Stories from our youth and staff on DreamTree Project’s impact on their lives.
This is the family DreamTree built.
“This is the family that DreamTree built,” says Jessica, a DreamTree graduate.
Jessica and Archie arrived separately to DreamTree Project in 2001 with their lives in crisis. Through our Transitional Living Program, they found refuge & resources to begin the years of hard work ahead of them, but they also found each other.
This spring, when the couple returned to DreamTree for the first time in all these years, they brought with them their three children — ages 10, 12, and 15.
Presently, Jessica, Archie and their family live in Texas. The couple are chefs at a health food store. They’re very open with their children about their difficult pasts and how they were able to overcome them. Their number one priority is making sure their kids receive an exceptional education and that they’re safe and happy. Jessica noted during their visit, “If it weren’t for DreamTree Project, we wouldn’t be together, and we sure wouldn’t have made it.”
Catherine Hummel, Executive Director of DreamTree Project, commented, “They are bright, attentive kids, interested in veterinary medicine, marching band, and virtual reality. It was incredible to see how bright the future can be for any of the youth we have in our emergency shelter or transitional program today.”
Success stories like these are possible with donations from community members like you.
People like you give Jessica and Archie a chance.
“If it weren’t for DreamTree Project, we wouldn’t be together, and we sure wouldn’t have made it.”
— Jessica, DreamTree Graduate
Giving Back In A Big Way.
When we have the support we need growing up, it’s easy to take it for granted. When we don’t, every success is a major step to becoming an adult.
A youth in the DreamTree Apartments will soon graduate to independence. For the last (2) years, she has transitioned into young adulthood. With the help of her Case Managers, she obtained a copy of her birth certificate, secured a job at Assistance Dogs of the West, and graduated from high school here in Taos. This Fall, she will begin a 10-month tour with AmeriCorps.
Today, with experience attending school and work shifts regularly, a high school diploma, and vital life skills, this youth is well on her way to becoming a productive, independent adult.
The joy of cooking — together.
A few weeks ago, we were curious how the shelter group (7 youth) would react to our scheduled Saturday activity: buying food at the farmer’s market to prepare a meal. We told them we trusted their ability to find and buy foods they really wanted. We were relieved when they dove right in and rocked it.
They were so excited!
They trusted their peers to return extra money, combined funds to make larger purchases and refrained from buying things only for themselves.
They chose heirloom tomatoes, several kinds of lettuce and greens, onions, homemade tortillas, and fresh roasted green chile.
When they came home, they all wanted to be in the kitchen and help out with cooking the meal — TOGETHER!
They laughed, jammed music, smelled produce and were really excited about their home-cooked lunch. We had an amazing taco salad that day! The best part was watching them work together and feeling inspired and encouraged to do this work because, with days and moments like these, you could see their joy and excitement.
Let them know they’re not alone.
Recently, a youth showed up at the shelter after an AWOL around midnight. They were very intoxicated and sent to the ER for medical clearance. I was on call, so I joined them at the ER and stayed with the youthfor hours.
Although I could have been upset — I felt so much compassion for them.It was clear this youth was seeking love and attention from their parents by using drugs and alcohol.
I told them how responsible and wise it was to come back to the shelter and ask for help. Once the youth sobered up, I brought them back to the shelter and they went right to bed.
I feel dedicated to my work and have faith that our work at DreamTree really helps save the lives of our youth and give them another chance.
“DreamTree really helps save the lives of our youth and give them another chance.”
— Alexandra Grajeda, Teen Service Specialist
A brighter future.
Diego is a 16-year-old who returned to DreamTree’s Emergency Youth Shelter, on his own accord, after living on the streets. During his second stint at DreamTree, he took advantage of our outdoor programs & found new passion for nature, hunting & fishing.
When it came time for Diego to leave, he invited DreamTree youth, staff & his grandfather to a “Graduation Dinner.”
With maturity & enthusiasm, Diego left DreamTree for a residential treatment center, with the intention of returning to DreamTree’s Transitional Living Program.
Our staff loved getting to Diego, we know his future is bright!
Healing family ties.
Sara, a pregnant teen living in a DreamTree Apartment (our Transitional Living Program), hadn’t spoken to her mother for months.
Over Christmas, her mother contacted her DreamTree Case Manager to plan a surprise visit. This reunion was the breakthrough this family needed.
Today they are working to heal their relationship & Sara’s mother joins her for every prenatal doctor visit. With the help of DreamTree staff, Sara also goes to school full-time & aims to earn her diploma.