KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOR: Dolores “Lola” Lewis
All around the world, people give thanks for many things – family, friends, a home, career and other material and nonmaterial items. Thanksgiving Day has passed for those who celebrate it, but for Taos resident Dolores “Lola” Lewis, she gives thanks every day.
“I have much for which to be thankful,” said Lewis. “I have a job that I consider helpful to our clients, a community that helps our organization’s efforts, a wonderful family and enjoyable spare time activities.”
Lewis, a sexual assault victim advocate and sexual abuse prevention coordinator for the nonprofit Community Against Violence, has worked in her position for six years. Some of her duties include connecting victims to services and advocating for them.
Lewis accompanies victims to exams and reports to law officials and the judicial system. Lewis collaborates with other partners, such as law enforcement and the district attorney’s office. “In general, I make certain the program works well and that I’m there for the client,” Lewis said.
Lewis’ positions also include assisting with fundraising efforts and reporting on grants. “Our annual goal is $150,000. This year, the Radiothon raised $76,000, so we’re not quite there yet,” she said.
The victim advocate added that the organization accepts donations throughout the year. Funding of this type assists to keep the doors open. “In recent times, we have served over 800 adults and children and provided out of town transportation if necessary,” related Lewis.
In general, Thanksgiving celebrations include great food and a meal chiefly reserved for family. But at the CAV shelter, Thanksgiving is much more frequent.
Churches and residents oftentimes donate food. In cases where the food donation arrives raw, the ladies cook, according to Lewis. “The main thing for which everyone is thankful is to have a safe haven for themselves and their children, especially during the cold weather. They have a roof over their heads and some warmth,” said Lewis. “Who knows where they’d be if not for the shelter?”
Lewis, daughter of the late Jose Caraveo and Maxine Caraveo, lived in Costilla until fourth-grade when the family moved to Taos. She grew up as the youngest of five children.
Her siblings include Eli Martinez (Shirley) of Salt Lake City, Randy Martinez of Taos, Anthony Martinez of Taos and Mary Chavez (Hector) of Taos. Her siblings’ five children make their aunt proud.
In 1999, Dolores Caraveo Lewis graduated from Taos High. She attended University of New Mexico-Taos and then transferred to UNM in Albuquerque. After a break from education, Lewis returned to Taos in 2005 and earned her bachelor’s degree.
She worked odd jobs for four years and cared for her son who was diagnosed, before he was five years old, with leukemia. “My son is a cancer survivor, and I thank God every day that he’s better now,” said Lewis.
She married Chad Lewis, and they had two sons. Joe Anthony, 13, the youngster in remission, attends Taos Academy as an eighth-grader. Rainy, 2½, enjoys his role as the youngest son.
Besides gratitude for a full, rich career life, Lewis also feels thankful for a wonderful personal family life. She helps her husband Chad build the family business, Lewis Vending, serving Taos, Española and Santa Fe.
She is involved in The Potter’s House, an important part of her life, as a nursery worker. In addition, some of her favorite pastimes are reading true crime books and watching reality shows and “The Walking Dead.”
In this season of gratitude, Lewis summed up her sentiments for giving thanks: “I’d like to thank the community for being so generous in supporting our cause with CAV this past 40 years. We’re thankful for the backing of the community. We wouldn’t be here without such help.”
Dolores “Lola” Lewis