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Burke Center for Youth

$50,000 in 50 days, to celebrate 50 years of Helping the Hill Country's Youth

Dripping Springs and the surrounding areas are constantly evolving. Even if you’re new to our area, you see it. Growth. Investment. Change. A constant throughout the last half-century, one locally based non-profit has been working with a singular focus: to promote healing and inspire hope for children in crisis.

Founded by Rosemary Burke and Charlie Campise to help the foster children of Texas, Burke Center for Youth was opened in 1973 as a residential treatment center at Pathfinder’s Ranch in Driftwood. Over the decades, the organization has helped thousands of boys overcome the traumas in their lives.

“It’s a great mission, helping young men who are lost and abused. We help take care of boys lost in the system,” says Steven Fournier, the executive director of the Burke Center. 

Ten years ago, some friends from church invited him to help the center. The retired Air Force Lt. Colonel spent a few years volunteering before being hired to lead the Burke team in 2015.

The challenges some of these boys face are unimaginable, but that makes the mission that much more important. “We take care of kids who have been sexually abused. It sets us apart,” he said.

Pathfinder's Ranch is a residential treatment facility for boys aged 10-17. Every resident has been removed from their home due to abuse and associated behaviors. These adolescents begin the healing process through therapy (individual, group, equine), education at the on-site school, and the day-to-day jobs working the grounds. 

The ultimate goal is to help children rebuild their lives in a manner that will break the cycle of abuse and give them the tools necessary to flourish.

To commemorate the historic milestone, the center is throwing a free open house celebration for the community. All are welcome to attend this family-friendly event.

“We’ll have an open house and picnic lunch,” Steven says. “Guests will hear from a boy from each decade, and the current boys will show the community what this place means to them. It’s going to be a very special day.” 

In addition to showcasing the ranch and the work of the group, it’s also an opportunity to give back to the people who have supported the mission throughout the years.

“It really is a ‘thank you’ from the Burke Center to the community for 50 years of partnership,” says Steven.

In addition to raising awareness, the center is always looking to fundraise to continue their mission. The organization is looking to raise $50,000 in 50 days, to celebrate 50 years. The campaign is underway and the best way to help is to become a Community Hero Sponsor. Visit burkecenterforyouth.org for more information and join today.

The Burke Center also provides foster and adoption services to over 100 Texas children annually. In addition, the center helps with transitional living for boys between 18 and 21. These young men have aged out of foster care, but are unable to live independently yet. The program offers continued therapy, job placement, college enrollment, and continued life skills education.

“We’ve focused on boys for 50 years. People might assume that boys are better equipped to take care of themselves,” Steven says. “But, that isn’t necessarily the case.”

As our society and community continue to rapidly change, it’s more important than ever to support those left behind. With continued community investment, the Burke Center for Youth will continue to help overlooked and vulnerable kids grow for years to come.

Details to get involved:

  • Burke Center for Youth Open House celebrating 50 years

  • April 15, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

  • Pathfinder’s Ranch, 20800 FM 150 W, Driftwood, TX 78619

  • Catered picnic lunch

  • Campus tours

  • Live music

  • Families welcome

  • Burke Center Class Room
  • Gym
  • Garden
  • Executive Director Steven Fournier