Kiem Ho, Class 26
Director of Business Development & Innovation, Laundry Care, Henkel Consumer Goods, Inc.
On a cool October 26th night, I camped out with my 3 elementary-aged children under the stars. However, instead of sleeping in a cozy tent under the stars in the forest, we were camped out in our own make-shift and I may add drafty (I guess duct tape can’t fix everything) cardboard box home situated under the dim lights of Scottsdale Stadium. My family was not alone as 350 other people also camped out in their own constructed cardboard boxes that ranged from the elaborate such as a castle with a functioning drawbridge to a simple box that was opened on both ends. This “campout” was part of Family Promise’s second annual event called Cardboard City, an event which helped bring awareness to a growing problem in our community- family homelessness.
I participated in Cardboard City not only due to being a board member of Family Promise but also because of my association with the Scottsdale Leadership Board, which came to support this community need. Pattie Counce (Board President), Carol Damaso (President Elect), Suzanne Paetzer, Tom Billard, Kevin Donovan, Mike Merucci along with Chris Irish (Executive Director) were instrumental in volunteering and in securing products from Forever Living and Henkel Consumer Goods that were packed throughout the night making up 1,000 hygiene kits.
Ultimately, Cardboard City successfully raised $40,000 (net) with significant support from Mark-Taylor Inc., which also donated a year of free rent for 2 families. Local media covered the event bringing needed awareness to this issue. The potential effect of this kind of community support was best summarized by a recent graduate of the Family Promise program who highlighted how Family Promise not only gave her family shelter but also the loving support necessary to move beyond homelessness. This single mother is currently enrolled in law school.
At the end of the night, I was glad to know that my box sleeping days were temporary. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many families which have to endure homeless nights uncertain for how long. I’m thankful that Scottsdale Leadership could join with Family Promise and others to make a difference for homeless families in our community. Find out how you can make a difference by visiting: familypromiseaz.org.