Family Tree asks the community to count its comforts

Nonprofit seeks donations through its #CountYourComforts challenge


Rich Karlis had just wrapped up his second season as a kicker for the Denver Broncos, and he was trying to figure out what to do with his free time. When he learned about Family Tree — a nonprofit headquartered in Jefferson County that works with people affected by child abuse, domestic violence and homelessness — he had his answer.

“I was fortunate enough to meet some really special people at Family Tree and quickly discovered where I can use the visibility of the Denver Broncos to raise awareness around domestic violence and child abuse,” said Karlis, who played for the Broncos for seven years until after the 1988 season.

During his 1984 season, Karlis’s field goals meant more than just points for his team: For every successsful field goal, he made a donation to Family Tree.

Now, Karlis and Family Tree are asking the community to support the nonprofit through the #CountYourComforts challenge.

Family Tree is challenging the community to recognize comforts through the hashtag, make a small donation and challenge five others to do the same. Comforts can be little things from being able to turn on a light to having a vehicle to drive — things that some of Family Tree’s clients can’t do.

The #CountYourComforts campaign is meant to show that those impacted by child abuse, domestic violence and homelessness don’t have comforts that are basic needs.

“When you count your comforts you’re helping start a conversation about the need for Family Tree’s services, which is imperative to our work,” said Scott Shields, Family Tree’s chief executive officer. “We know our community cares about the issues we address, and by asking people to acknowledge their comforts, we will create a new campaign regarding the urgency to confront these challenges.”

Aurora resident Mary Adams credits Family Tree with helping her get back on her feet.

In 2006, she had a stable job, but a major stroke upended her life. Adams lost her job, didn’t have any savings and gained custody of her three granddaughters. She sought help at Family Tree’s House of Hope, a shelter for women and children in Englewood, and was able to get a job that she still has to this day.

“I didn’t know what we were going to do, but I knew failure wasn’t an option,” Adams said. “The House of Hope was a lifesaver for the girls and I.”


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