County dedicates holiday lighting to need for more foster, adoptive parents

PUEBLO – Pueblo County dedicated its annual Historic Courthouse Holiday Lighting ceremony to the need for more foster parents in the community.
 
Pueblo County Commissioner Garrison Ortiz emceed the lighting ceremony which also kicked off a family-entertainment gift card drive to benefit foster families.
 
Guests of the Historic Courthouse Holiday Lighting were asked to bring family entertainment gift cards or gift certificates to be distributed to foster families—gift cards to places like the Pueblo Zoo, museums, the movies, miniature golf, athletic clubs, pools – any family-entertainment venue.
 
Nicki Hart, owner of Multi-Designs, a website and graphic design firm in Pueblo, kicked off the gift card drive with a surprise family-membership donation to the Pueblo Zoo. Hart also donated creative services from her firm to redesign some of Pueblo County’s print foster recruitment materials.
 
It was also announced that Ben Gradishar, owner of Big Daddy’s Sunset Bowling Alley, donated 100 VIP cards. The VIP cards have a $1,000 value.
 
Certified foster parents receive a modest reimbursement for basic living expenses that many times does not account for any recreational or extracurricular activities.
 
From the moment a child is placed in the foster care system, funding for their food, clothing, diapers, furniture, school supplies, medical equipment, insurance, haircuts, even funding for college tuition is available to foster parents. Most of the training costs to be a foster parent are also reimbursed. Really and truly, all foster kids need is love.
 
The family entertainment gift card drive will run through January 31st. The gift card drive is part of a nine-month foster parent recruitment effort that was launched during the Pueblo Chile & Frijoles Festival and will wrap up after Mother’s Day. Gift cards can be donated at the Pueblo Zoo, the Sangre De Cristo Arts Center, Bowlero Lanes and Big Daddy’s Sunset Bowling Alley.
 
Interior Designer Karen Knight, and her staff from Knight’s interior design firm Act 1, coordinated the decorations inside the courthouse to give the courthouse a family-home feel.
 
District 60 students created ornaments for the tree in the rotunda. The ornaments represent the children’s favorite activity with their family. The 12-foot Christmas tree in the rotunda was donated by Walmart.
 
Santa and Mrs. Claus were also on hand to pose for pictures and selfies with the children.  Student choirs from Minnequa and Irving elementary sang holiday music while guests enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies.
 
Foster care informational meetings are every second Tuesday of every month. There are two sessions, one from 9 – 11 a.m. and an another in the evening from 5 – 7 p.m.  The next Foster care informational meeting is Tuesday, December 12 on the 7th floor of the Wells Fargo Building downtown at 201 W. 8th Street, Pueblo, CO 81003.
 
To RSVP, or to request more information about the meeting, please call 583-6909.
 
CONTACT: For more information, please contact Paris Carmichael, Pueblo County Community Information Manager at elliottp@pueblocounty.us or 719-252-8550.