Benefit

'Our light is always on'

Festival of Trees supports DreamTree Project's mission to save young lives

Laura Bulkin
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 12/4/19

The DreamTree Project's Taos Festival of Trees has earned its place as an eagerly anticipated event on Taos' holiday season calendar. The Festival returns to El Monte Sagrado Resort, 317 Kit Carson Road, on Friday (Dec. 6), 6:30-9:30 p.m. All money raised from the event goes toward DreamTree Project's housing programs and full range of compassionate support services for youth in crisis in the Taos community.

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Benefit

'Our light is always on'

Festival of Trees supports DreamTree Project's mission to save young lives

Posted

The DreamTree Project's Taos Festival of Trees has earned its place as an eagerly anticipated event on Taos' holiday season calendar. The Festival returns to El Monte Sagrado Resort, 317 Kit Carson Road, on Friday (Dec. 6), 6:30-9:30 p.m. All money raised from the event goes toward DreamTree Project's housing programs and full range of compassionate support services for youth in crisis in the Taos community.

DreamTree Project offers an emergency teen shelter, a transitional home and resources for youth throughout Northern New Mexico, including Colfax, Mora, Rio Arriba, Taos and Union counties. It was first conceived by a group of Taos women in 1998, and became fully operational two years later.

Young people who seek refuge at DreamTree may stay as little as an hour or up to 90 days. During their stay, the staff will help them evaluate the situation and navigate available options. DreamTree Apartments are for young adults aged 16 through 24 who do not have a safe place to stay. Residents live independently in an apartment while working and going to school. Case managers help each youth set goals and come up with steps to reach those goals.

The program includes weekly life skills classes on topics like cooking, shopping, budgeting and how to shop for a used car. DreamTree's stated vision: For all New Mexico youth to have stability, support and the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

Irene Loy has been the Development Outreach Coordinator with DreamTree Project for the past four years, building on a long career in nonprofit organizations including healthcare, education, theater and social services.

"In 2020, DreamTree will celebrate 20 full years of serving the community as a nonprofit organization dedicated to housing local youth," Loy said. "We run the only Emergency Youth Shelter and Transitional Living Program for youth in all of Northeastern New Mexico. We are here for young people when they need a place to stay. Youth can access our Emergency Youth Shelter 24/7. Our light is always on.

All proceeds from the Festival of Trees benefit DreamTree Project. This includes our Emergency Youth Shelter (for youth ages 12 to 17), our Transitional Living Program, and our Taos Rehousing Program (co-run with HEART of Taos and the Taos Men's Shelter)."

Loy spoke about the Festival of Trees' slate of activities. "There will be an event raffle, a silent auction, a cash bar, a photo booth and music from The Rifters. The trees and wreaths -- and, new this year, local artwork -- that will be auctioned off in the silent auction will be displayed beautifully throughout the space. Guests will have the opportunity to view all the creative, fun Yuletide-themed trees, wreaths and art pieces there, and place bids on them as they choose to. Local businesses who are sponsoring trees and wreaths are decorating them and local artists are making the art pieces. Together, it will be a lovely sight to behold!"

Artists making their work available for auction include Ed Sandoval, Chris Sullivan, Issa DeNicola, Diana Smith, Erica Wendel-Oglesby, Melinda Littlejohn, Roger Martinez, Melanie Reelmond, Lydia Johnston, Sarah Bush and Mary Barnes, among others.

A still-growing list of raffle prizes features merchandise and generous gift certificates from Rolling Still Distillery, the Trading Post Cafe, Gutiz, Op.Cit Books, Guerrilla Graphix, Pizaños, Storyteller Cinema, High Frequency Loft and Ziggy's.

"We have several sponsors for this event, and more on the way!" said Loy. "We would especially like to thank the Taos News, El Monte Sagrado and the Taos Community Foundation. El Monte Sagrado is fabulous. We'll be in the main ballroom and Sandoval Room. They will be offering free hors d'oeuvres as well as a cash bar. A prix fixe menu will be offered during the event at the resort's De La Tierra Restaurant, and a discounted room rate available for event guests, so it makes a great date night, a way to celebrate the Yuletide season with a loved one."

El Monte Sagrado's Event Coordinator Melisha Romero Sales told us that the resort will also be decorating a tree to be auctioned at the event. "We offer a secluded yet indulgent sanctuary," she said. "Guests are inspired by the nurturing ambiance and mystique of the resort."

Catherine Hummel, executive director of DreamTree Project, said of the event, "We are proud to be bringing back the Festival of Trees this year. The event is a great fit for DreamTree Project, and one we know helps make the Yuletide season more festive here in Taos."

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