It’s holiday time. I love this time of year – the lights on the Plaza in downtown Santa Fe, rooftop luminarias, the hum of excitement and getting together with friends. December is the month when I focus on my favorite charities and give what I can. Here are some of my favorites:
Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus offers Santa Feans live classical music played and sung by top-notch musicians. This organization has a special place in my heart, in part because my husband, Frank, served as President of the Board (2017 – 2020) and as Interim Executive Director for nine months. I love the fact that music education is all-important to the organization. Members of the Symphony mentor aspiring musicians in Santa Fe public schools. And at least once a year, fourth graders fill the Lensic Theater in downtown Santa Fe for a free Symphony performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf narrated in Spanish and English by author and storyteller Joe Hayes.
Santa Fe Youth Symphony inspires young people throughout Northern New Mexico’s multicultural communities through music education guided by professionals and opportunities to perform.
Doctors Without Borders is at the top of my list, especially during these days and weeks of endless war-related heartbreak. I also give to the Food Depot, the no-cost, healthful food bank for nearly 40,000 New Mexicans in nine counties in Northern New Mexico.
Reading is Fundamental inspires the joy of reading in young children, sparking imagination and possibilities. As an avid watcher and listener of PBS, I support New Mexico PBS. And for the past two years, since it began, the Santa Fe International Literary Festival is on my must-support list.
The Animal Protection Society of Chapel Hill, NC, founded by my late husband Joe Nagelschmidt has evolved into Paws4Ever in Methane, NC. My donation carries a request to focus on adoption. I also support the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and with a caring eye on animals in the wild, I support the World Wildlife Fund.
These are just a few of my favorite charities. Please share yours with me.
I'm Shirley Melis. You may know me as Shirley M. Nagelschmidt, Shirley M. Bessey and now, Shirley M. Hirsch. Each reflects a particular phase of my life. Banged-Up Heart is a slice of my life's journey and in telling my story, I'm giving voice to my long silent "M" by reclaiming my maiden name, Shirley Melis.