[click "Play" to hear Meehan Fee's conversation with Susan]
Experts define abuse as anything from a vague feeling something is wrong to violence. The San Miguel Resource Center is the Telluride region’s one-stop shop for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, serving roughly 200 unduplicated clients a year in a population base of about 6,000, spanning the area between southwestern Colorado’s San Miguel County and the western end of Montrose County.
Help for the Center’s clients includes a wide range of services in English and Spanish: community outreach/education, crisis intervention, professionally facilitated support groups, advocacy (to help clients with court services, employers, housing, transportation).
The Center receives 1/3 of its funding from local and state organizations 1/3 from larger government grants specifically geared to organizations providing victim services, and 1/3 from fundraising, including the Chocolate Lovers’ Fling. (Funds raised at the Fling are critical because they are discretionary, unlike government grants.) The 15th annual Fling is scheduled for Saturday night, February 6, 7:30 – 11:30 p.m.
Why so close to Valentine’s Day, the holy of holies for lovers. A cruel joke? A paradox? Not at all: the Center is all about putting an end to interpersonal violence in our extended community and promoting healthy, loving relationships first with yourself, then with a supportive partner.
Cynics insist Valentine’s Day is the day men atone for their ignorance by buying sweethearts toasters and scant silky undergarments and women make desperate attempts to put the magic back into relationships by swooning over professional basketball. The rest of the world, however, seems to swallow the softer, gentler notion of the holiday like, well, chocolate, at the center of the Fling in the form of a buffet, overflowing with decadent deserts prepared, often sculpted, by talented regional chefs.
The Fling committee is notorious for thinking outside the frame, coming up with themes designed to put people in a party mood. Putting on a costume, after all, invites personal transformation, a subtle way of reinforcing the Center’s message.
Over the years, The Fling has invited guests to “Puttin’ On the Ritz,” recalling the swizzle stick glamour of the 1930s/1940s, “An Evening of Salsa,” “A Night in Havana,” “Disco Inferno,” “Prom Night,” “Hooray for Hollywood,” and this year, “Love Boat,” a 1970/80s TV phenomena that suggested love was not just in the air, but out at sea. On Love Boat, the ship’s captain and crew played Cupid. Their arrows generally hit the mark.
For the event, the insides of the Telluride Conference Center have been transformed into a cruise ship. (On Love Boat, it was the Pacific Princess.) Guests are invited to dress as crew or passengers, and as on “Love Boat,” we are talking major celebrities such as Charo, Debbie Allen, Desi Arnaz, Sonny Bono Zsa Zsa Gabor. D.J. Harry is back on deck to spin dance music.
To learn more about the fun and games, click the “play” button and listen to committee member (and GM, Telluride Conference Center) Meehan Fee’s podcast.