Welcoming Spring as a Volunteer

By KATHY COSTER
Scottsdale Leadership Class 24

On Saturday, March 27, the Paiute Neighborhood Center offered its Welcome Spring event, where families are invited to participate in arts and crafts, games and an egg hunt. I volunteered at this event, doing hands on pre-event activities such as setting up tables, craft preparation and signage.  The spirit was fun and relaxed. If you haven’t visited the center it offers a variety of services to the community; free afterschool programs, summer recreation programs, driving classes, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, pre-school programs from the Scottsdale Public Library and legal advice.

This annual event is supported by an organization of moms and daughters from the Scottsdale Area.  The National Charity League fosters mother-daughter relationships in a philanthropic organization committed to community service, leadership development and cultural experiences.  The local chapter also supports several other events at Paiute, including a holiday dinner during December where hundreds show up for games, crafts and food.

After helping to setup, I volunteered at the bag giveaway.  Every child received a white paper bag to decorate.  They loved the bags, designing them to reflect their interests.  One little girl was so pleased with her purple and pink themed bag; she told me “I want to hang it in my room.”  Parents and siblings helped the younger ones.  The patience of the Moms and Dads and the sheer fun of it were infectious.

Bag supply depleted, I was ready to move on to my next demanding post.  I was summoned to the Sno-cone machine!

Now, I have not had a Sno-cone since 1963.  But after shredding the ice and filling cups, I must admit I was garnering a taste.  It was hot in the sun and the line did not stop.  There is a science to making the Sno-cones stick.  If the ice is too cold, you can’t form it in the cones – H2O needs to be added.  This scientific exploration was conducted in the laboratory of 300 kids and parents wanting a personalized cone – – cherry, bubblegum, orange or a combination of all three?  Three volunteers and staffers had this fast-food concocting down to an art.  The customers were patient and always said thank-you in English and Spanish.

I came home feeling happy – the kids and their families had a great time and obviously were regular users of the Paiute Neighborhood Center.  Center overseer Valerie Kime Trujillo said thank you many times and also remarked “now you see what we do every day at Paiute.”  Thanks Valerie, staffers and volunteers.  You make the City of Scottsdale a good place to live for everyone!

Paiute offers the Headstart program for 3-5 year-olds, a teen center, computer classes, arts and crafts classes, free afterschool programs, summer recreation programs, tutoring, senior services, dance, social services (medical care, translations, emergency food boxes, car seats, notary public, clothing), earn-a-bike via Handlebar Helpers, English Second Language (ESL) classes, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) driving class and legal advice.  For more information please visit http://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/parks/paiute/

A Cinco de Mayo event is held every year.   Great time to offer your volunteer help!

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