She was born in Mexico, and despite her hardships, Ana Koepke has always loved helping others. Every year, her family would dress up as Santa Claus and go to the orphanage so all of the children were able to experience a magical Christmas.
“I have amazing parents, but we did go through some hardships,” says Ana Koepke, the President and Co-Founder of the nonprofit We’re In This Together (WITT).
Now, Ana isn’t a child in Mexico dressing up as Santa Claus, instead, she is Mrs. Claus with her husband, Travis, who becomes the Jolly O’ Santa. Her three-year-old daughter has helped out with the nonprofit, and the newest addition to her family is her son. Both of her children will dress up as elves for Christmas this year. Now accompanied by her young elves, the Koepke’s will surprise families and drop off food, toys and clothes.
“I guess it’s my way of giving back and being so grateful for the life that I’ve gotten to experience. I can’t imagine having hardships and not having that love and support that I’ve had,” Ana says.
Ana started WITT in 2019, but she has always taken the time to help young adults who have been given a tough life. The young adults she helps, have not necessarily chosen a life of hardships, but factors out of their control have led some of them to the Denver Children’s Home. From supplying young adults with winter gear to bringing them school supplies, WITT focuses on basic essentials that all children need. Not only does Ana help kids in her local community, but she also helps young adults in Mexico.
“The kids that were at the Denver Children’s Home, they never knew someone that was consistently there. So when we showed up, kids were shaking and they couldn’t even sit down and have breakfast next to an adult because they’ve gone through so much,” Ana says. “Kids that know we’re going to show up are like singing karaoke,” Ana says. “It’s just so remarkable to see.”
Some children go to the Denver Children’s Home because their parents are incarcerated, or they are in and out of their household or foster care. “Anything you can think of, all of these kids have gone through some type of physical or mental abuse,” Ana says.
Through the nonprofit, Ana can give these young adults extraordinary experiences that might seem normal to other people.
“We’ve taken them to the Zoo for the first time. For them, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it’s been so magical… It’s been amazing to watch them be kids,” Ana says. “Things that seem normal to us or not a big deal like a homemade breakfast is life-changing for them. They need to know that they matter and people care.”
Ana’s daughter went with her parents to hand out toys for Christmas last year. “She had seen a barbie, and she was holding on to it because she wanted it, and then she saw a little girl,” Ana says. “She looked down at the barbie and she handed it out to that little girl.”
This act of kindness that Ana saw in her daughter made her mom-heart so happy. “We were just crying because we saw that she is looking at what we’re doing and even though she’s still little, she’s getting it.”
The WITT nonprofit is helping young adults in several different ways. People can support the nonprofit by donating, volunteering or attending events.
“Show them what they’re capable of and spread as much love and joy as we possibly can to those kids,” Ana says. “We’re going to have a brighter future if we do so.”