Tag Archives: Handlebar Helpers

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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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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