Partner Profile: Community Support for Families with Project 1.27’s Neighbor Program

“We can’t fix everything, but we can fix dinner.” This is the message that Hope Forti, founder of
The Neighbor Program (formerly Foster Together), wants to share with overwhelmed foster and
kinship families who need to know they are not alone.

Foster mom Hope and her late husband, Kyle, founded The Neighbor Program in 2017 after
their experience as foster parents revealed they needed more support than they realized. The
Neighbor Program connects participating kinship and foster families in Denver Metro and El
Paso counties with their own volunteer “Neighbor.” Neighbors deliver meals, groceries or care
packages to one family for six months, building a friendship through encouraging notes and
phone calls.

Acquired by Project 1.27 in 2023, the Neighbor Program complements Project 1.27’s faith-
based kinship, foster and adoptive family offerings. With a caring support system, kin and foster
parents can continue providing the love their children need—adding a Neighbor’s protective
layer of community support to the healing process.

“Every family needs someone who cares about them,” said Forti. “A good Neighbor takes a
practical task off a parent’s plate – like providing a warm or frozen meal or sending an
encouraging note in the mail – and in doing so says, ‘I see what you’re doing for your kids –
thank you for loving them.’ That fills a parent up in a way that they can’t do for themselves. And
it makes all the difference.”

More than 400 families have been matched in Denver Metro and El Paso counties and 83% of
volunteers and families stay in touch after six months – forming real, lasting friendships.
For one kinship grandmother taking care of four grandsons who are often sick and hospitalized,
the Neighbor Program has been a life preserver. She and the boys mainly live in the basement
of their house because it’s physically too difficult for the fragile family to go up and down the
stairs. They often eat prepackaged, microwaveable food, or the grandmother will make meals
in the upstairs kitchen, keep them in the basement fridge and then heat them up in the
microwave throughout the week. Home-cooked meals delivered from their Neighbor are not
only helpful and nourishing but have uplifted the family’s morale.

Volunteer Neighbors are trained and background checked and given guidance from The
Neighbor Program for the first six months. After that, the families are free to continue the
friendship as much or as little as they’d like. Foster care agencies and counties often contract
with the program to provide Neighbors to families they license.
Project 1.27 also provides resources and training throughout the year for families interested in
becoming foster parents or those parenting children who’ve experienced trauma.

“We’re recentering support around the family because the healing power is in the home,” said
Forti. “If we can put a little more room to breathe in the caregiver’s life, by bringing a lasagna or
some groceries without putting a burden on the family, we think they can do a better job for
their kids.”

If you’re interested in becoming a Neighbor, would like a Neighbor to support your family or if
you’d like to donate to the program, you can find more information and the online applications here.

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