SMRC Fundraiser at Telluride Conference Center Saturday
TELLURIDE – What’s better than Vegas? A Vegas-in-Telluride party, drenched in chocolate, and supporting one of the region’s most significant community service organizations.
The San Miguel Resource Center, the domestic violence and sexual assault crisis center based in Telluride, rolls out its Chocolate Lover’s Fling – the nonprofit’s legendary annual fundraiser – Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village.
Complete with a new VIP lounge and professionally run gaming tables, the party will take the SMRC event to new star-studded heights, with chances to win lavish prizes (a one-week stay in Tuscan villa, anyone?) at the silent auction, plus a 50/50 raffle, Grand Prizes for the evening’s best gamers and best costumes… and don’t forget the sumptuous, chocolate-soaked desserts!
In addition to the ever-decadent bites created by the area’s best professional chefs, this year’s Amateur Chocolate Competition headlines with a new title, commemorating one of its greatest dessert chefs, with the First Annual Sharon Shuteran Amateur Chocolate Competition pitting homestyle bakers and chocolatiers against one another for the chance to see their name on the 2013 Sharon Shuteran plaque. Shuteran, the longtime San Miguel County judge (and an even longer-time Telluride resident) was a strong SMRC supporter (and frequent Amateur Chocolate Contest winner) who died unexpectedly in May 2012.
While this year’s Chocolate Lover’s Fling boasts a lot to love, for Telluride’s Vegas-craving residents, the party is also a big part of what helps the SMRC do the work it does around the county. SMRC Co-Executive Director Melanie Montoya says the Fling has become the nonprofit’s signature fundraiser, providing close to one-third of the group’s annual budget.
As Montoya explains it, the Fling, bringing additional financial support augmenting what SMRC receives from federal, state, and local entities (including the Telluride Foundation, the towns of Telluride and Mountain Village and San Miguel County,) allows the organization to provide vital services to San Miguel and West Montrose County residents, male and female alike.
“When there is an incident of abuse, whether it’s sexual or interpersonal,” says Montoya, “it’s hard for people to know what to do, because their whole world can be turned upside down. From providing emotional support, to helping people navigate the legal system, we are there to help with all of the pieces,” she says of the SMRC’s myriad array of services, ranging from a 24-hour crisis hotline to an emergency shelter (and safe housing), advocacy, accompaniment, legal advocacy, art alchemy, cultural outreach, school-based prevention education, community education, and an advocate program.
National statistics highlight the importance of providing such services in the community, with sexual assault or domestic violence impacting as many as one in three women, and one in six men.
“Those national statistics don’t exclude us just because we live in a beautiful, wonderful place,” Montoya emphasizes, noting that SMRC serves over 200 clients, and fields thousands of hotline calls and provides nearly as many in-person contacts, every year.
SMRC’s Prevention Education Program has grown immensely in recent years, with Prevention Education Specialist Kara Johnson giving presentations in every school in SMRC’s service area to raise awareness, reduce risks, and promote healthy relationships. Last year Johnson provided 344 school presentations; this year, SMRC expects to provide over 400 school presentations.
All SMRC services are provided at no cost, and are completely confidential.
The 18th annual Chocolate Lover’s Fling, “Vegas Baby,” comes to the Telluride Conference Center this Saturday, Feb. 2, 7:30 to 11:30 p.m., with music from DJ Harry. The new Gaming Floor features blackjack, roulette, craps and poker. Tickets ($50/single and $90 per couple, with $125 for VIP tickets), and are available for purchase at Two Skirts in Telluride or at www.sanmiguelresourcecenter.org.