Tag Archives: community service

Leadership Emerging

Cundiff_Nicole NEW

By Nicole Cundiff
Colleen’s Dream Foundation

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead

Last week we put a bow on our Scottsdale Leadership experience. Our last class was filled with an in-depth look into not just our nine-month journey, but more importantly, into our future.

We began our day with a series of questions that required quite a bit of self-reflection.  We had to fill in the blank of various “I am” questions: “I am most resilient, hopeful and strong when I am __________.” These are questions that I wouldn’t normally evaluate, but I enjoyed taking the time to discover how I feel when I am at my best. This incredible exercise offered a deep look into our core values and challenged us to make life choices that directly or indirectly result in feeling resilient, hopeful and strong on a daily basis. We then used these values to help create a vision for our future.  We were tasked with writing letters to ourselves describing who we will be and what we will accomplish in a year from now. I loved this exercise because I am a big believer a manifestation.

When we open our letters in a year, I am excited to see how my life aligns with the vision I created last week. As a busy mom of three kids, I am work, yet fail, every day to create balance. I don’t want to miss any of their special moments, yet I have big dreams of my own. How do I achieve both? Well, the answer lies with defining my core values, making decisions that directly align with those values and setting the intention to make a difference. Sounds pretty easy, right? Probably not for someone like me, but I am up to the task and will let you know whether I was able to find balance next year.

What I found to be most powerful about the day was the push to get involved in the community and/or Scottsdale Leadership. From learning about what it means to be on a nonprofit board to speed-dating ways to get involved with Scottsdale Leadership, we were challenged to recognize the various needs in our community and to have the confidence to make it better. We have been blessed with an amazing experience and now we need to do something with it. We can’t just sit around and wait for someone to act on our behalf, but we have to be the change we want to see.

To round out the day, we had an amazing speaker discuss his leadership role in fighting for the legalization of marijuana after seeing the significant medical impact it has made in his daughter’s life. We were all in tears with his story and inspired by the action he has taken on her behalf. This is exactly the type of leader our world needs more of. We need to be bold, take risks, and most importantly, act!

Scottsdale Leadership has been a phenomenal experience. I have meet amazing people and learned quite a bit about myself and all of the amazing gems and resources that Scottsdale has to offer. I am sad to say goodbye to this experience and all my new friends, but I am so excited to see what everyone chooses to do with their experience!

Thank you to Margaret, Emily, Lindsay and so many others for making this such a meaningful year. You are making a huge impact in our community through this program and I am excited to utilize the tools you so graciously bestowed upon us.

Farewell, friends!

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Social Services in Scottsdale

By Chris Rivera, Class 26
Project Manager, DMB Associates

The City of Scottsdale’s two senior centers, Granite Reef and Via Linda, are described on the city’s website as an “integrated system of services, resources and opportunities to help people improve their lives, neighborhoods and community through recreation, social services and health and wellness services.” I recently had the opportunity to volunteer at Granite Reef Senior Center and was amazed by the breadth of its services.

The Granite Reef Senior Center’s goal is to provide avenues of connection through the diverse services, groups, and activities they operate as an all‐inclusive conduit for senior adults in the south Scottsdale community. Judging by the variety of food programs available to seniors at the center or through ancillary social services programs, it is clear that the city is committed to providing nutritious meals to seniors in a setting that is most comfortable to them. The programs include bread distribution, home delivered meals, congregate meals, and the ability to pick‐up bagged groceries one day a week. I participated in the grocery bag program, called Scottsdale Brown Bag Gleaners, and in Granite Reef’s lunch time food program.

The Scottsdale Brown Bag Gleaners program runs every Thursday year‐round with the exception of July and August. I met up with other volunteers at the Via Linda Senior Center to pack brown bags full of groceries delivered by truck via St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix. The mix of volunteers ranged from young to mature, some of whom were volunteering so that they could receive a bag of groceries for their efforts. I was struck by how organized the process was and the anticipation of what type of food that would be delivered that day. I was told that on good days the bags will be overflowing with fresh vegetables, bread and canned goods. The day I was there the selection seemed to fall somewhere in the middle. As I packed groceries I imagined the seniors who would receive them and hoped that some of the goodies would bring a smile to their faces. When all of the bags were packed we drove over to the Granite Reef Center to unload and distribute the bags of groceries. It happened to be raining that morning and business was slow because many of the seniors at the center do not have cars. I thoroughly enjoyed my morning with the staff and the other volunteers. I met some interesting new people and hopefully contributed to making someone’s day a little bit better.

I also helped set‐up, serve, and clean‐up during the congregate meal at the Granite Reef Center. The Tempe Community Action Agency provides a hot nutritious meal at the Center Monday through Friday.  The lunch service was also very organized and several volunteers work during lunch every day. I chatted with some of the seniors about their day and their experiences at the center. I struck up a conversation with “June” who was looking at travel books while she was waiting for lunch to be served. I learned that she walks three miles to the center every day so that she can use the library, eat lunch, and catch‐up with her friends. This is especially significant considering that she had little use of one leg and required the use of a modified cane that looked a bit like a crutch. As the volunteers cleaned up the tables, June blushed when I came to her table because she was embarrassed about how much she was eating. Leftovers were available that day and she was taking full advantage of that. We both laughed and I could see that she was happy to be having a big meal. I enjoyed volunteering during the lunch service and hope to return and get to know some of the other regulars at the center.

I also spent some time talking to Tim Miluk, Human Services Manager at the Granite Reef Senior Center. Tim gave me a tour of the center and explained some of the programming available to the seniors. It was clear that there are many additional services Tim would like to offer if funds existed. Community leaders could make a big impact by offering pro‐bono professional services such as legal advice, estate planning/will preparation, technology consulting, etc. Some of these services are available at the center in a limited manner, but they could definitely benefit from additional resources.

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Who was Frances Young?

By MELISSA RZEPPA, Class 23
Partner & PR Director – Serendipit Consulting

For nearly a half century, Scottsdale resident Frances Young mentored, advised, assisted and championed numerous local organizations and causes – simply for the good of the community. Among her admirers she was fondly known as “the mayor of South Scottsdale”.

Young epitomized warmth, caring and concern for people of diverse backgrounds. She embraced all people and advocated for their quality of life, whether Yaqui, Hispanic, Asian, Black or White. Her notable contributions include the establishment of an English as a Second Language program in the schools, the beginning of Indian Education, Head Start and Title I programs, and the establishment of the Vista del Camino Community Center.

During her tenure serving on the Human Services Commission, Young worked with other members to find funds for various social services. Young summed up her life by saying, “I’ve gained far more than I ever gave. That’s what I want everyone to know.”

Nominations are currently being accepted for the Frances Young Community Heroes award sponsored by General Dynamics. Nominees must be ages 14 or older whose volunteer services directly benefit Scottsdale citizens and/or Scottsdale organizations. They may not have previously received public recognition for their volunteer efforts. Nominations must be submitted by Friday, September 3.

Do you know someone who is a community hero and who deserves to be recognized? Now is your chance to say “thanks” for all they do!

For more information and to download the nomination form visit www.gdc4s.com/about/community.

Nominate a hero today!

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Calling all volunteers: Scottsdale Cycling Festival needs you!

By Kimberly Crowther, Class 22
Communications Director, DC Ranch Community Council

Have you caught the Tour de France action on television this month? Although I’m not a cyclist -and I am half a world away from the action on the Alps – I’m drawn into the excitement.  This fall you can join in similar excitement when Valley residents experience cycling action at the seventh annual Scottsdale Cycling Festival. The festival will take place September 30 to October 3. An estimated 2,000 cyclists will ride a 70-mile route around the scenic McDowell Mountains.

To pull off the multi-day festival, event organizers rely on 12 teams of volunteers – about 150 individuals. Teams assist at aid stations, help set up and tear down event expos, ensure cyclists are aware of – and follow – safety guidelines, and distribute registration packets. Volunteers have a unique opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the world of cycling.

Volunteers can tout that they are part of a “green” event. The Scottsdale Cycling Festival will be the first race of any sport to take place in Arizona without the presence of plastic water bottles. Instead, water trucks on site will refill water bottles attendees bring. Other green initiatives include a recycling and composting program.  Volunteers can feel good about donating their time at an event that is dedicated to environmentally-friendly practices.

In addition to the euphoria of community involvement, volunteers are treated to breakfast courtesy of Krispy Kreme and lunch compliments of Grimaldi’s. It’s still warm in October, so volunteers will receive a moisture-wicking t-shirt.

There are also opportunities to socialize with other volunteers and cyclists at the Scottsdale Cycling Festival Launch Party on Sept. 30. In addition to the launch party, the Scottsdale Cycling Festival will host a Kick-Off party Friday, July 23 from 5 – 8 p.m. at DNA Cycles in North Scottsdale. The event is free and open to the public. Cyclists and festival volunteers can meet professional rides, register at reduced rates, preview gear and get training advice. The first 100 attendees will receive a special swag bag.

Volunteers can sign up now through Sept. 20; a volunteer orientation is Friday, Sept. 24. Corporate volunteer teams are welcome. For more information, contact DC Ranch Event Director Jennifer Clark at 480.538.3544 or jennifer.clark@dcranchinc.com.

For more about the Scottsdale Cycling Festival, visit www.scottsdalecyclingfestival.com.

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Finding my Passion and Making a Difference!

By Stefanie Lerner, Class 23
Director of Sales & Marketing at Encore Creative

I began the Scottsdale Leadership program with what I thought was an open mind.  I knew I wanted to get deeper involved in my community and thought Scottsdale Leadership would offer exposure to a host of opportunities, that it did.  I assumed with my professional background and areas of interest I would connect to the arts community or something of that nature. Little did I know that my heart would be grabbed by Phoenix Youth at Risk’s New Pathway’s mentoring program for freshmen at Scottsdale’s Coronado High School.

Fast forward to me signing up, being selected as a mentor, and being paired with Cheyenne for our 10 month journey.  I know that this program, and my involvement in it, is helping to change the trajectory of a young person’s life.  When I met Cheyenne (14 years old) she was prone to gang involvement, drug/alcohol use and self abuse as ways of dealing with life.

After 10 months in this program and with its amazing self empowerment curriculum and community building, Cheyenne found she has a talent and love of writing poetry.  Together we found some poetry open mic readings at Mama Java’s Coffee House and I brought her to hear other poets read.  She got up on that very first day (poems in her pocket…  I didn’t even know about) and read publicly.  She’s since been “publishing” her poetry on Facebook and even signed up to read her poetry at the New Pathways Talent Show….and was awarded …Best Overall Talent. There is no greater pride than seeing her proud of herself, proud of her accomplishments, and making positive choices.

Phoenix Youth at Risk is always looking for new mentors and they run several programs. While I’m just one person, volunteering a small amount of time, I know I am doing something extremely important.  I am making a difference.

For more information on Phoenix Youth at Risk please visit: http://www.phoenixyouthatrisk.org/

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Looking for a Muddy Place to Volunteer?

By RACHEL BROCKWAY, Class 23
Scottsdale Leadership Marketing and Resource Development Manager

We all spend time volunteering and recognize the importance of doing it. But how many of us have a chance to get really dirty when we volunteer? Are you looking for a new way to get involved in Scottsdale? You can volunteer for the 35th annual Mighty Mud Mania event sponsored by Henkel!!

The City of Scottsdale is looking for 200 volunteers for the Mighty Mud Mania on Saturday, June 19th.  Also, if you don’t want to get really dirty, there are some clean jobs available! The Magnificently Muddy sponsors include: Clifkid, Arizona’s Tooth Doctor for Kids, Cricket Communications and Universal Fog Outdoor Misting Systems and Henkel.

To volunteer, contact Terry Erickson, Class 11, by Friday, June 4 at terickson@scottsdaleaz.gov.

To learn more, visit http://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/mightymudmania.

Mark your calendar, SATURDAY, JUNE 19th!!

Don’t miss this great opportunity to volunteer with fellow alumni and community leaders at a fun community program for kids!

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Class 24 Helps Scottsdale Public Library Set the Green Standard

By MELISSA RZEPPA, Class 23
Partner & PR Director – Serendipit Consulting

Scottsdale Leadership Class 25 is certainly going to have a LOT to live up to with all of the buzz that Class 24 has been getting for their Pay it Forward projects! Most recently, this article was published on the American Libraries website, recognizing the Scottsdale Public Libraries for its “Meet Green” program that was instituted earlier this year.

With the help of Class 24, the Scottsdale Public Library system now asks patrons who want to use the library’s meeting rooms to follow a simple, eco-friendly set of guidelines, including:

– refrain from handing out paper unless absolutely necessary
– use refillable water bottles instead of plastic water bottles
– use recycled materials when serving food
– use appropriate recycling containers
– turn off all lights and equipment used at the end of the meeting

How great would it be if all public meeting spaces asked these same rules of all patrons?

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