The Impact of CarePortal in Colorado Springs in just 10 months

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  What if the faith community knew specific at risk youth and family needs straight from the desk of the Department of Human Services (DHS)? What if the needs of at risk youth and families, who otherwise may never encounter the faith community, came from a no hassle email system without a bunch of meetings or red tape? What if 1,500 motivated, compassionate volunteers received these requests on their computers and phones in real time and responded, making a positive difference they otherwise wouldn’t have access to in their community?

 What if the children and families reached were those who are either already involved in the child welfare system due to abuse or neglect, or are those at risk of becoming involved in the child welfare system? Imagine now knowing exactly when and how to reach them with God’s love in your own community in their lowest moments, when they’re afraid to ask for help, when support is needed the most, when they feel the least heard. This is happening now, and you can be a part of the movement wherever you are.

  CarePortal has impacted El Paso County in tremendous ways. In 10 months over 1,500 volunteers from 18 churches have met needs from DHS caseworkers by simply responding to an email. Over 881 children have been served, finding DHS in El Paso County over $70,000 in material needs they otherwise may not have had through regular funding. This success shows the faith based community has a natural desire to be involved.

 CarePortal’s mission coupled with its hassle free organizational structure is the best kept secret in Colorado Springs and we are ready to expand to other regions in Colorado.

   A request came in to assist a 15 year old pregnant girl with diapers, wipes and bottles. The faith community responded not with just a few diapers, they gave the young lady a baby shower! A request came through for a bus pass so a mother would have transportation to visitation appointments, it was answered. Another request was for clothes for a woman’s 5 year old son who would be starting school. A grandma went out and purchased clothes and school supplies for the 5 year old so he could begin school with his head held high.

  Fulfill the calling in Matthew 25:40 and James 1:27- go now to CarePortal.org. See how your community can be transformed. Hundreds of caring volunteers are just waiting to help the needy children and families in your own backyard discover the unconditional love of Jesus.

Got Cleats?

144 Soccer cleats for 144 kids who are in need of cleats to play the sport they love SOCCER! 

144 Soccer cleats for 144 kids who are in need of cleats to play the sport they love SOCCER! 

My Mom & Dad gave us a week in Steamboat at a condo and we were so thankful. We made the drive up with the car full of suitcases to begin our first vacation with just our three "littles".
  The first morning I took Angel and Caleb on a walk. We saw a Sports Authority store which was going out of business so we stopped by to see what was left. Everything was 90% off in the store and I got the boys a couple pairs of cleats for just $4.00 a pair. We were prey, excited to get such a deal.
   Later in the day the whole family went back and Leesa had an idea as she saw the wall still full of cleats.
   "What if we could buy a few more pairs of cleats and give them to foster children and also send some to the orphanage in Kenya."
   I asked to meet the manager and shared with her our ministry with Beautiful Redemption. She was touched with what we were involved with and helping needy children. She was really impacted with the orphanage story in Kenya and then asked me to make an offer. My offer was for 50 pairs of cleats for $100. She said she would make a call.
   She came back with a counter offer. She said we could have the $39-$59 cleats for just $2.00 a pair but their was one condition, we had to buy all of them!
   So, Angel, Kendall, Caleb, Leesa and I started emptying the shelves and filling shopping carts. In just minutes we had loaded all the cleats in 5 shopping carts, 144 pairs of new cleats in all different sizes. Leesa went to go back and get the car and soon the trunk was filled from bottom to top with new soccer cleats. We paid around $312.00.
   We are still in Steamboat and not sure how we are going to get all the cleats home with all our luggage. It is going to be a very uncomfortable trip home later this week but worth it.
   We sat in the car in amazement of what God had done. Now we have the task of giving cleats away to needy children. Before pulling out we stopped and gave thanks to our great God who cares about these little ones more than we do. He has given a gift and we get to pass it on to others. Isn't that what life is about anyway?
   You can help us pay for the cleats at www.beautifulredemption.com. Any size gift will be doubled because of another gift, a matching grant through August. God is amazing and so is this journey. Thank you for partnering with us!

Message of Hope

Raising children that have been abandoned, abused and traumatized is a challenge bigger than we ever thought. Children from hard places have experienced loss at a deep level. Over the years it has been amazing to see the slow changes in their lives. We are convinced, "with God, all things are possible."  This truly is a message of hope. 

Against All Odds

Giving in the wake of grief with a joyous heart is what NRHA competitor Garth Hystad has done and continues to do. Listening to Garth tell you his story warms your heart and opens your eyes to all of the wonderful gifts that we have to be thankful for. Garth has overcome massive trials in his life and has emerged more prosperous and giving than one would have imagined.

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Garth began his life into a life of turmoil; his parents were drug addicts and after giving birth to his two younger sisters, they gave up their children. At the age of five, Garth had to assume the parental role of watching over his three year old and infant sister. They were put into foster care, but unfortunately the cycle of abuse didn’t stop with new parents. Finally they were moved out of that home and placed with a new family. The new family took the children to church and eventually decided to adopt, however they only wanted to adopt Garth’s two sisters. Garth recalled, “I had to leave the only family I knew and move to a new foster home.” Completely alone with all of his belongings filling less than a brown grocery bag, Garth somehow still found joy in his life.

Go Fund Beautiful Redemption

Our story mirrors the stories of so many others who choose to “love fully for a season”. Every story is both unique and similar in many ways. We have experienced great joy, peace, reward, heartache, and brokenness. Foster parents put their hearts and homes on the line in an effort to bring peace to a child who is full of fear. This fear causes them to act out in a number of ways. Our remedy is to listen, love, and show care so their emotional and mental walls come down. We have seen living miracles of children experiencing peace because they were loved from deep places. 

Foster past, motivates Colorado Springs businessman to help current foster kids

COLORADO SPRINGS -

A successful local businessman rallied supporters to raise tens of thousand of dollars for a new program bringing awareness to Colorado kids needing foster homes and adoptive parents. Garth Hystad’s motivation is personal.  "Somebody has to be their voice. I lived the life. I ate out of a garbage can. I went from foster home to foster home,” said Hystad who grew up in the foster system.

Encouragement for the Foster Parent

When someone says"foster parent" what comes to their mind?  Big brother/Big sister, babysitter,  childcare job, stupidity, or just plan crazy.  Have you ever had someone just look at you and think why in the world would anyone choose to live in a world of chaos, little reward, people who don't want your help, children who are emotionally damaged, angry, and act out at times as a wounded animal.  In so many ways it doesn't make sense in a world that is all about making life more comfortable, easy, and self focused.  We hear over and over "you deserve it ", "it's me time", "your worth it", "look out for #1",  and how easy it is to get caught up in those messages we are being feed everyday.  Without thinking we begin to as foster parents feel sorry for ourselves.  We wonder what we are doing, and quickly forget.  Why are we apart of this world of caring for kids that are from hard places, and frankly we can't handle it most of the time.  Before you get to that point which can easily sneak up on any of us in a moments time (as your child goes into another complete meltdown for the 10x today) let me encourage you in three simple ways, but for me they have been life giving.  Wrap your emotions and heart around them.  Anchor yourself in these encouragements as you weather the storm of loving your foster child and the life you have chosen to make a difference in......

1. We have been giving the opportunity to love a child and their bio family in a way that most of them will never experience apart from this time with you.
You maybe the person that begins to open a world of unconditional love, self worth, healing, perseverance, and a view that life can be a beautiful place to be apart of.  To the world you might be just one person, but to our foster child we might be the only one in the world who was willing to love and sacrifice life for them.  You are making a difference in a soulf for a lifetime.  The hard part that comes with foster parenting vs parenting our own children is that sometimes those moments are cut short, or we don't have the gift of time to watch those seeds that we planted grow, flourish into beautiful flowers, and maybe even reproduce beauty.  But take heart you are impacting a life that will forever remember your choose to give life.  I am reminded of a story we were told in our support group of a man who spent 6 weeks in foster care.  He came from an abusive family of 6 children.  He had a dad that choose to run away from responsibilities, and a mom who didn't know how to handle her chaos so she drank, abused, and lived to make her kids as miserable as she was.  They kids were taken from her and put in foster care.  The children were divided up and scattered to accomadate the number of siblings.  One of the boys age 6 was placed in a family who embraced their calling of loving their "son" for as long as they were giving the opportunity.  In those weeks this young boy saw a family that truly was that!  He experienced for the first time a place that was safe, loving, treated each other with respect and kindness, a shelter from the outside world, a refuge to come to and rest, and encourage to go forward in a positive way.  He observed conversations that were life giving and made him feel at peace.  The time was short lived and as quickly as he came he was taken back to his home where the chaos continued for the rest of his childhood.  This man grew up watching his siblings choose to follow the life they had lived growing up.  Many ended up serving time in jail, and had their own children taken away.  This man was given a glimpse as a child of what life could look like and he choose to make that his choice for his future.  He worked hard for his grade, went to community college, and took many years to complete his degrees and to become a doctor.  When asked how he managed to choose life over living a world of darkness he attributed his life change to his "family" who for six short weeks gave him hope that life is so much more than what he had experienced.  You too can be that "family" that makes a difference in a child's life for a lifetime.

2. Surround yourself with like minded people who believe and live in the world of impacting children's lives that goes beyond what is comfortable.
How quickly we can get discouraged or forge why we are in this world called "foster care".  Surround yourself with people who can remind you, inspire you, guide you, pray with you, and who you can encourage too.  As caring as some people think they are in trying to open our eyes to the choices we have made, most of the time it can be disheartening and discouraging.  Mose people will never see what we are doing as of great importance or worthy of sacrifice. (Let's face it, it's not very glamorous) we need to be walking life with those who share our heart's calling and are choosing to make a difference in a child's life, one life at a time.  Take time to go to a support group, a prayer group, an outing with another foster family, or maybe a date night together.  Use this time to be hones with each other encourage each other, pray for each other, give each other advise, and possible find solutions to some issues that might be overwhelming us.  

3. Find balance with an ebb and flow of life by taking time to take a deep breath, schedule respite, and surround yourself with a group of people who can wrap themselves around your family and support you in the ups and downs of foster parenting.
I know many of you are saying right now "that is good in theory but not reality".  Well, I say with a passion make it a reality!  Parenting children from hard places is probably the hardest job anyone can do.  If you are going to make it through not just surviving, but thriving we must surround ourselves with people who not only live our life day to day, but people who can come alongside us as a support to help our "child" and our family succeed in a positive way.  The African phrase "it takes a village to raise a child" is very true.  We can not and should not shoulder this incredible job all on our own.  God has called all of us to be apart of caring for the hurting, but we all have different ways we are to care.  Surround yourself with a group of people who can bring life and strength to your family, and allow your "child" to see the gift that is lived out as people help people live life in a positive selfless way.  If you don't know where to start ask your foster agency, local church, and there are even organizations that have been created to do this specific job... foster love for the foster family.

Fostering can be the most difficult but most amazing journey of your life.  As you choose to put these three helps into your everyday life it can become a joy in your heart that will impact you too for a lifetime.

Mom: A Gift from God

"Mom" the endearing name is given to all of us who have chosen to love someone and open our hearts to.  God has given us the incredible gift as woman to give life through love, and transform a life into a responsible beautiful grown adult who radiates God's design for mankind, or so we pray!  But we all know our children are not perfect and even though the most perfect parent God, did not have children who followed his heart completely.  So why even try especially when you add in the other title "Foster" to the equation?   It's hard enough to be a mom but then to try to embrace a little one (or big one) who comes from a hard place, may to only be with you for a short time, already probably has a mom, and let's face the situation will probably tear your heart up as you love.  Why oh why would anyone want to do that???  Humanly there is no logical answer!  But through Heavenly eyes it will be answered with a resounding applause as we get to be the chosen one to carry that endearing title through probably one of the most darkest times your "child" will ever walk through.  "Foster Mom" is a position that holds so many limits, and at times few freedoms.  But before we start to get down and our focus of our limitations, Hold onto God's limitless privileges that we get to share with our "Child".  I am not going to give more how too, but as a mother I have the privilege of wearing many different titles: Mom, Foster Mom, Adoptive Mom, and now Grandma which have all allowed me the privilege of seeing these gifts I am going to share with you be true gifts from God.

1. God gives us the gift to be that special person who gets to demonstrate God's love visually
This might be his/her first glimpse of even the idea of God or that He really does exist, and loves them deeply.  I encourage you to see this as an incredible privilege and take advantage of it for however time will  allow.  Let your "child"see that he/she is made in the image of his Heavenly Father who loves them and has a purpose and plan for their life.  We get to live out God's unconditional love before their eyes and for many it might be the only glimpse they ever get to visual see lived out in their life.

2. As we plant those seeds of love, show them their significance as a child of God.
We can trust the Holy Spirit to cultivate those seeds as might not have the opportunity to water and care for the seeds long term.  In the world's eyes the position we have been given might seem like a waste of time, but because we know life is so much deeper than one dimension we can trust the Holy Spirit to continue his work even when we physically can not.  Our love and labor is not in vain precious foster mom.  God's word is promised not to come back void ( Is    ) so put your trust in our Heavenly Father and let's plant lots of seeds.

3.  My heart grows heavy as I reflect back on why we were chosen to be his/her mother.
Our child has been apart of the small percentage of cases that were looked at and someone decided their situation was so severe and foster care was the only option.  Our "child"comes not with maybe some hurts, but he/she has experienced tragedy in the world they have known as "home".  Mom be encouraged as we realize we have been given the gift of showing them what a real home is.  We get to introduce them to a place that is not just a shelter, but a refuge from the storms of life.  In our homes they can experience peace maybe for the first time ever, and find comfort in our arms.  We get to bless them with positive words, and live out how precious their lives are.  If you have other family living with you they will be able to see up close how people can treat each other with respect, love, encouraging words, and maybe even fun in a clean way for the first time.

The world can view us as a paid babysitter, a crazy woman, and many other labels they want to give us, but take  courage and stand strong mom as you take in the greatest gift any child could long for.  The gift of a mom who truly does see him/her for who they are.... a treasured gift created by God with an amazing purpose to their life.