WhimSpire was founded in 1997 by the Galaway family. The philosophical foundations of the agency are based on the combined experience and knowledge brought by the founders which includes the development and administration of several other successful treatment foster care agencies, careers in social work research, working in direct services to foster families and youth, and, serving as foster parents.
The WhimSpire name is unusual and often raises questions about its meaning! The name was born while the Galaway family was together for a family vacation, and is the combination of two words, whimsical and inspiration. Though the structure and philosophy of the agency are well thought out and taken seriously, the founding board also recognized the importance of having time to be playful and mischievous. In a nutshell, we found whimsical inspiration!
The first WhimSpire foster families and staff were located in Grand Junction, Colorado. Over time the program expanded to the front range and southwest part of the state. In 2006 the WhimSpire board started conversing with the principals in another non-profit, CommonWorks, about how the two entities could work together. The decision was made to affiliate with CommonWorks in order to maximize efficiencies, provide additional opportunities for staff, and gain access to capital and systems to take our program to the next level.
Effective January 1, 2007, WhimSpire was officially affiliated with CommonWorks. Since this time, the agency has expanded the geographic scope of the foster care program and has begun providing proctor care services for youth placed by the Colorado Division of Youth Corrections and other community based programs such as mentoring and supervised visitation.
The mission of WhimSpire is: “To reclaim and empower youth to become positive participants in their community.” The framework WhimSpire uses to assist in accomplishing its mission is inspired by the Native American “Circle of Courage” developed by Dr. Brendtro and Brokenleg. The principles in the Circle of Courage have been used in the child rearing practices by Native peoples for centuries. The Circle of Courage principles differ from traditional philosophies by building on the strengths and internal power of youth instead of taking a more punitive approach. In addition, they rely on the community as a whole to contribute to the well-being of the individual, instead of focusing on the youth exclusively.
WhimSpire has adopted the “Reclaiming Model” from the Reclaiming Youth at Risk; Our Hope for the Future. All WhimSpire foster parents receive a copy of this book when they are certified. Most simply put, the Reclaiming Model features four main tenets as a guide for working with children: Belonging, Independence, Mastery, and Generosity. Each of these principles intertwines with one another to assist in raising wholly successful adults. Almost every interaction that we have with a child can be shaped around the promotion of these principles.
The Spirit of Belonging: Feeling part of a circle of caring and loving people — whether related or not, helps to strengthen and validate a youth’s notion of his worth in society.
The Spirit of Mastery: Facilitation of small success encourages youth to strive for bigger success.
The Spirit of Independence: The purpose of any external discipline is to build internal discipline.
The Spirit of Generosity: In reaching out to help another, one breaks free from preoccupation of the self.
Circle of Courage
If you live in the state of Colorado, there is a good chance we are not too far away. Fill out our Inquiry Form or give us a call and find out more about foster parenting.