Tag Archives: Scottsdale Leadership Pay It Forward

Why I Joined, What I Learned, and What I’ll Do with It!

Sandy Adler, Class 26
Realtor, Arizona Best Real Estate

The Class 26 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.

I love to volunteer my time to help others and to encourage organizations and programs that are particular passions of mine.  I have never had a lot of time to volunteer…but I have always volunteered consistently with at least one organization at a time.  When you volunteer at the same place for any length of time, it seems a natural progression that you end up in a leadership position in that organization. Leadership is different than volunteering.  It involves helping others to reach their goals in supporting the organization and providing meaningful volunteer experiences for them that will also further the goals of the organization.

I also love Scottsdale. As a resident for 17 years (I am originally from Michigan) I have enjoyed all the wonderful things Scottsdale has to offer from the schools (my kids are all graduates of Chaparral High School) to the Preserve to the cultural life and much more. We live in a very special place and there is nowhere else I’d rather live.

The combination of these two loves led me to Scottsdale Leadership. It has proven to be a program where I have learned so much about our community and how it functions. I also learned how to improve my leadership skills so that I can be a guide to people who want to make our community even better.

Having lived here for such a long time, I thought I knew Scottsdale very well. I volunteered as a downtown Scottsdale Ambassador for a couple of years, so I certainly knew the downtown area well. I am a Realtor and I’ve heard so many of our city employees speak at meetings about the history of the city and issues such as transportation and development and zoning. But it turns out that I only knew a small slice of the challenges and opportunities that our citizens experience.

Scottsdale Leadership taught me about some incredible programs, many of them started by volunteers who saw a need and worked to fill it, that support our citizens who may need a leg up during difficult times. I learned about our city government and how it works: about the city council, the mayor and the commissions and staff that support them. I learned about the police and fire departments and what they do every day to protect us and keep us safe in our community. I will never look at their jobs the same again. A day at the state capital meeting our representatives was also a fantastic education.

I also learned in more detail about things that we just take for granted: The beautiful public art that is all around us and how it came to be; the cultural activities that are available year around to enhance our lives; the McDowell Sonoran Preserve that provides entertainment, beauty and education about our environment.

Through our Pay It Forward Project, I learned that an idea to better the community can be executed quickly and with great success by a dedicated team. Honestly, I was skeptical at first. But I saw not just my group but four other groups create and execute wonderful programs in just a few months that will continue to thrive in our community.

Mostly, learning about all these other things, I learned about what makes a good leader by being introduced to amazing leaders in our community, and through leadership classes that were built-in to the Scottsdale Leadership program. We heard the stories of these leaders and had opportunity to interact with them and ask questions. We were introduced to concepts about the responsibilities and expectations of leaders that have changed the way I think about my role as a leader in a non-profit organization.

So, the most difficult question to answer is: What will I do with this new knowledge? How will I use it to improve my community? I have renewed my commitment to the non-profit that has been my passion for a number of years by taking on some additional responsibilities. I am enthusiastic about supporting the Dream Fair project that our team created for at least the next year. I hope to continue to support Scottsdale Leadership in its goal to support and nurture more leaders.  I see clearly now that volunteers and visionaries make the lives of all those around them better and more meaningful.

What will you do with your knowledge and how will you use it to improve your community?

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Words To Live By

Nick Molinari, Class 26
City of Scottsdale

The Class 26 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.

Be brave, laugh a lot, do the right thing and make a new friend.

When I leave for work every day, these are my parting words with my two boys, Leo and Mario.  Honestly, I can’t take credit for coming up with these simple nuggets of wisdom. My dear friend Tim Miluk (who is also my boss) has been saying this to his two beautiful daughters for years. We spend a lot of time together and I guess after hearing it for so long, it just sunk in. As a parent, this simple direction really captures the hopes I have for my two little guys. If they can be brave enough to try new things and step out of their comfort zone, if they have an opportunity to be goofy and laugh with their friends, if they make the right choices throughout the day and if they take the time to embrace people they don’t know, what more could you ask for?  As I reflected on my experience as part of Scottsdale Leadership’s Class 26, I realized that this daily mantra really aligns with the mission of the program.

Be Brave
We had to be brave right off the bat, starting with our 90-second commercials on orientation day.  The personal ads were a bit nerve racking to prepare for, not really knowing what was expected of us, who would be watching and what our other classmates would come up with.   They certainly kicked off our experience on a high note though.

Personally, I really had to “be brave” to hop on that SRP helicopter ride in February. I am terrified of heights and can get queasy on an airplane. Seriously though, when would I have another chance to ride in a helicopter?  I chose “being brave,” and capitalized on a great experience that I will never forget.

Our projects required our class, in many regards, to take a leap of faith. What united our group was an eagerness to stake new territory and I think each of Class 26’s Project Pay it Forward Projects exemplified that.  Scottsdale Leadership graduates don’t accept things the way they are. There are examples of this all over our city. From pushing the initiative of civil dialogue to nurturing a world-class art community, Scottsdale Leadership graduates have had to step out of their comfort zones and “be brave” to make Scottsdale a better place.

Laugh A Lot
Honestly, I didn’t expect the program to be as much fun as it was. The networking after class (aka “happy hour”) was great and gave the class an opportunity to get to know each other on a different level. One thing I can say about the organization – the SL staff, the day chairs, the volunteers – they all love what they do. You can see it in their work and it makes a difference.

Do The Right Thing
This is what the program and the process was really all about – how can our class apply our strengths, resources and time to “do the right thing” in our community. Obviously, that means different things to each of the 40 participants, but from community stewardship to education to economic development, the core program gave us tools to get out there, “do the right thing” and lead through the choices we make and the actions we take.

Make A New Friend
Prior to starting Scottsdale Leadership, friends and co-workers who had gone through the program had told me how much they connected with their classmates and that they had developed friendships that they still have today. In all honesty, this is not my greatest skill. I am a bit introverted and have had the same collection of friends since elementary school. With that said, I was eager to meet a bunch of people who love Scottsdale as much as I do.  The new friends and great connections I made were the most significant take away for me.  I have an expanded group of Scottsdale ambassadors I can call on to help make a difference in our city.

One of the best things to come out of my experience with Scottsdale Leadership is that it reinforced how the simple things – friendship, courage and stewardship – are a formula for success anywhere.

What words do you live by?

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Scottsdale Leadership Class 26 Pays It Forward

Scottsdale Leadership Class 26 Pays if Forward
Graduating class of Scottsdale Leadership poised to leave a lasting legacy in Scottsdale

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – As part of the nine-month community leadership program, members of Scottsdale Leadership’s Class 26 were assigned to teams and challenged to plan and implement five community service projects. The goal was to identify a community need and develop a project that positively affected that need, while gaining hands-on experience as community leaders.

“The teams had to quickly organize and create a project that will pay it forward for years to come,” said Brian Bednar, board president of Scottsdale Leadership. “We are beyond impressed and proud of class 26.  Their accomplishments are a reflection of what Scottsdale Leadership stands for. It proves that, even with limited time and resources, a few passionate people can make a tremendous impact on a community.”

The projects underway include:

Play it Forward
Play it Forward is dedicated to getting musical instruments out of retirement and into the hands of students, particularly to those in low-income areas who might not otherwise have access to musical education.  The team, in partnership with Ear Candy Charity and Arcadia High School Contemporary Music and Sound, is conducting an instrument drive benefiting schools in the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD).  Project Play it Forward Group was featured on Channel 12 news at: http://www.azcentral.com
How to get involved: Donate musical instruments at the front desk at Arcadia High until April 15. To make a donation to help repair and place the instruments with those in need, visit www.EarCandyCharity.org and click on CMAS drive.

Everybody Dance Now! Scottsdale
Everybody Dance Now! Is dedicated to enhancing the lives of youth through dance, leadership and community involvement by starting a chapter of Everybody Dance Now! in Scottsdale. The project team is partnering with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale to provide weekly dance programming to middle and high school youth who would otherwise not have access to such opportunities.  Everybody Dance Now! is a youth-run nonprofit dedicated to inspiring students through positive opportunities that promote healthy and active lives. The first class begins on Wednesday, March 28 at the Rose Lane Branch of The Boys & Girls Club.
How to get involved: Participate in two upcoming golf tournaments which will raise money for Everybody Dance Now!. A Good Friday Golf Tournament will take place at Stonecreek Golf Club on Friday, April 6 and a NFL Alumni Golf Tournament will take place at Whirlwind Golf Club on Friday, May 4. Golfers may contact Tim Jorden at tjorden@cox.net to reserve a golf foursome. Also, volunteers will be needed to teach dance classes, particularly teens and college students with hip-hop experience. Interested volunteers can contact the local Everybody Dance Now! program at Scottsdale@everybodydancenow.org.

Paiute Community Garden
This team partnered with the Paiute Neighborhood Center to create a multifaceted edible garden with raised planting beds and an art-inspired seated reading area. The Paiute Community Garden will be a beautiful place for children and adults to grow an edible garden while layering an educational curriculum to inspire healthy food choices. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday, April 10 at 10 a.m.
How to get involved: The program is happy to accept gardening materials and cash donations to assist the program. Make your donations at the Paiute Neighborhood Center located at 6535 E. Osborn Road in Scottsdale.

Healthy Packs Program
The mission of Healthy Packs program is to aid children in Title 1 schools experiencing weekend hunger by sending them home from school with food on Friday afternoons. Good weekend nutrition ensures the children arrive to school on Monday well-nourished and ready to learn. Project partners include Vista Del Camino Food Bank, Scottsdale Leadership, SUSD, Police Officers of Scottsdale Association, Scottsdale Sunrise Rotary Club, Bethany Lutheran Church, and Concerned Citizens for Community Health. Healthy Packs kicked off on Friday, March 23.
How to get involved: The project will continue to need volunteers and donations. You can volunteer with the Vista Del Camino Food Bank to help pack bags, deliver bags or collect funds for the program. You can also donate online at http://www.concernedcitizensscottsdale.org/ for the Healthy Packs Program. Non-perishable food donation can be made directly to Healthy Packs at Vista Del Camino or to the Healthy Pack food donation boxes located at all SUSD elementary schools. Donations boxes will also be available at select middle schools and Desert Mountain High School.

Dream Fair
The goal for the Dream Fair was to inspire Coronado High School students entering 9th and 10th grade and their parents to be more involved in school to help them realize their dreams for graduation and beyond. Increased student and parental involvement are key contributors for better educational performance and decreased dropout rates. The Dream Fair on March 24 featured former White House Doctor Connie Mariano and Craig Jackson of Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction and a former Coronado High School graduate. Both shared how school helped them reach their dreams. The event included free food, prizes and activity booths from the school and community.
How to get involved: This year’s events is complete, but stay tuned  for chances to donate your time and resources to next year’s  Dream Fair.

Teams will present their projects the community during formal presentations on Friday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library Auditorium. Project Pay It Forward Presentation Day is sponsored by the Scottsdale Charros. A panel of judges will evaluate the projects and the winning team will receive $2,000 from Scottsdale Leadership to be donated to the team’s benefiting organization.

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