Tag Archives: Family Promise of Greater Phoenix

A Social Service Seed Has Been Planted in Each of Us

Chavez_Claudia CropBy Claudia Chavez
STARS

Class 30 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership.

“I am doing this because it’s personal” –Ted Taylor, Executive Director, Family Promise of Greater Phoenix

IMG_7349On September 25, 2015, Class XXX witnessed the collective efforts of Scottsdale Social Service Superheroes in action.  Their goal: create more effective organizations, build stronger communities, and promote equity and opportunity.  Day Chairs Justin Boyd and Lisa Randall kicked off our first topic day with an introduction to our host site – the Paiute Neighborhood Center (PNC).  PNC is a  unique community  resource in that serves as a hub to numerous collaborating agencies including a charter school (Hirsch Academy), Boys & Girls Club branch, a bike apprenticeship program (Handlebar Helpers) and a family center (Scottsdale Prevention Institute), just to name a few.

IMG_7314Throughout the day, although the details shared by each storyteller varied, a recurring theme surfaced – these are individuals invested in what they do because it resonates on a personal note.  Danny Gallegos, Recreation Coordinator, originally focused on the management of Scottsdale parks.  One day, he was asked to help with the operations of the Vista Del Camino food bank, but was unsure if he was the right man for the job.  Today, he lends a helping hand to hundreds of individuals and families in need – individuals that could be your neighbor or co-worker.  Ted Taylor, Executive Director of Family Promise of Greater Phoenix, is a former business owner, consultant and social entrepreneur.  Driven by personal values of inspiration, simplicity and purpose, today he helps find shelter for over 100 families a year, including their pets! Commander Aaron Minor, Kelly Wills (Crisis Intervention Specialist), and Police Detective Robert McCabe shared their struggles and successes in keeping Scottsdale citizens safe from criminal activity while simultaneously serving as pillars of support for them during times of crisis and death, through the efforts of the Family Advocacy Center.

The stories heard on this day are too many to share in a single blog entry – the impact that they will have on the individuals lucky enough to hear them is yet to be determined.  Hopefully, a social service seed has been planted in each of us.  How personally that seed resonates may help determine the beauty of its bloom.

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Belonging in Scottsdale

Magi_Inga CropBy Inga Magi
Distinctive Italian Wines & Wines for Humanity

Class 29 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership.

I’ll speak for all members of Class 29 to say that we were moved and inspired by the stories and discussion during last Friday’s ‘Social Services and Today’s Youth’ class. I doubt there was a dry eye in the room as we listened to some of our neighbors share their most vulnerable moments in life. And we were inspired by the people who are there – every day – to help those who are living through those moments.

Last Friday’s class will forever be imprinted on my memory for many reasons. After all, it’s not every day that you…

….hear a woman tell her personal story about how she went from a steady job to hiding in a park with her three children with nowhere to go.  And then somehow found herself immersed in love through Family Promise.

….or learn the story of a Big Sister-Little Sister match that has exceeded the average match time by 10 years. And that the pair long ago stopped thinking of each other as a “match” but as “family”.

….or hear about teenagers volunteering at Teen Lifeline to help other teenagers find an approach that is anything but suicide.

IMG_5466….or find out that your neighborhood has a campus where children can safely play on a playground or get help on their homework through affordable educational programs at Paiute Neighborhood Center instead of hanging out on the streets.

….or gain an understanding about the impact that Vista Del Camino Food Bank can make for families who live right here in Scottsdale by providing a box or bag of food.

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….or witness teenagers discover how much they have to give, and learn how to empower themselves and others through Workshop for Youth and Families.

I walked away from Friday’s class feeling emotionally drained, and full of gratitude.  Gratitude for the life I lead, and gratitude for belonging to a community that is made up of people who give so much. Two messages really stuck with me:

  1. It only takes one person to change someone else’s life for the better. And sometimes that leads to the creation of an organization that allows many people to help many other people. It all starts with an idea and a conversation. And we all need to make sure we’re part of those conversations.
  1. Government funding (through programs like Scottsdale Cares) is incredibly important to the success of the programs that exist only to serve others. And it’s our responsibility as citizens of this community to ensure we vocalize our support for the programs that help sustain all aspects of our community.

And, actually, there is a third.  The third thing is a realization that whether we are teenagers or seniors, homeless or wealthy, we want to feel like we belong. We want to know that we are a part of a community that will feed, house, and continue to welcome us should we find ourselves in the unimaginable position of being hungry, homeless, or unwelcome.

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Helping Hands?

Scottsdale LeadershipAndy Jacobs, Class 27
Associate, Policy Development Group, Inc.

The Class 27 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community. Scottsdale Leadership is an Arizona Leadership Program.

As busy professionals, sometimes it’s hard reflecting on the community outside of our day-to-day lives and those we care about.  But those of us in Scottsdale Leadership Class 27 have bonded quickly, and we seem to be a collection of open-minded and empathetic individuals. That’s why Social Services Day proved to be a rewarding experience and why I believe our class is destined for great things.

Social Services Day was eye-opening and encouraging

As Class 27 discussed issues of poverty and elderly care together at Vista Del Camino, it quickly became apparent that the recession had hit almost all of us in one way or another. It confirmed what we learned about the difference between the stereotype of homelessness and the fact that sometimes we all need help in our lives. And that the sign of a true community is its willingness to play a role in love and support.

Ted Taylor, Executive Director of homeless advocacy group Family Promise, explained that since the recession, many middle-to-upper-income families in Scottsdale are now dealing with problems like homelessness and suicide, just like other communities. Scottsdale has had a much harder time dealing with these types of financial problems because until now they haven’t experienced it.

A visit to the Granite Reef Senior Center showed that despite the physical and emotional support that our elderly need on a day-to-day basis, they are an integral part of our community. The seniors we got to know are active, fun and bring immense value to our city for their contributions. Scottsdale is to be commended for its leadership in assisting with elder and poverty issues. Vista Del Camino and Granite Reef are top-notch operations and private sector leadership from leaders such as Taylor and others contribute to Scottsdale’s compassionate outlook.

Leaders from the City of Scottsdale’s Human Services Department work hard every day to ensure its struggling residents are not overlooked. The Community Assistance Office works with a citizens’ committee to make important decisions on how to allocate funding to charitable organizations collaborating with the city to take care of the less fortunate.

Of course, we can always do more, and that’s what I and others from Class 27 took away from Scottsdale Leadership’s Social Services Day. As we learn how to incorporate community leadership into our already-busy daily lives, there is no doubt we recognize the importance of lending a helping hand to those who are often overlooked.

How can you lend a helping hand?

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