A social event that offers a jump-start on holiday shopping, the Rocky Mountain Christmas Boutique is a fundraiser for Choices, a nonprofit organization that intervenes when young people are caught in unplanned or crisis pregnancies.
Choices’ volunteer Dianna McMillan founded the boutique 11 years to raise supplemental funds for the organization, which has offices near the high schools in Woodland Park and Cripple Creek.
This year, Nancy Springston is leading the effort for Choices to host the annual boutique. “She works all year long with her team of artisans,” said Teresa Diamond, chief executive officer.
The boutique beckons area artists who work all year on the items. “That’s what artists do — they create. It’s their outlet,” Diamond said. “The whole concept of the boutique is bringing these artists’ collections together and have a great two-day sale,” she said. “That’s how they want to give to Choices.”
When the artists outdo themselves with their creativity, the nonprofit takes advantage of a discounted rate at Tregos Storage in Divide.
The handmade items include fall and Christmas décor, painted glassware, aprons, wreaths, handcrafted wooden items, lanterns, baked good, jellies and candies and ornaments.
The proceeds help Choices continue to offer free services including pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, the testing and some treatment for sexually transmitted infections and mentoring by trained volunteers with Earn While You Learn Parenting education classes. In the classes, parent mentors meet with the young parents, covering everything from pregnancy to labor and delivery through the developmental stages for the first three years of the baby’s life. The parents earn baby bucks, which can be used to purchase all the supplies they need to help support their baby. Everything from diapers, wipes, food, and clothing to cribs, playpens, high-chairs and toys.
“The relationship the mentor develops with the young parent and child is beautiful to witness,” Diamond said. “The courage to parent at a young age is commendable and we are glad to be able to lend support.”
The mentor continues to provide support for the first three years of the baby’s life, through the developmental stages. “It helps to know if the child is on track, or maybe they’re not on track,” Diamond said. “It’s a beautiful thing to see. But it’s a hard decision for them to choose life and learn how to do all that.”
Diamond credits the volunteers for their work in helping young people in crisis. “Without the volunteers, we couldn’t do what we do,” she said. “Volunteering is a skill set that I don’t think we’re transferring to the next generation as much.”
Choices supports the Pioneer Store in the Cripple Creek-Victor Jr. Senior/High School, which is managed by Cheryl Birch. “We want to be involved because we have educators teaching health classes at the high school,” Diamond said.
Currently, Choices is in the process of a re-branding to include a change in the logo, which is designed to appeal to teenagers. “Our services remain the same; the change is just a freshening up,” Diamond said.
For information, call Choices at 719-284-2300 (Woodland Park) or 719-465-0123 (Cripple Creek).