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Foster home one step closer to being built

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It's been a dream for years and it appears plans to build a foster care facility is closer to becoming a reality. The Rigalu House is a step closer to being built.

"I really thank God that this is happening," noted Sister Brigid Perez. "I thank all of you especially because without you we cannot do it. Twelve years ago, this was a dream."

It's a dream that is closer to becoming a reality as Governor Eddie Calvo, First Lady Christine Calvo and several stakeholders gathered in Barrigada for a ground blessing ceremony of the property where a new foster care facility will be built. "The First Lady had a heart of gold, both the Governor and First Lady, they came and said, 'What do you need sister?' and I said do you really want to know what I need, I said a home."

In the last year, there were a reported 236 children under Child Protective Services. "They are deprived of a home, they are deprived of parents and we are the parents here in Guam, and it depends on all of us to build up their character because we're giving them a good foundation now," Sister Brigid said.

It was last year when Bill 332 was signed into law allowing a land swap that was needed for the shelter. A companion resolution was eventually passed a few weeks ago allowing for the foster care facility to be built in the lot in Barrigada. Department of Land Management director Michael Borja said, "They're put in a place that is no fault of their own and they've come and we need to provide them with some facilities."

The project is estimated at $1.2 million and is expected for completion sometime next year. Borja says while the home won't be big enough to house every child, it's a start to help kids in their darkest time in their life especially when it shouldn't be. He added, "So this whole area here is two-and-a-half acres large, it's going to house not only the foster care home but hopefully a resource center, which can be used for family reunifications and for other aspects for training the kids and keeping them going on with their education."

The facility will be funded by the department of interior with the Rigalu Foundation providing all interior and exterior aesthetics along with supplies necessary for foster care. First Lady Calvo said, "As a mother I could not shy away and go away from what Sister Brigid had told me about needing a larger space for these kids to sleep and be at when they are an in emergency situation, so I'm really excited."

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