Category Archives: Heart Beats

Thank you

Dear Friends,

After fourteen wonderful years with Kids at Heart, I am resigning as Executive Director. This was not an easy decision, as it has been a privilege to be a part of the Kids at Heart family. I remember the first time I volunteered in 2003, I knew right away that I wanted to help make sure the children in our care had a place where they could belong. In 2008, after being laid off from a local engineering firm, the Executive Director position at Kids at Heart became available. I quickly rewrote my engineering resume into a non-profit resume, crossed my fingers and applied. I had zero non-profit experience, but I made up for that with a lot of passion for our mission. I’m so grateful the leadership team at Heart of the Rockies Christian Church took a chance on me.

During my tenure, we have served over 1,500 foster and adoptive youth from all over Colorado. We have increased the number of Fundango events we offer from 15 to 28 events per year, with an average of 65 kids served per event. We didn’t stop there. In addition, we created our outdoor education program, Camp Fundango, which allowed our families to get longer periods of respite while their children learned more about themselves (it really is amazing what dirt can teach us!).

Even with my amazing and hardworking staff and board, none of this would be possible without our volunteers. Today we have over 231 active volunteers that give their time and talents so that our children can have a place where they feel safe and accepted as they are.

But the biggest achievement was launching Kids at Heart into our own non-profit. In 2016 with the support of Heart of the Rockies Christian church, we created a 501©3 to grow Kids at Heart to better serve foster and adoptive families and to create more opportunities for partnership and funding. Our post launch success in 2017 is a testament to the hard work and passion of everyone involved.

What an amazing chapter this has been for Kids at Heart. I am working with our board to find our next director who will continue to grow our non-profit.  I will be with Kids at Heart through the transition as it is important to me that Kids at Heart continue smoothly during this transition.

For those interested in our director position, please visit our job posting. If you are interested in applying, please email a cover letter and resume to . Please share with anyone who might be interested.

What’s next for me? I’m not sure yet. I’m still working all that out. Our children at Kids at Heart have been such a huge part of my life that I’m pretty sure my next adventure will include them in some way.

Thanks again for a great fourteen years.

In gratitude,

Erica Wharton

Help us help kids in Larimer County be kids at heart.

Dear Friends,

In 2001, a family at Heart of the Rockies Christian Church pursued the adoption of an amazing little girl.  While waiting for the adoption to finalize, they provided her foster care. Another family from the church soon noticed how demanding and stressful 24/7 foster care is and offered their friends an evening of childcare and a dinner out. This one act of kindness generated many more, and with that focus on the needs of foster and adoptive families Kids at Heart was born.

Kids at Heart provides respite care for foster and adoptive families through its Fundango program. Twice a month for 3 hours, children from these families enjoy activities staffed by trained volunteers while parents use this time to meet their own needs: see a movie, have dinner with friends, or simply enjoy quiet time.  Building on the success of Fundango, Kids at Heart created outdoor education programs: Camp Fundango and Camp Teen Fundango. The goal of these programs is for all family members of foster and adoptive families to build community and connect with others – a key component in foster placements succeeding.

In 2017, Kids at Heart became its own non-profit. Our mission remains: Supporting foster and adoptive families to support the success of the family. We believe every child deserves to be part of a family. When placements fail, our children run the risk of emancipating out of the foster care system. Many will not graduate from high school, some will experience homelessness, and others will have legal troubles.

Just this year, Kids at Heart has served over 440 children who do not often get to be a kid at heart. As the year ends and we plan for 2018, we need your help.  Our goal is to raise $20,000 in our year-end campaign. It’s a lofty goal, but with your help those funds will help us realize our hopes of hosting over 23 Fundango events, 3 Camp Teen Fundango events, and 3 Camp Teen Fundango Day Trips in 2018.  Help us help kids in Larimer County be kids at heart.

  • For $15, you can sponsor a family of 3 or more children to attend Fundango for an evening.
  • For $50, you can pay for snack for 70 children at one Fundango event.
  • For $90, you can sponsor a child to attend all Fundango events for a year.
  • For $150, you can sponsor a teen to attend Camp Teen Fundango this summer.
  • For $2,500, you can sponsor a Fundango event for 70 foster and adoptive youth.
  • For $3,500, you can sponsor a Camp Teen Fundango weekend for 24 teens this summer.


Executive Director
Kids at Heart – Supporting Foster, Kinship & Adoptive Families
6501 Brittany Street
Fort Collins, CO 80525

Service Project for Fundango Teens

This Saturday at Fundango, our teen group will be performing a service project at Harvest of the Hearts Community Garden at Heart of the Rockies Christian Church. We are currently full for Fundango, but we have plenty of spots available for our teen group. If your teen would like to participate, please email Erica at by Wednesday.
Here are the details about Saturday.

  • We are asking parents to drop off all teens (ages 13 and older) at Heart of the Rockies Christian Church (6501 Brittany Street Fort Collins) by 4:00 pm. That will give you enough time to drop your other children off by 5:00 pm at club.*
  • Each child needs a hat, works gloves if possible, sunscreen and insect repellent.
  • We will be grilling hot dogs and learning how to cook in season veggies that we harvest from the garden that afternoon.
  • Harvest of the Hearts is an outreach ministry of Heart of the Rockies Christian Church. Our mission is to grow food for those in need. Everything we grow is donated to families in need and agencies who serve local families in need.
  • Josh, Leslie and Erica will be working with the teens that night at the garden. We will be driving all teens back to the club by 7:50 pm.

* Note – we are full for Fundango. Reminder emails will be sent out tomorrow. If you are not on the list for Fundango, but would like your teen(s) to participate, please email Erica.

Congrats Kelly!

Please help us congratulate Kelly O’Connor in her promotion as our Fundango Program Director. Kelly will now be in charge of our Fundango program at Kids at Heart. This is a big step for Kids at Heart and I am excited to be able to work on growing Kids at Heart while Kelly works on making our Fundango Program even better. Below you will find a quick note from Kelly.


Hello Everyone,

I am so excited, and lets be honest, a little intimidated by my new position. Over the past two years, I have had so much fun releasing my inner child as I planned Fundango events. Aside from planning activities, I’ve enjoyed getting to build relationships between Kids at Heart and many community groups that have supported us at our events. Now, instead of just one or two weeks a month, I have the privilege of working every week to grow and improve this amazing program. There will be much to come, and I am not entirely sure what to expect, but I know that is where God works his greatest miracles. 
Thank you, and God bless,
Kelly O’Connor

Kelly can be reached via email at and by phone at 970-223-1230. Send her a note and welcome her to her new position.

Thanks everyone! I am so excited about the future of Kids at Heart.


Erica Wharton


Special offer for Kids at Heart Families

OB full logoWe are excited to announce that Camp Timberline has offered Kids at Heart Families a discount program.  The following information is your guide to sign up and access our Outta Bounds program for summer 2016.  We hope your kiddos can join us!

Special Pricing: $112.50 (50% off $225) for each camper.  No sibling discounts.

Participating Locations:

  • Week 1:  June 6-10 – Crossroads Church, 5420 N. Taft Avenue, Loveland ;TEEN camp for 5th – 8th grade
  • Week 6:  July 11-15 – Immanuel Lutheran Church, 4650 Sunview Drive, Loveland Finished with Kindergarten – Finished 6th grade
  • Week 10:  August 8-12 – Discovery Fellowship Church, 6630 Brittany Drive, Fort Collins Finished with Kindergarten – Finished 6th grade

How to register:     Email Erica Wharton for the discount codes for the above camps. Then       go to and register your camper.  There will be a field asking for coupon code, enter the given code and your price will be adjusted accordingly.  Deposits are $75.  There are no refunds for the deposit.  If you need to make a payment plan, contact our registrar at:

Questions? Email Erica Wharton @  / 970-223-1230

Camp Teen Fundango Registration starts today!

postacardJust a quick reminder that registration for Camp Teen Fundango starts TODAY. Camp Teen Fundango will be on June 3-5 at EDUCO and is open to foster, adoptive, and kinship teens (biological siblings in the home as well) ages 10 – 16. Cost is $30 a camper.

All completed registration forms & fees that arrive via mail, email, or dropped off will be entered into a lotto. 24 kids will be selected. All others will be added to a waiting list. We have never filled up on the first day, but usually do after the first few days.

This year we are offering a online payment option. For more information, please visit our website.

Please feel free to share with anyone who might be interested.

Pancakes with Santa Fundraiser

Pancakes with Santa Fundraiser


No matter how you stack it… We need you!

All you can eat pancakes, sausages, juice, milk & coffee for only $5 before the event / $7 day of event. Kids 5 and under are FREE! We will have Santa available for photos and our lines are short! This year we will have Josh Beecher from Halcyon Daze Photography taking photos for us.

For over fifteen years, Kids at Heart has been supporting Foster & Adoptive families.  Our Fundango, Camp Teen Fundango, and Camp Fundango programs have been providing children with the chance to build relationships with other children in adoptive, foster and kinship families. Our programs provide respite which is a key part of the post-placement services often needed by adoptive, foster, and kinship families that help support placement stability and permanency.


December 12th, 2015 8:30 am – 10:30 am @ Heart of the Rockies Christian Church (6501 Brittany Street in Fort Collins).

You can reserve tickets by calling 970-223-1230 or emailing Erica Wharton at

Let us know you are coming, by visiting our Facebook event.



Mid Month Update

I’m the Heart in Kids at Heart

My name is Jennifer and I’m fairly new to the Kids at Heart Board. It has been a busy and kahheart1750eye-opening start to our Kids at Heart – I’m the Heart in Kids at Heart 30-day Campaign.

We are half way through the month and are on our way of achieving our two important goals of increasing awareness and support for the importance of respite for our foster, adoptive and kinship families.

For me, it is about the families.  I personally do not have foster or adoptive children.  But as a mother of 4 boys and for my love of kids, joining Kids at Heart made it a no-brainer.  I had no idea how special these families and kids are.  It has been a gift to me to meet and interact with the selfless parents who work hard for our children.  They are amazing and inspiring.  They give their time, love and compassion unconditionally.  What an amazing gift our community has been given.

These families are busy.  These families are tired.  They are active and continually growing in their knowledge and skills of how to care for these special kids.  Kids at Heart provides programs to support these families so that they can continue with their hard work.

Have you read The Troy family’s story? If not you can read it here.

The first half of our 30-day Awareness Campaign has produced approximately $1,400.   We have also been spreading awareness as well which has resulted in new collaborations with local businesses for our Fundango program. We are excited to have BJ’s Brewery, Raising Cane’s, and Texas Roadhouse in Arvada joining with Subway, Carl’s Jr, Chick-Fil-A in Loveland, The Walrus, Arby’s, Noodles, Runza  and The Rio in donating food and treats for our Fundango program.

Thank you for being the Heart in Kids at Heart.  Your support really does make a difference. Will you help to fill our heart?