Our desire in building Hilltop Ranch is to meet the needs of our daughter Sarah, and others with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) who need a place to live in community.
Sarah, or “Buddy” as she likes to be called, has a large family – Mom and Dad, two sisters, a brother, her “bonus siblings” as she calls her sister and brother-in-laws, seven nieces and nephews and her Grandpa Mac. All of us care deeply about Sarah’s future, that she has a stable home and feels fulfilled and valuable. If she’s loved one-tenth as much as she loves everyone she meets, her cup will be overflowing!
The Birth of the Vision
Our vision to build Hilltop Ranch began the day we were treated to a performance by The Miracles, a choir from The Baddour Center in Mississippi. Between songs the community was described and our hearts were captured! Sarah has a HUGE heart for people as evidenced by the 175 people that came to her high school graduation party. Or the 17 neighbor families, among other people, who made her 30th birthday party extra special. How many of us even know 17 families in our neighborhood? Sarah does! To think of her being able to call a whole campus “home” with a large, stable family… no words can describe the hope we felt! We knew that Colorado needed a community like this and feel creating it is our purpose for the years ahead. You’re in for a treat if you visit the Baddour campus! We’ve also enjoyed visiting Rainbow Acres in Arizona. Both communities give a picture of what our goals are for Hilltop Ranch.
Over 12,000 adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities in Colorado are living with parents or caregivers over the age of sixty. The deficit in available homes will only increase as the baby boomer generation ages and become increasingly unable to care for their adult IDD children. The “Host Home” model offered through the government can be a wonderful option, but, host families change regularly over the years and our children would likely live in ten, twenty, or more families in their lifetime.
Our IDD adults are as unique from one another as we all are. Having a variety of models of homes available for them to choose from is important for them. Hilltop Ranch will be a valuable addition to the housing options for our IDD population.
Our Name and Unique Purpose
Hilltop Ranch is a faith-based non-profit committed to providing a home where adults with intellectual disabilities can shine, living life to the fullest. We serve peoples of all or no faiths, but our founding principles are based on the love and teachings of Jesus.
Including seniors, college-age young people, and others as residents will enhance the life of the Hilltop Ranch community as each resident uses their unique abilities and gifts to bring joy and meaning to the lives of the other residents.
The Inclusion of other population groups
Those of us who have witnessed the interaction between those in the IDD community and seniors have heart touching stories of love expressed and lives touched. We hope to have an assisted living facility connected with our campus in the future. To start we plan to have apartments and townhouses built as soon as possible to house, not only seniors, but also young people who may be working or pursuing degrees in the special needs field, or, medical students who wish to become better prepared to serve future patients with disabilities. We plan to set up intern programs for young people, and, provide opportunities for seniors to use their gifts and interests to enhance the lives of our Ranchers.
Our Funding Model
Our goal is to make Rancher’s cost as low as possible. Our income will be from Rancher tuition, charitable donations, grants, on-site for-profit businesses and limited government funding (such as transportation needs).
Where We Are Today
We have started Phase One.
While our complete vision continues to be a campus that meets the needs of more adults, we launched Phase One in February 2021 when our first residents moved into our beautiful log lodge at 201 Pinecrest Way in Palmer Lake, Colorado.
We are raising funds.
We secured a significant amount of our initial start-up costs through our cookie mix sales and the generous support of donors like you over the years since this dream started. Our “Help our Lights Shine at Hilltop Ranch” Fundraising Campaign helped us with the down payment for the lodge. We continue to raise funds for the remaining cost of the lodge, some capital improvement projects and general operating costs. Our first projects will be to build studio apartments for our house parents along with meeting other safety building requirements.
We are building a board.
We are building a strong board of directors who are passionate about our cause.
We are spreading the word.
We are upgrading our website and launching new marketing efforts, including the creation of the promotional video and a second video showcasing the lodge. Our Facebook site has been launched with an Instagram site coming soon.
We are learning from others.
We have visited successful facilities across the country, including some closely resembling our heart for Hilltop Ranch such as Rainbow Acres in Arizona and The Baddour Center in Mississippi. Visit baddour.org and rainbowacres.com for a closer look. Visits to even more communities are planned, enabling us to learn from their years of experience.
Our ranchers are involved.
Besides their cookie mix project, we are looking into other endeavors they would enjoy.
We are interviewing for our first staff positions
We are currently interviewing for Live-in House Parents and Day Care Providers.