Toree's Hope is a way to continue the desire Toree had to make a positive impact on this world. Adopted out of the foster care system herself, she could relate to the needs of children going through the many challenges early childhood trauma brings.
Toree was looking forward to sharing her story of both struggles and triumphs. She deeply wanted to encourage young people to keep pressing forward, “it will get better!” “There's help and there's hope.” Prior to her passing, Toree had become a beautiful advocate of the mission of Crossfire Ranch.
Toree's childhood was much like many of the children we serve at the ranch. Toree became part of the foster care system at a young age and then adopted by parents who loved her well. Despite a loving adoptive family, childhood trauma was already a part of her story, the affects of which would continue to unfold throughout her life. Toree struggled with knowing her value, regulating her emotions and sought various means of significance & escape that were damaging as she tried to navigate life with the framework she was dealt at a very early age. Her foster/adoptive parents were supportive and sought help for her throughout her years.
In getting to know Toree as an adult you would never have guessed her story was fraught the many challenges she faced. Toree and Crossfire's executive director Heidi became acquainted through Fox Valley Technical College's BizSquad. Toree was a key player in creating a social media plan for the Ranch. Post BizSquad, the two briefly connected during which time Toree shared that she had been in the foster care system. This struck a deep cord in Heidi and Toree was eager to meet to share her story further.
An immediate friendship began as they enjoyed many coffee shops. Toree shared her past, the reality of her struggles as well as the new chapter that was beginning to unfold. Conversations flowed from topics of faith/Jesus to "hey, this is the best coffee yet" to jobs and her beautiful children who were her delight and motivation.
Heidi shared about the mentoring programs at Crossfire and Toree looked forward with sweet anticipation for warmer weather when she would bring her kids to the ranch for sessions and volunteering as she was able. Toree was egar to share her story to help others "hold on" and "hope". So, so much about Toree was filled with strength, courage and wanting to help others. She had a contagious personality that drew people in.
And yet... Toree's life ended short for reasons only the Lord fully knows. There is a hole that was filled by her presence, her smile and her fullness.
In one of their meetings, Toree had shared that she wished there was a place like Crossfire when she was growing up. She was so excited about Crossfire's mentoring programs...the connections, the opportunities, the difference that equine assisted mentoring can make in a child's life and the foundation of faith in Jesus that the Ranch is built on in offering Hope.
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