Project Independence

After 35 years of working with foster youth, Rancho Damacitas has seen the challenges young adults experience as they “age-out” of the dependency system once they turn 18.  Project Independence is our answer to addressing the apparent need to nurture, empower and develop young people into self-sufficient, well-educated, healthy young adults who become thriving, contributing members of our community.

Project Independence offers young adults with a history of foster care ages 18 – 25 with transitional housing, employment readiness, financial management, life skills coaching, mentoring, and a place to call home.  The program holds residents accountable through weekly coaching meetings, paying a portion of rent and utilities, and community service.


Exciting Program Update

Rancho Damacitas is currently expanding the Project Independence Program to meet this growing need! We are currently in the process of building a third “Honor Home” as the final phase of the program and last stepping stone into independent adulthood for the youth. Stay informed on our progress by joining our mailing list!

September 2016 – Land Purchased in Murrieta, CA
March 2017 – Ground Cleared
Winter 2018 – Construction Targeted to be Complete

Honor Home FAQ

1. What is the Honor Home?

The Honor Home is a part of our Project Independence Program. Project Independence started in 2012 to help former foster youth or disadvantaged young adults transition into independent adulthood and has a total of three homes located throughout the area. The Honor Home is the final phase of a program and serves to acknowledge those young adults who have been successful in meeting the milestones towards self-sufficiency.

2. Who lives in the home?

The Honor Home can house a maximum of five (5) young adults and one (1) live-in mentor family. The Live-in Mentor oversees the home and serves as a mentor for the young adults.

3. How are the residents selected?

Residents are selected based on meeting the minimum criteria:

  • Current resident within Project Independence and in good standing;
  • Has a history of success for maintaining employment and meeting budgeting requirements;
  • Has completed their High School/GED requirements.

4. How many does the Honor Home serve?

The Honor Home will be able to serve a maximum of five (5) young adults at one time.

5. Who owns the Honor Home?

Rancho Damacitas Children & Family Services, a legal 501(c)3 nonprofit organization under Thessalonika Family Services, owns the property. Rancho Damacitas purchased the property in 2016.

6. How long will the residents live there?

The time that the residents live in the home will depend on the participant. Most residents are expected to complete the final phase of the program after two years.

7. What kind of treatment program is this?

This is not a treatment program. Project Independence is a program helping young adults transition into adulthood and self-sufficiency. There is a strict no tolerance policy for any drugs, alcohol, or overnight guests all residents sign when they first enter the Project Independence program and this continues in the Honor Home.

8. Who do I contact for more information?

Kristi Piatkowski at

Project Independence Application

1. Click Image Below to View/Download PDF file (426kb)

2. Complete the Project Independence Application and mail or email to:

  • Scan/Email the completed application to Kristi
  • Mail the completed application to Rancho Damacitas, PO Box 890326, Temecula, CA 92589