If you live in Colorado Springs, chances are you have heard of the Manitou Incline. This infamous local hiking trail is a favorite of locals and tourists alike, who relish the challenge of climbing 2,000 feet in elevation in just one mile. People push past the burning in their legs and lungs in hopes of taking in a hard-earned panoramic view from the top.
Well, for Fostering Hope the year 2021 has felt a lot like that infamous Incline. Earlier this year, some of our foster families fell ill with COVID and faced other heart-wrenching hardships. Volunteering declined, as did our means of recruiting new volunteers. Young adults struggled with housing and employment, in part because stressful times exacerbate the impacts of childhood trauma. Our waiting list remained closed to new foster families for most of the year. Financially, it was unknown what the pandemic would mean for fundraising as it entered its second year.
Today, though, I am happy to say we’re standing at the top, taking in the view with a tired but beaming smile. Our foster families are healthy, and they are able to meet in person with their volunteers again. Volunteering is picking back up, so much so that in October we re-opened our waiting list for new foster families. Although our young adults experienced quite a few “close calls” regarding financial crises, thanks to the community of support they have in Fostering Hope, none found themselves falling into homelessness. And, to top it off, our fall fundraiser was a huge success, ensuring we start off stable and strong in 2022.
But there’s one key difference between Fostering Hope and all those hikers taking selfies — you. This was not a solo pursuit. It took scores of volunteers providing transportation, meals and other support to our families, even when there were fewer volunteers to share the load. It took faith communities and businesses stepping up, often with little notice, to respond to specific needs. And it took donors who gave so generously.
On behalf of our foster families and young adults, thank you. And enjoy the view!