STATESBORO, Ga. - The streets have a new purpose for twin brothers Davon and Tavon Woods.
The 27-year-olds are on a mission to walk 20 miles in every state to raise hope for and awareness of foster care children--- like themselves.
The men said the streets used to be nothing but trouble for them, and their setbacks started before entering the world.
Growing up as foster children
The twins were born to a crack-addicted mother, placed in foster care at birth and later adopted by a South Carolina couple— who turned out to be abusive, according to the brothers.
"We felt that we were just a check, felt that we were slaves," Davon told FOX Television Stations. "Never heard ‘I love you,’ never shown any affection."
"Oftentimes we would get beatings for little, small issues, be called ‘stupid’...verbal abuse," he added.
Once they left high school, the brothers found their homes in the streets of South Carolina.
"We tried college, but it didn’t work out," Tavon said. "We started dabbling in the streets, sold a little drugs."
"That was basically our life. Partying. Smoking. Girls. That was what we were doing," Tavon continued.
Then they started turning their lives around.
"We got a little bit older, realizing it wasn’t helping us. It wasn’t benefiting us," Davon explained.
The twins said they met their biological family when they were in high school, but now have limited interactions with them. They are also now estranged from their adoptive parents after making their stories public.
Walking with a purpose
The brothers attributed many of their challenges to abruptly transitioning from the foster care system into the adult world, and they hope other children won’t have a hard time adjusting.
"Our mission is to open up transitional housing for kids that have aged out of foster care," Tavon said. "And we want those houses to really cater to those young adults, those people who don’t have any support, any resources."
"We want to be able to transform their lives and get them on the right path because a lot of kids in foster care— once they age out— they lose every form of support," he said.
The brothers said they want to help foster care children get jobs, stay sober and have other basic life necessities including love and support. They also want to build homes for children currently in foster care. They want to have homes in every state.
Davon said he came up with the idea for the multistate walk in May, which is National Foster Care Month. The brothers originally walked 96 miles in four and half days from Georgia to Florida.
Davon then had the idea to walk 20 miles to the capitol buildings in all 50 states.
"There are so many kids that need us and so many kids that need to hear our voices," Davon said.
The brothers have walked in 12 states with the latest journey taking place in Hawaii. Their fame has earned them invitations into people’s homes and donations. They don’t spend too many days in each place. Their goal is to visit a new state every other week.
The brothers separately document their journeys on their individual social media pages. They also created a Facebook group called "Foster Kids Matter."
"It’s a beautiful journey," Tavon said.
The brothers hope to complete their trek by March 2023.
Statistics on foster care children
According to the Anne E. Casey Foundation, in 2020, 213,964 children under 18 entered foster care in the United States, a rate of 3 per 1,000.
Many children suffer hardships as they age out of foster care.
The foundation said one in five report experiencing homelessness between ages 17 and 19, and over one in four (29%) report being homeless from 19 to 21. Also, one in five reports being incarcerated between ages 17–19 and 19–21.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.