Once while on a day trip to Santa Fe, I stopped at a roadside food cart for a bite and began chatting with the proprietress. She was a young lady, maybe in her mid 20s. When I told her I was from Taos, her face lit up and she said "I used to live in Taos at Dreamtree!" She went on to say that her experience there turned her life around. She proudly (and repeatedly) boasted "It's because of Dreamtree, that I own my own home." She said she was the only one of her peer group who could say that. She told me that Dreamtree takes in messed up young adults, at no cost, and helps them get their lives together. If they need a GED, that's where the focus is; if they need to get into college, they help with that. Residents are required to work and give a portion of their earnings to the staff for safe keeping. (I think she said they hand over 1/3 of their pay but I'm not sure). The woman went on to say that when she "graduated" from Dreamtree and was ready to head out on her own, they gave her $20,000--the money they had banked for her from her pay for all that time. That is the money the woman used to purchase her own mobile home. This conversation happened about 3 years ago.
About 2 years ago, I met another young woman, a friend of my daughter's, who was also an alumnus of Dreamtree. This young lady had been a homeless, heroin addict with a history of criminal offenses that still embarrass her. Out of desperation, she left Albuquerque to get help from Dreamtree in Taos. Currently, this woman is in her final year of college, about to be a social worker. She is also vital part of her community as a frequent, reliable volunteer for projects and events.
As a social worker myself who has worked with young people for most of my career, I know that any program or opportunity can only be as good as the participants want to make it. Apparently, as gauged by the previous review, not every adult who joins the program, makes the most of what it has to offer. Since it is a VOLUNTARY program for ADULTS only, the residents make their own choices. But clearly, the program offers a formula for success if that's what the individual truly wants.
This is a horribly dysfunctional, toxic organization. The staff had allowed every child in their care to become intoxicated. Another to run away. And did nothing! On another occasion they didn't even know the whereabouts of my daughter. I have heard several complaints since then (including that one teen became pregnant by another teen- both in their care), and wish I knew then, what I know now. I would advise anyone considering placement of their teen to run for the hills. My daughter would have been better off on the streets than in the care of this facility.
"But, again, anything a resident does at DreamTree is by his or her own choice."
“In New Mexico, the law says at age 14, you can make your own decisions,” Hummel [Executive Director] said. “You are treated as an adult, and we follow that.” http://www.taosnews.com/news/success_stories/article_6a06b416-4e40-11e4-b719-9b355cdb7532.html
Please if you are considering donating to this facility, DO NOT. DO NOT ENABLE THESE PEOPLE TO ENDANGER CHILDREN!!!
Review from Guidestar