November News from the Front Lines!

August Newsletter (9)What’s Happening at Mountain Circle and Running with the Bears! Inside the November Issue:

  • Amanda and Matthew: Taking On a 15-yr Old Foster Teen Was Not What She Expected…
  • Meet Kip: A Former Foster Child Speaks Out
  • Simple Steps to Set Up Your Charity Runner Page
  • Two Teens Save a Life
  • November Trainings

Amanda thought she just wanted to foster babies, but then she met Matthew…From Amanda:

“My experience with Matthew has been an exciting roller coaster ride.  Started out as a temporary transition, and turned into a long windy ride full of surprises.  I did not start this ride thinking I would have a fifteen-year-old male who was so much like my own family but I found that the comedy routine was well worth it.  Although we have had our ups, downs, and looped de loops, we have learned how to trust each other despite the system that causes so many stresses.  He has been an awesome young man to bond with.”

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Anna, Matthew’s MC Social Worker, had this to say, “I have been Matthew’s social worker since the middle of last December, and have really noticed a transformation, and special bond develop between he and Amanda.  Matthew has been in foster care, and in and out of group homes since he was about 7 years old.  Matthew is particularly weary of women, due to the experiences he had with his mother when he was a little boy.  She actually left him out in the woods while she would run off with boyfriends and do drugs…  I think the statement Amanda made about them trusting each other phenomenal.  As their relationship has developed, I can see that Matthew does trust her, and that is an amazing feat.



“Each month, I am required to ask the foster children how they are feeling about their placement.  In February, Matthew’s response was, “mutual.  Last month (September) it was, “content.”  That may not seem like a big deal, but to me it is.  For a child that has moved around so much, and for so long, to actually be content in his environment is a monumental feat!  October 6th, they celebrated Matthew being in the home for one year, and that is the longest placement he’s ever had. Another dynamic which makes this story unique is Amanda wanted to do foster care for infants…not teenagers, and certainly not an unruly teenage boy.  She was all set up with a crib and everything baby, and it wasn’t a big deal when she got the call for Matthew, as she said, it was just supposed to be temporary, a short-term emergency placement more or less.  Last little piece of input, is just how much I enjoy seeing Matthew and Amanda interact.  It really is a comedy show the way they tease each other back and forth.  It is heart-warming to this Social Worker to see a young man that carries so much pain and fear be able to smile and be carefree, even if it’s just for a moment.”

A Former Foster Child Becomes a Hero to Others

“I heard about Running with the Bears from my girlfriend. Her sister Nancy runs in it every year, and I wanted to donate to her Charity Runner page. My connection to foster care is that I was a foster child. My mother left me to fend for myself when I was in 9th grade. Through school I was introduced to a foster family in Klamath falls Oregon. They had three children of their own but still found a way to take me in and make my life somewhat whole again. To this day I am a part of the family. I am 52….

My life was changed by kindness and I want to do the same for children! They are the future of this great nation and we as a whole need to step up and make sure we take care of OUR kids. Anything I can do to help even one puts a great big smile on my face. I hope to attend this next years run! And will continue to support with my United Way contributions on a monthly basis, as well as support Nancy in her efforts at the run each year, it gives me great pleasure to help! Thank you very much for your dedication to children, my Hats off to you and your staff!”


How to Become a Charity Runner? It’s Easy!

1.) All registered runners can be Charity Runners- simply activate your fundraising page: $100 raised earns a special goody bag, $500 a RWTB Sweatshirt and a ticket to the Post-Race Hoedown. Every single dollar makes a difference! How to edit or activate your fundraising page:

  • Go to Click on ‘Sign in to RacePlanner.’
  • Enter username (enter temporary password of your email address, password is  rwtb2016 (all lowercase)
  • Click on Fundraiser Properties to make edits

2.) Make your fundraising page your OWN with your photo and a little about yourself, then email or facebook the link to your friends. Ask them to donate $5, $20, or $26.2!  Remember: employer matching gifts count too!

3.) If you need a little support, just contact Josie
*All contributions are 100% tax deductible.


Read More Details about Being a Charity Runner HERE.

Not a Runner? Become a Mountain Circle Sustaining Donor and you will still receive complimentary tickets to the Post-Race Hoedown, a sweatshirt, AND a RWTB Goody bag!

Curtis Panorama (2)

Wahoo!! Jason’s Shoes Arrive!! A gift from Vicky, this year’s ‘Last to Finish.’
Vicky, What does Running with the Bears mean to you?

(1) I have friends whose license plate reads UMATTER. This is what I felt crossing the finish line…I mattered.
(2) I would like to gift my shoes to a foster teen or to one in the transition program. I would like to tell them “grit” (mental toughness and courage) will take them far.
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(3) At the end of the race, the mobile aid stations were a physical and emotional godsend. One of Mountain Circle’s Social Workers, Curtis, (pictured below at right, with the Race Director Josie) supported me those last few miles- he even played a happy and encouraging song as I shuffled along. Please let him know “I luv him”.
(4) The one take away my family had was that not only was RWTB a community event but we felt part of the community.
(5) Thank you for it all…
Vicky…the last runner and I matter

Two Foster Teens Save A Life! We interview their foster parents:

1.) What are some of the influences, morals, and life skills you teach the foster children in your home?

We teach the children to start believing in themselves, to work as a team, and be an active family member.  All these things play a vital role in our family.  However, first and foremost, we teach them the love of God.

2)    What kind of support does MC provide for you and your family? How does MC exceed your expectations?

Stephen and I have gotten eight years of support from Mountain Circle.  We have been in contact with some great caseworkers that over the years have not only been there for the children but also for us parents.  We have worked together hand in hand in order to help our family work for so many foster children who have come through our doors.

3)What are the positive experiences or life lessons you learned from being a foster parent with MC?

A positive life experience occurs  everyday in our lives with these wonderful children.  They have constantly given us as much as we give them.  In having these children in our home, there is a warmth and love that can be felt.

4)   Recently we heard of Joseph building a deck in your backyard, how did he get interested in learning this skill? He is so mature and doing so well in your home. What other accomplishments has he made?

_DSC6477 (2)Joe has eventually shown interests outside of the typical teen activities.  One of these activities has been woodworking and building.  This activity has been fostered by our son in law, KC Wiser, who enjoys having a helping hand.  Joe has really come out of his shell. Aaron has also been a huge help in our family business with photography. He is learning the trade and is doing very well.

5)    Heather and Megan called 911 and helped save a man’s life. Please tell us the story. They are outstanding citizens in our community for helping this elderly man who fell. How have you taught them to be such positive addition to our community?

Heather (17) and Megan (13) came upon an elderly man who needed some medical attention.  The girls had the wherewithal to call 911 and give the needed information for help to arrive.  They then both stayed with the man and comforted him until the ambulance came.  We have taught them to give back to the community in any way possible since the community has given us so much.   Do the right thing and good things will happen!

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The Blakeman’s are wonderful in so many ways. They have taught the kids how to be a positive influence in the community!  Parents are the ultimate role models for children. Every word, movement, and action has an effect. No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than the parent. 


In Our Chico Office: 
FP4- Adoption Training
November 14th 10am-3pm
FP1- Orientation
November 21st 10am-noon
FP2- Policy, Procedure, Documentation
November 21st 1pm-7pm
Foster Family BBQ Potluck and “Eat Happy” Food Distribution
November 21st 11am-1pm

In Our Reno Office:

Tuesday, November 3rd 10-2

Friday, November 6th 9-12

Thursday, November 12th 2-5

Friday, November 13th 9-12

November 30th: Pizza party for all foster parents and parents in training.

In Our Greenville/Susanville Offices:

Saturday, October 17th 10-3 (Susanville) Pre-certification Training #2: “Policies, Procedures and Documentation”

Saturday, October 24th 10-3 (Greenville) Pre-certification Training #2: “Policies, Procedures and Documentation”

Saturday, November 7th 10-4 (Susanville) Pre-certification Training #3: “Parenting a Foster Child”

Saturday, November 14th 10-4 (Susanville); Pre-certification Training #3: “Parenting a Foster Child

Saturday, November 21st 10-4 (Susanville) Pre-certification Training #4: “Adoption”

Saturday, December 5th 10-4 (Greenville) Pre-certification Training #4: “Adoption”
HOLIDAY CLOSURE: MC Offices will be closed November 25th-November 29th!

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Reno Office Holidays

This year our Reno office had a master plan for December: Match up Mountain Circle with other local agencies, people or organizations that wanted to do something great at the holidays.  One thing I love about our Agency is that (although the foster children remain anonymous) we invite you to get involved with what we do and where your donations or gifts are going.  When you find great people that want to help and they see what an amazing difference they can make in the lives of others, magical things happen.



Thank you doesn’t remotely sum it up.  Honestly, I don’t have adequate words to express the level of gratitude our Reno office felt towards our “Santa’s Helpers”.  Here are some glimpses into what we were able to pull together with the help of others.  One thing I can be quite frank about:  Our families and children had the best Christmas ever.  Truly.

First was the Sierra Association of Foster Families Christmas Party with the Women’s National Charity League:

Next, two of our Running with the Bears Charity Runners from the 2014 race had a vision of doing something MORE at the holidays.  In San Francisco, Courtney and Erica planned a party.  We sent them a list of children and a few items off of each child’s wish list.  They sent a link to all their friends who were then able to sign up for the gifts they wanted to purchase.  The party was a huge success!!!

Jennifer met them in Sacramento and the exchange was amazing!!!  Just overwhelming!

Next we partnered with the Toys For Tots local branch.  They allowed us to bring our children’s wish lists to the warehouse (several times) until we fulfilled as many items as we could.  Just amazing!!

We also wanted to have a foster parent holiday appreciation party with gift baskets.  Talbots donated TONS of items and created fabulous gift baskets for us.

Then the Department of Taxation donated SIX gift baskets.  Holy cow!!!

Ladies from Department of Taxation!!!

Ladies from Department of Taxation!!!

The Department of Taxation also gave us money to use which covered most of our dinner party at Roller Kingdom.


Roller Kingdom donated their facility for two hours exclusively to our staff and families.  The only things we had to pay for were the pizza and soda.  With Department of Taxation money and a few smaller miscellaneous donations, our entire party was paid for!!!

In the end, Mountain Circle Family Services was able to give our families the BEST Christmas ever and ALL of it was done because people wanted to do something to make a difference.  It’s amazing when people come together – each doing something relatively small – to make such an ENORMOUS difference in the lives of others!!!  Our office was overrun by gifts, baskets and an amazing community feeling of giving.

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Today Decides Tomorrow

Chico State 10

By the time former foster youth are 19 years old, only 57% have received a high school diploma or GED and less than 5% of former foster youth graduate college. That just will not do!

At Mountain Circle Family Services, Inc. we focus on equipping older foster youth with the skills they will need to be productive adults in the real world. We decided to practice what we preach and take some teens to college, CSU, Chico to be exact.

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Because of our dedication to transitioning youth, it is exciting that colleges are starting to have the same goals-reaching out and helping former foster youth navigate the difficult process of college applications, financial aid and academic advising.

One program close to us is PATH Scholars at California State University, Chico. They were nice enough to invite our foster teens for a presentation and a campus tour.

It was an early morning, carpooling from Susanville and Greenville all they way to the big college town of Chico but our awesome foster teens made it and were excited for the day! Upon arrival to the campus the staff asked the high school students their education and career goals. One young woman is considering a career in the medical field while others expressed interest in legal and animal fields.

The presenters were able to give each student individualized attention about their potential fields and which programs would best fit their interests. Marina Fox, Foster Youth Program Coordinator, walked the students through important dates to remember when applying to college. She highlighted that in her PATH Scholars program she would help each student navigate Academic Advising, Admissions, EOP, Financial Aid, Scholarships and Housing!

After the informative session, a Chico State student took up on a tour of the campus highlighting their different departments, beautiful campus and impressive sustainable buildings. In their student WREC center, the stationary exercise bikes supply power to the building! The students were having a blast asking questions, taking selfies at landmarks and most importantly, imaging themselves as students of the university.

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Some of the students looking at graduating class’ time capsules. 

Then, we all got to go out to lunch a few blocks from campus at Franky’s.

Chico State 9


The Italian restaurant was kind enough to donate lunch to our group and the pizza was amazing! Everyone had a great time and the teens got some hands on experience on what college can look like for them. We also want to take them to Butte Community College and Feather River College to give them a junior college experience-and the best part about the trip!? No test at the end!

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Scheels – Thank You

Sparks, Nevada

Sparks, Nevada

My name is Jennifer. I work for Mountain Circle Family Services in Reno, NV.  Our organization serves Nevada and California with foster parents. We also have an annual event – Running with the Bears in Greenvile, CA. Continue reading

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Charity Running – Deanna Morris

Deanna started running 2 1/2 years ago at the tender, young age of 48.  Her sister was training for her first Ironman and Deanna was amazed at her dedication and hard work.  Continue reading

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Charity Running – Rosey Bertoluzza

Rosey ran in high school but never stuck to it afterwards.  She started running again in 2010 to combat the boredom of working from home.  After running consistently for about a month and a half, she ran her first half marathon.  Love was born.  Rosey has run two marathons and tons of other races, but Running with the Bears is BY FAR her favorite!!!  (She did mention that the people are awesome.  Why thank you!)

Rosey loves the feeling of finishing a marathon, but really likes the 10K distance as it’s easier to finish and you can push for a PR – personal record.

Rosey at Running with the Bears!

Rosey at Running with the Bears!

This year is Rosey’s 3rd year with us and she plans to do it every year no matter what.  Last year, just 4 weeks before the race, she shattered her toe but still came to hobble the course.  A friend of hers ran it the first year and once Rosey saw how awesome our organization was and how great the people at Running with the Bears are, she had to run it!  She wants to come back every year and help in any way she can.  She’s a local, so we expect to see her there!!

When asked why she became a charity runner, she replied, “How could I NOT be a charity runner?!”  Raising money for children is a no brainer especially in a small area.  She feels that the foster kids deserve all the best that any child gets.  Her in-laws owned boys homes years ago for some of the toughest boys in the major cities.  Hearing the stories of how they took the kids camping or how even some of the hardest of kids fell in love with the outdoors makes her want to help bring that to other kids who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity.  The donations they received from people and businesses to help bring new clothes and shoes to kids that would never have been able to have them, drives Rosey on to be someone who can help provide that as well.

Rosey at CIM

Rosey at CIM

Rosey generally only participates in events that have a charity or a cause she feels is worthwhile.  She feels she doesn’t perform well on race day, so she enjoys the atmosphere of the race.  Running with the Bears is a small town race and the feel of it and the people makes it one of her favorites.  How can you not love parking in a pasture and having the start/finish line on someone’s front steps??

Donate to Roseys page HERE

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Charity Running – Jamie Kelley

Last year Jamie completed her first half marathon and would like to complete a full marathon next year.  It’s the first time she’s joined us at Running with the Bears and heard about our race online.  Her boyfriends family is from Greenville.  Running for a good cause made it worth coming since she knew the efforts that go into her training make completing the race a great feeling.

Jamie cheered in high school. She originally wanted to sigh up for a race just for motivation to keep running and stay with it as a form of exercise, but found it so rewarding and fun after finishing the first race, she was hooked. She loves having her boyfriend there waiting for her or seeing him along the course since he comes to cheer her on at each race.

Donate to Jamie’s page HERE 

Jamie Kelley 1 Jamie Kelley 2 Jamie Kelley 3

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