This Saturday May 14th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the DreamTree project will hold their first annual Walk a Mile in My Shoes Festival at the Taos Eco Park on Salazar. Originally a walk-a-thon, this year it has evolved into a festival with posted youth stories and artwork, field games, food vendors, live music and a lip-sync battle!
I got in touch with Irene Loy, DreamTree’s Outreach Coordinator, to learn more. As the only Emergency Youth Shelter and Transitional Living Program for homeless youth in the entire northeast region of New Mexico, the DreamTree Project is vital to many members of our community.
The festival this Saturday at the EcoPark is all about building awareness and showing up to support our Taos youth. You may recall the walk-a-thon version of this event from previous years; the original idea, launched in 2009, was to create awareness around the spike in youth suicides in Northern New Mexico. Participants walked along Paseo Del Norte out to the Gorge Bridge and back, sharing youth stories along the way.
The transformation of the event from walk-a-thon to a festival turns a single nugget into a daylong joyful network of support for all youth. When I asked Irene where the festival drew its name from, she so eloquently replied, “We are invested in increasing empathy for homeless youth in our area, and what better way to do that than to read their stories and figuratively walk a mile in their shoes?”
This Saturday’s festivities include live music from Life Support, a DJ session from the famous Miles Bonny, remote broadcasting by KTAOS, field games led by the Field Institute of Taos, and food vendors from Wild Dogz, Coffee Spot, and Mike’s Cajun Cooking. Tickets are $5 for youth ages 12-25 and $25 for adults 25 and up. Children under 11 are free! Tickets come with a free t-shirt and goodie bag while supplies last.
It’s time to get the word out that there’s a network of support for local youth struggling with housing, fleeing from domestic violence, and in need. And good news: the weather is shaping up to be just about perfect. So this Saturday on your way home from the Farmers Market, brunch, or whatever your weekend routine, stop by the Eco Park and walk a mile, or maybe two or three!