year-round at the farm, but would be able to come home to visit family.
Hirschhorn said Adam’s Place is also hoping for a bungalow on the farm where families could stay and visit with their children.
The time the boys would stay at the farm would vary individually, but most would start at the age of 10 and stay through high school.
This is still in the very early stages. Adam’s Place is still in the process of fundraising and becoming an official 501c3 nonprofit right now, but we are told their plan is to work with organizations, local to Chicago, and help boys from this area.
Work is also under way on getting the licenses needed from the State of Wisconsin.MORE NEWS: Decision Delayed Again On Mental Health Treatment In Jail For Serial Stowaway Marilyn Hartman
As to the ongoing investigation into the March 29 police shooting that killed Adam, Hirschhorn would only say, “Science will give us all the answers.”