Casa Mesita re-opens its doors

-A A +A
By Carol A. Clark

The atmosphere was clearly jovial at a gathering of volunteers and supporters who’ve labored since 2007 to ensure Casa Mesita Girls Home re-opened its doors to young girls in need.

The attractive home on Sycamore officially re-opened June 26 during a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce.

“This home had to close because the state didn’t pay the bills in a timely manner and they started placing more girls here,” Rep. Jeannette Wallace said. “This is the only state certified home for adolescent girls and there’s a need out there so it’s really nice to be able to serve that need.”

Director Patrick Sullivan of the Small Business Development Center Sullivan serves as Casa Mesita Board treasurer.

“Two years ago we had to make the difficult decision to move the home to an inactive status to take care of some issues,” Sullivan said. “We want to take this opportunity to thank United Way and LANB for providing the home with extraordinary support. We also want to thank the Casa Mesita Thrift Shop, their support over the decades has been invaluable.”

Sullivan also recognized Los Alamos County as a longtime supporter and he thanked state contractor Value Options for providing a community re-investment grant that enables the home to re-open at this time.

“We want to also thank the Casa Mesita board, especially Daniel Bartholomew from LANB as well as the many community members who have supported Casa Mesita over the years,” Sullivan said.

Bartholomew is the chief financial officer at Los Alamos National Bank and chairs the Casa Mesita Board.

“We’re very happy it’s finally opened and although we didn’t expect it to take this long – we’re much stronger after a much-needed time of restructuring and revitalization,” Bartholomew said.

“We have built upon the foundation laid by countless individuals over the years to insure that we continue to serve girls in need and their families with the best possible care. We want to thank the Casa Mesita Thrift Shop, they’ve been a very important supporter of the home from many years and even throughout the closure.”

County Councilor Nona Bowman has been involved with Casa Mesita since its inception.

“I’m delighted it’s re-opened, this is one of the happiest days of my life,” she said as she surveyed the home’s warm and shining interior. “When I first came on council this home came available from the mentally handicapped adult program that had been using it. Rules changed that required extensive renovations and the money wasn’t available so Pete Shalek who chaired the home contacted me. Together we worked with the county to get the title transferred.”

It’s taken two years to get through the bureaucracy to re-open the home, she said.

“Now it can continue its mission to serve girls 12-18 for whom it is no longer possible for them to live in their own homes,” Bowman said.

“The Casa Mesita Thrift Shop raises the additional money to provide the care needed for these girls and they have been very patient during the two years it’s been closed and have continued to pay the loan on the home even though no girls were here.”

The Casa Mesita Operations Board worked patiently and aggressively with the state to meet the requirements necessary to re-open the home, Bowman said.

“The citizens of Los Alamos have supported this home since the 1980s, many donated funds to help provide the extras that teenage girls need,” she said. “Today is a very happy day for me because we’re re-opening the Casa Mesita home for girls who need help.”

Bowman has served the home in many capacities over the years including board chair.

County Councilor Robert Gibson attended the re-opening event with wife Lori Heimdahl Gibson, founder of JUNTOS.

“Casa Mesita has been a part of this community for a very long time and we’re very happy to see it back and very appreciative of all the people who had a part in bringing it back,” Gibson said.

Chamber Member Services Coordinator Katy Korkos helped coordinate the re-opening ribbon cutting ceremony.

“I’m really thrilled,” Korkos said, “because this home is a great community asset that shows our community’s commitment to youth.”

Contact Carol A. Clark at ianews@lamonitor.com or (505) 662-4185 ext. 25. Read her newsblog at www.newsextras.wordpress.com.