Tag Archives: arizona

A good use for those used backpacks

United Food Bank is asking kids to donate gently used backpacks to help kids in need.

From now until the end of June, children who donate their backpacks will receive a free ice cream and a special certificate recognizing their good deed. The backpack drop-off location is from 8am to 4pm Monday through Friday at United Food Bank, 245 S. Nina Drive in Mesa.

The Backpack Program gets nutritious food to kids who are at risk of going hungry over the weekend by sending them home from school each Friday with a backpack full of food. This program is extremely important for children who qualify for free or reduced lunch at school but have little to no access to food over the weekend.

United Food Bank provides more than 500 backpacks every single week during the school year; many rip, get lost and need to be replaced.

“It may be hard to imagine this, but one in four children in Arizona do not know where their next meal is coming from,” said Lisa Goin, United Food Bank’s Chief Development Officer, in a press release. “We hear from parents who thank us for this food, saying that without this program, their child would literally just be eating the free lunch provided at school. It’s an unfortunate reality for so many people that there isn’t a single morsel of food in the house.”

For more information about donating a backpack or joining the Kids Lunch Bunch, visit unitedfoodbank.org or call 480-926-4897 ext. 207.


National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

The Drug Enforcement Administration will be hosting its fourth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 28 from 10am to 2pm.

Photo courtesy of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The event allows people to bring unwanted or unused prescription drugs they have accumulated to drop-off points, knowing the drugs will be disposed of in a safe and environmentally appropriate way.

The DEA’s last event, on Oct. 29, 2011, collected more than 377,086 pounds of prescription drugs from more than 5,000 participating locations in the U.S.

Participating locations are Valleywide. To find a location near you, visit the Collection Site Locator.

If you are unable to make it to the Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, the Food and Drug Administration offers suggestions for safe disposal of drugs:

  • Take them out of their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, like used coffee grounds or kitty litter.
  • Put them in a sealable bag or other container so they don’t leak.
  • Before throwing away the medicine container, make sure all the information is scratched off, to protect your identity.
  • If you are unsure about anything, call your pharmacist for advice.

Erin Saltzman

Learn more

Time to clean out the medicine cabinet!

Christ’s Church delivers loads of school supplies to Valley schools

Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) finished its “Operation: Support Our Schools” community initiative earlier this month after delivering more than 36,000 reams of copy paper, 15,000 boxes of tissue paper and 6,000 packages of wet wipes to 300 public elementary schools.

Christ's Church of the Valley. Operation: Support our Schools. Photo courtesy of CCV.

CCV celebrated its 30th anniversary by distributing the items to about 11,000 teachers and 300,000 students. The elementary schools that received the items were part of 22 school districts located throughout the Valley.

“Teachers were telling us how often during this time of year they run out of supplies, because the schools are under-resourced, and how they had to purchase some of these items themselves to get through the school year,” said CCV Senior Pastor Don Wilson.

CCV started promoting the program in March to more than 18,000 people and collected the donated items during 10 services on March 24 and 25.

Photo courtesy of CCV.

Founded in 1982, CCV is one church at multiple locations, including campuses in Peoria and Surprise. A third campus will open in Scottsdale this fall. Identical services are provided every weekend at each location. — Erin Saltzman

Youth of the Year chapter winners advance to state competition

Three teens from Valley Boys and Girls Clubs chapters were chosen as Youth of the Year winners to represent their branches at the state-level competition tonight at the U.S. Airways Center. The state winner will advance to the Pacific Region Youth of the Year competition later this year.

Here are the local chapter winners:

Greater Scottsdale

Alyssa Coughenour. Photo courtesy of the Boys & Clubs of Greater Scottsdale.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale awarded Alyssa Coughenour of the Thunderbird Branch as its 2012 Youth of the Year.

The Pinnacle High School senior took home a $5,000 scholarship from General Dynamics C4 Systems and a $1,000 gift card from American Express at the Celebrate Youth Gala and Auction held at Talking Stick Resort. The other runner-ups also received scholarship money and gift cards valued at $500.

Read more about Alyssa here.

Metropolitan Phoenix

Chloe Johnson. Photo courtesy of Nancy Crase.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix named Chloe Johnson its Youth of the Year competition.

The St. Mary High School junior credits her 12 years at the MLB All-Star Arizona Diamondbacks Branch for her character and determination to help in her community.

Read more about Chloe here.

East Valley

Adrianna Henderson was named Youth of the Year for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the East Valley.

Adrianna Henderson. Photo courtesy of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley.

The Horizon Honors High School senior received a $20,000 scholarship, which she hopes to use to pursue her goal of becoming a physical therapist.

Read more about Adrianna here.

Erin Saltzman

Recycle outdated car seats, for safety’s sake

Phoenix Children’s Hospital will hold its fourth annual Keep Our Planet Neat, Recycle Your Car Seat Demolition event on Friday, April 20.

The event will be held from 7am until noon in the north parking lot at Tempe Marketplace.

“Car seats do a great job protecting children, but at the end of the seat’s life they contain many materials that could be recycled,” says Angelica M. Baker, child safety passenger coordinator at PCH. “Plastic car seats break down over time – especially in the Arizona sun. The harness can actually break through the car seat if a car seat is used past its expiration date.”

Garage sales and trash cans are not the answer to unwanted, old car seats – de-manufacturing and recycling is, says Baker, who reminds parents to never use a car seat that has been in a moderate to severe vehicle crash.

Miss Arizona 2012, Jennifer Sedler, and volunteers will be at the event to dismantle hundreds of car seats. All plastic parts and metal items will be recycled.

PCH also will have trained technicians on hand to conduct free car seat checks. and answer any questions about car seat installations and car seat safety.

Learn more.

Two good reasons to donate blood

Kellie* experienced symptoms of leukemia in 2004, while she was on a camping trip. She was airlifted to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where she received transfusions of platelets and red blood cells that sustained her life. The Sunrise Mountain High School student has since strung together “beads of courage” to represent each of the 131 lifesaving blood transfusions she required during her battle against leukemia. Her mom credits blood donors for restoring their hope.

Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon Railroad.

As if that’s not enough incentive to pull out your blood donor card, consider this: United Blood Services is offering blood donors a chance to win one of 60 pairs of tickets to the Grand Canyon when they donate in April or May. Donors will be automatically entered to win the tickets on the Grand Canyon Railway, valued at $150 per pair. The Grand Canyon Railroad’s scenic trip from Williams to the Grand Canyon covers 65 miles of classic Old West territory. The trip takes approximately two hours and 15 minutes one way.

The United Blood Service network is one of the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit blood service organizations. Donors of all types of blood are needed, especially Type O, the universal blood type. For more information or to find a donation center near you, call 877-UBS-HERO (877-827-4376) or visit UnitedBloodServicesAZ.org.

*Last name withheld upon request.

Celebrate Youth: Andy Dao

Andy Dao. Photo courtesy of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale.

Born in Vietnam, Andy Dao was a reserved child and uncomfortable in social situations when he moved to Arizona. That all changed seven years ago when Dao joined the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Rose Lane Branch.

The club nurtured Dao’s passions for art, music and  sports. He gained confidence, friends and teammates, and is a part of several community service clubs, including Keystone.

Dao is one of eight outstanding youth who will be honored at The Celebrate Youth Saturday, March 31 at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale. One of those youth will be selected to advance to the state Youth of the Year competition.

The gala is the Club’s premier fundraising event. Individual tickets are $125. The black tie event begins with a hosted bar at 5:30pm, followed by dinner, a live auction and the Youth of the Year Ceremony.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale provide youth development services that instill strong core values and life-enhancing skills in a safe environment. The programs help promote healthy lifestyles, good character and academic success. For more information, visit bgcs.org.

Andy’s speech

Seven years ago, I was nine years old, a child by most standards. I was unable to understand the complexity of being social unlike my peers who had appeared to have intuitively grasped it. Seven years ago, I was lazy and lethargic. I was content with sitting around by myself, observing others enjoy themselves. I knew full well that it could be me but I didn’t have any drive or desire to make an effort to change. Seven years ago, I enjoyed being alone. I kept others away and it was fine with me. Growing up with just my mother, I didn’t need additional people in my life. Seven years ago, that had all started to change for me.

This was when I first attended the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale, Rose Lane Branch. I didn’t become social overnight, but I began to develop my own interests. These included art and music. Art and music were perfect for me at the time. It didn’t require close proximity with others. Not only that, it was calming and relaxing. In the Art Room, I became heavily involved with art. Painting, sketching, and sculpting became an everyday thing. I would come in everyday to use their supplies. At the Club, I learned to play four different instruments; guitar, violin, piano, and bass guitar. There was always an instrument laying around that I wanted to play. I had even joined my school orchestra for years until I managed to join the Symphonic Orchestra at Saguaro High School. The person who sparked my interest in guitar was actually a staff at the Boys & Girls Club. I had a brand new side to me. I had something that distinguished me from others my own age.

Despite this however, I was still devoid of connections. I knew many people but I didn’t have anyone I was close to. This was quickly solved by sports, particularly basketball and soccer. They have a necessity of coordinating with each other on our teams to properly perform even the most elementary things. These were team sports, meaning that they required communication between players for success. For the duration of each game, I had a group that I was included in. I talked to them, I encouraged them, and I either succeeded or failed with them.

Today, I am sixteen years old. A teenager, to some, a young adult to others. Today, I have friends who I have known for seven years. Friends who have been through thick and thin with me. These are the same friends who I have played soccer and basketball together with everyday for years. Today, I have a room full of art supplies and personal works. Today, I will no longer simply observe others and no more will I be subject to the loneliness I have grown out of. Because today, I am no longer the boy I was seven years. Today, I am the result of the Club, the collection of lessons I have learned, and the challenges I have faced. Thank you.

Next: Youth of the Year finalist Alyssa Coughenou.