When Kim and Dale Nuss began their journey as foster parents in 2012, they had no idea how deeply their hearts would be touched or how monumentally it would change their lives. Most of all, they never would have guessed that the journey would lead them to purchase a ranch with room to house more children and land to provide equine therapy. Moreover, they never imagined that they would open a thrift store to provide money for foster programs.
Within a year of the idea, Selah Mountain Ranch was born.
During Dale’s 25 years of service with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department, he spent many of his vacations on mission trips.
That planted a seed for wanting to help orphans. After watching their daughter Christa and her husband become foster parents, Dale and Kim (part owner of and stylist at Lotus Salon & Spa) were inspired to do the same. In January of 2012, they applied through Lutheran Family Services. That September, they received seven unaccompanied refugee minors from Africa, one of whom they adopted two years ago.
Little did they know that would begin their long, devoted journey of fostering.
They continued to open their arms and hearts to children in need after seeing how desperately kids in foster care want to be loved and have a family. Since then, they have housed and loved 30 foster children from around the state of Colorado and have adopted five. (Although federally funded, foster care is state run and children are placed where there is an opening, crossing county lines.)
Kim and Dale Nuss have four grown children and nine grandchildren.
They have never known an empty nest.
Rather than downsizing when their children grew up, they added bedrooms in their house for other people’s children.
Although they have moved their family to Florence, their home in Colorado Springs has become Selah Mountain Young Adult Home. It’s a home for unaccompanied young adult refugees 18 years and older who have aged out of the system and who have a job. They can rent a room at a reduced rate. For the past year, Ann-Marie Britt has supported three young adults there. That’s in addition to raising her biological son and her own foster children. Her two foster daughters attained their happily-ever-after this month when Ann-Marie adopted them. After Ann-Marie and her kids move out this summer to be closer to family, Kim and Dale’s daughter, Sarah Cunningham, and her family will move in to run the house. They will continue to provide a home for unaccompanied refugee minors, teaching them independent living and providing them support.
Selah means to pause, reflect, or take a breath.
Selah Mountain Ranch is designed to be a place where foster children can do just that. Kim and Dale say that their dream of buying a ranch and expanding what they could offer high-risk foster children was firmly planted.
Then God let the dream grow and become a reality.
Within months, they purchased the ranch and additional adjoining land to house the equine therapy program. They also purchased an old bank building from a gentleman who had also been a foster parent. They turned the bank into a thrift store and are using office spaces and a conference room in the back for therapy rooms and visitation space.
The grand opening of Selah Mountain Thrift Store was April 28th.
Kim and Dale’s son, John, manages the store. An additional employee is a young lady the Nusses adopted through the foster care system. Right now, the store is simply maintaining itself and paying the two salaries. The purpose of the store is to ultimately support foster programs.
Additionally, foster children can receive a clothing voucher to purchase a couple outfits since they often arrive in foster homes with only the clothes on their backs.
In order to fund their foster programs, they rely on community support.
Being a nonprofit 501©(3), all donations to Selah Mountain Ranch are tax deductible.
Would you like to support Selah Mountain Ranch? Here’s how:
- Monetary donations – currently need $10,000 to pay for a barn to house the equine therapy horses.
- Donations of goods for the thrift store. (You can drop off donations in Colorado Springs at 5940 Farthing Dr. or at the thrift store in Florence at 100 East Main Street)
- Volunteer your time – the thrift store is in constant need of volunteers to sort and process donations.
- Follow them on Facebook
Besides Selah Mountain Ranch, there are a number of local non-profit organizations that support foster children and parents. Although not everyone can be a foster parent, every parent can support foster care. Interested in hearing more about foster care facts and statistics? Read Part One in this series here: Foster Care Awareness, Part One: The Statistics.
Other Resources and Opportunities to Help Foster Children
El Paso Department of Human Services