Our desire in building Hilltop Ranch is to meet the needs of our daughter Sarah, and others with IDD who need a place to call “home.”
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, six 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 Sarah 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 permanent, forever home where adults with intellectual disabilities can live 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.
A Walk through the Hilltop Ranch Model
The model shows some of the possibilities. Start your tour and dream with us!
- As you enter the drive way and turn right, you begin passing our
- “Family Homes” on the right. Each home will house six or eight residents with IDD and their caregivers. The smaller homes might accommodate staff, apartments for off-duty caregivers, residents with more severe needs, etc. As you continue around the circle,
- Stop to roast a marshmallow at our campfire, and
- Choose plants from our greenhouses.
- Our main building will house our offices, dining hall, activity areas including a gym, pool, movie room, and maybe our senior assisted living facility.
- An outdoor sports area with a pavilion will welcome neighbors to fun events hosted by our residents like hayrides, bonfires, or an Easter egg hunt.
- Our barn area could house chickens, a pet boarding business, maybe goats, horses and other animals.
- Apartments or townhouses will be home for independent seniors, maybe grandparents of our residents who want to contribute to our community. College students or medical students would benefit by choosing Hilltop Ranch for required internship programs.
- A chapel would serve our residents and involve them in a wedding venue business.
- The outdoor movie viewing area will be a hit, providing an opportunity to share our residents with the surrounding community, and we’ll definitely put on talent shows and perform plays since our residents shine when given a stage and microphone!
- Come for a visit and our residents will get you set up in our RV park. Maybe visiting family members will stay here. Whatever, it will be fun!
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 efficiency apartments for our house parents, replace the single pane windows and to fund other necessary projects.
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.