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Adults with disabilities express artistic talent, spread holiday cheer in downtown West Palm Beach

12 trees decorated for holidays
'Dressed to a Tree' project in West Palm Beach
Posted at 3:01 PM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-30 18:33:25-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Two area non-profits are teaming up with the city of West Palm Beach to bring some extra holiday cheer to downtown streets.

While walking down Clematis Street during the holidays, there’s no mistaking that the festive season is here.

But move over Sandi tree; there's more than one reason to be jolly in West Palm Beach.

Hannah Zegel is one of the artists behind the "Dressed to a Tree" project, which is described as a fusion of fashion and nature on downtown streets.

The trees are hard to miss, but the project creators want everyone to know that there are people behind each one of these installations.

"It's so nice I have a tree," said Zegel.

Hannah Zegel
Hannah Zegel decorated one of the 12 trees for the holiday "Dressed to a Tree" project in West Palm Beach.

It’s possible because of organizations like Sandra Raffaelli's "aZul For Better Living," a non-profit focused on empowering adults with disabilities through fashion and art.

"Dressing up and fashion is dignifying for our adults with disabilities," Raffaelli.

Raffaelli teamed up with Sea Turtle Adventure's "I Care Program," which gives work and volunteer opportunities to adults with special needs.

Zegel was born with cerebral palsy. However, Sea Turtle Adventures' director Jackie Kingston said that is not what makes her special.

"Hannah is warm, she's kind, she passionate, she's energetic, she is a real friend to me," Kingston said.

Leaders within the city's parks and recreation department support the "Dressed to a Tree" project.

Sandra Raffaelli
Sandra Raffaelli of "azul for Better Living" said her organization focuses on empowering adults with disabilities through fashion and art.

"It’s bringing awareness and inclusion into our programs for the city," said Michelle Terebinski of West Palm Beach Parks and Recreation.

The goal to bring people closer together.

"I love Sandra because she is such a good friend, and she helps out with everything, and I like Jackie. ... I love it," said Zegel.

The decorations might be temporary, but the friendships are everlasting.

The trees will be changing from fall to winter colors next month.

Click here to learn how you can sponsor a tree.