For avid hiker and outdoorsman Jon Mitovich, the sky’s the limit when it comes to battling family homelessness.
Over 40 years, Mitovich has climbed most of the mountains in Colorado and his home state of New Mexico, as well as Washington’s Mt. Rainier. All the while, another mountain loomed on his horizon: Mt. Kilimanjaro. At 19,341 feet, Tanzania’s Mt. Kili, as it has been nicknamed by trekkers, is the tallest mountain in Africa and the highest freestanding mountain in the world.
“Mountain climbing puts you in your place in relation to Mother Nature,” Mitovich says. He describes the sport as a humbling experience. Much like homelessness.
Although Mitovich’s wife doesn’t share his love of higher altitudes (“She’s more of a beach and palm trees person,” he jokes), the couple is deeply concerned about the crisis of family homelessness. They volunteer at Family Promise of Albuquerque and have often contemplated how to do more.
Four years ago, when they sold their family business and found themselves with extra time and resources, it seemed Mt. Kili’s day had come. While training for the climb, Mitovich, who admits the mind can wander into thought-provoking territory from the side of a mountain, says he realized there was a higher purpose to his adventure.
He and his wife agreed he should seek sponsors and make the climb on behalf of Family Promise.
Over seven days and 47 miles of rough, steep terrain, Mitovich says his mission kept him motivated. With every step of his journey, in addition to the heavy backpack he carried, Mitovich felt the weight of a great responsibility to the families he served.
“I was carrying the hopes and dreams of a lot of people,” he recalls. “In the end, it’s like I’d carried all these people with me to the top.”
On Saturday, August 25th – his birthday – Mitovich summited the mountain. Allowing for the change in time zones, it was Sunday morning in the middle of church service when he reported back home that he’d made it to the peak, and his pastor shared the news with his congregation in real time.
Support for Mitovich’s fundraising event exceeded $18,000. He shared how simple it was to turn a life event into a way to help families in need.
“So many things we do in life – if you take it a step further it can be so much more. I’m just trying to make a little difference in the world,” he says modestly. “I always felt this was something more than just climbing a mountain. Doing it for Family Promise made it especially meaningful.”
Mitovich is one of many supporters who have successfully created fundraisers for Family Promise. Through 5K races, bike tours, birthdays, and more, individuals and groups have enlisted supporters to give greater purpose to some of the special events and occasions in their lives. For information on how you can make a difference for a family in need, click here. (https://donate.familypromise.org/my-FP-Fundraiser)