12-year-old hopes to start hobby farm to help foster children

PLYMOUTH, Wis. (WBAY) -- There are 7,897 children in Wisconsin living in out-of- home foster care.

One northeast Wisconsin boy, who has experienced the challenges of foster care, is now setting out to help other children like him.

Trayvon Heling, 12, has been visiting Julie Cramer’s hobby farm for the last two and half years, and has created a bond with the animals.

“The goats, they’re my friends. I kind of listen to them, and it’s kind of like them talking to me,” said Trayvon.

“I always tell him he’s like an animal whisperer. He’s really good with the animals, he doesn’t move too fast, they like him, they listen to him,” said Cramer, a family friend.

“He finds a whole lot of comfort in them and wants to share them with other kids who have been in the situation he has been in; kind of has a heart of gold kid,” said Jenna Heling, Trayvon’s adoptive mother.

Trayvon and his sister Amber were in foster care for about three and a half years before they were adopted by Jenna and her husband almost a year ago.

Since coming to Cramer’s farm, the 12-year-old now has his mind set on having his own farm to help other foster children.

“I think it’s kind of nervous to be with another family, because the first time I met this family, I was kind of scared and worried about my mom and where she was; but once I came to the farm, I kind of in my mind, just talked to them [the animals] and they would just play with me and comfort me,” said Trayvon.

Jenna says they live in Kiel and visit Cramer’s farm in Plymouth when they can, but say it would be nice to have their own farm closer to home.

“Kids who are adopted or who have been in foster care, they still have traumas after the adoption is final; and the hard part right now, we live about 20 minutes from this farm. So ,if he has a moment where he really needs his animals, it’s a 20 minute trek or we can’t get him there at all,” said Jenna.

With his mom’s help, Trayvon has started a GoFundMe page to start his own farm.

“It’s a foreclosure, bank owned property. We thought we could get it kind of cheap, made an offer but it was not accepted,” said Jenna.

Jenna says she’s seen both Travyon and his sister really open up since they started visiting the farm.

“We’ve seen responsibility increase, we’ve seen confidence increase, we’ve seen a whole lot of life skills that just, you know, you can’t trade for what they’ve learned out here,” said Jenna.

Trayvon already has some ideas of what he would want to do once he has his own farm.

“We could do activities with their family, like doing pumpkin carving, Easter hunt, so getting more time with their family.”

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent or adopting, click here.