Free Community Tree Lighting Celebration on December 1

Nov 30, 2021 | Member News

Realities for Children Big Blue NightLights Tree shines light on child abuse

Realities for Children invites the community to attend its 24th annual tree lighting ceremony at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 1, in the courtyard of the First Presbyterian Church, 531 South College Avenue in Fort Collins.

The Big Blue NightLights Tree brings awareness to the issues of child abuse and neglect, letting thousands of Larimer County children impacted by these acts of darkness know that they are not alone. This tree of over 20,000 lights is blue to represent the international color for child abuse prevention and awareness. Community members – individuals, families, and businesses – are encouraged to sponsor a light, which will provide emergency services to children that have been abused or neglected in Larimer County through its 39 partner agencies.

“We invite everyone to join us for a fun and emotional hour as we light the 50-foot-tall NightLights Tree, for children in need in our community. The NightLights Tree itself is a remarkable work of art, compassion and love – and we are so thankful for everyone who comes together to make this happen every year,” said Craig Secher, Realities for Children executive director. “In December, we expect to serve nearly 2,500 children and are genuinely grateful for each light purchased which serves as a beacon of hope for children that have been abused, neglected, abandoned or at-risk.”RIS Program 2021

Highlights of the evening include:

  • Music by 17-year-old sensation, singer-songwriter Emma Marie, and Steve Manshel, former member the hit-making band Firefall; his song Innocent Victim serves as a musical cornerstone for child-abuse benefits
  • An opportunity to meet 21 of Realities’ 39 partner agencies and learn more about each
  • To hear how important a NightLight is in the life of one of the children served
  • Free food and beverages, including hot chocolate and cookies
  • Drawing for a chance to win a 33-pound chocolate Santa courtesy of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
  • A visit from Santa Claus

As a gift to everyone, the 10-minute light show runs every half hour each night throughout December.  In 2020, Realities for Children provided Emergency Services support to 5,618 children. Secher asks the community to “Help take a child out of the darkness of abuse and give them a NighLlight.”

To purchase a NightLight or make a donation, visit or call 970.484.9090.


About Realities for Children:

Realities for Children was incorporated in 1995 and has been funding the unmet needs of Larimer County children who have been abused, neglected or are at-risk since 1996. Currently, Realities for Children supports the services of 39 Partner Youth Agencies and represents nearly 250 Business Members invested in making it their business to make a difference. In 2020, Larimer County fielded 5,017 new referrals of child abuse and neglect. We strongly believe the collaboration is the path to the greatest change. Business membership fees underwrite all administrative costs, ensuing that 100% of all donations go directly to support the needs of children in our community.


Emergency Funding is provided for services and immediate needs for children who have been abused, neglected or are at-risk, and are requested by Partner Agencies. This emergency resource is accessible when all other resources have been exhausted, or are unavailable, and is available within 60 minutes of the request, creating a true county-wide safety net so no child in need is forgotten.