By Rich Campana
Great Hearts Academies
“I am nothing without somebody and it’s the somebodies that changed my destiny.” –Ted Taylor
During our first field day of the Core Program at Scottsdale Leadership, we were brought to two little-known meccas for Social Services for our community: Paiute Neighborhood Center and Granite Reef Senior Center.
Although these centers might not be familiar to every Scottsdale resident, the impact they have on the community that utilizes their services is evident. Whether it’s the student who attends Boys & Girls Club every day, or the 98% of parents who participate in Parent/Teacher conferences at Hirsch Academy, or Frank, a Scottsdale resident who has had lunch every day for 15 years at the Senior Center – these are life-changing, life-sustaining community centers. All Scottsdale residents should not only know about these havens, but feel fortunate to live in a city that offers so many services for young and old.
“You can get everything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want in life.” – Ted Taylor
In 2014, Arizona ranked in the Top 5 states for highest rate of “food insecure people.” Almost 8.8% of Scottsdale’s residents are not sure where they will get their next meal.
Unanimously, our Scottsdale Leadership classed asked Danny Gallenos from Vista del Camino Food Bank, “What can we do? How can we get involved? Where can I give?” Concerned Citizens are partnering with the community to take donations, create a website, add locations, donate food and raise awareness that Vista del Camino Food Bank and is here to help solve our food insecurity problem.
“Why is it so hard to trust? Even ourselves?” – Ted Taylor
In fact, why it is so hard to trust our local government? We filled eight hours learning about all the ways that the City of Scottsdale gives back to its citizens. Career centers, rent/utility assistance, homeless shelters, tax prep, Scottsdale Police Department, WIC, Meals on Wheels for seniors, Scottsdale Cares, STARS, housing rehabilitation programs…We can trust that our city is working tirelessly to care for her people.
“I’m going for gold today, coach!!” – Neal Halliham
The Adaptive Services Center is the bridge between our citizens with disabilities and programs provided by the City. They create awareness through dances, retreats, after-school and summer school programs, inclusion and accommodation services, and Special Olympics. Neal was a great reminder that we don’t need much to live life with joy.
“Do you learn more from the mountaintops or the valleys?” – Ted Taylor
Finally, our class learned about the Scottsdale Family Advocacy Center, which provides hope for residents who have been personally victimized. After a traumatic life event, this center will help guide you from reporting through recovery, rather than diverting you to different offices throughout town. They house the investigative services bureau, police crisis intervention, forensic nurse examiners, child protective services, and units for violent crimes, sex crimes, domestic violence, and gang investigation.
Police Lieutenant Joe Nichols said he struggles with the “tale of two cities,” where the exterior perception and the interior reality do not match. People assume Scottsdale is full of wealthy, prosperous citizens and that nothing bad ever happens. His stories of investigating sex trafficking was an eye-opening reminder that Scottsdale has “big city” problems as well. Thankfully, we also have services like the Scottsdale Family Advocacy Center.
Ready – Fire – Aim
If there was one message that Ted Taylor wanted us to take away from our first day in the core program, it’s this: Be a catalyst for change. Embrace both Joy and Pain. If you are ready to make a difference, don’t wait. Start today, and you can be the miracle that the world needs.