Local Women and Girls Receive Monetary Awards from Soroptimists Saguaro Foothills

At a time when good news is sometimes hard to find, Soroptimist International of Saguaro Foothills shared the result of its annual awards ceremony, held March 10. Awards money of $11,000 was distributed to 11 deserving women and girls.

The “Live Your Dream” (LYD) award was established in 1972 and is available to women who are financially head of household with dependents, demonstrate need, and are motivated to achieve their education and career goals.

Jennifer, the LYD award winner from Glendale, was awarded $2,500.  Jennifer has been attending Phoenix College and was recently accepted to Arizona State University Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics to pursue a degree in sociology. She works full time as a fraud investigator at UNIFY Financial Credit Union. In addition to pursuing her certified fraud examiner license, Jennifer has full time care of two family members and three children. Jennifer has been selected as a finalist in the Golden West region of Soroptimist International of the Americas and will win an additional monetary award at the regional level.

This year, the organization had seven runners-up for the LYD award, each of whom received $1,000. The runners up were Caren, Ana, Primrose, Consuelo, Kat, Lois and Melissa. Caren is a navy reservist and is pursuing communications at ASU. Ana is studying accounting at Rio Salado Community College. Primrose is a student at Barrett, the Honors College at ASU.  She plans to obtain a dual master’s degree in global studies and creative writing to assist her goal of improving the lives of rural women in Sub-Saharan Africa. Consuelo is pursuing a degree as an accountant at Rio Salado Community College. Kat is a patient care assistant at Banner Health. She is presently enrolled in the nursing program at Gateway Community College and is also taking online classes at Northern Arizona University. Her goal is to become a registered nurse. Lois is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in psychology. Melissa is studying pre-med and is working to become a full-time physician’s assistant.

The Soroptimist “Young Women’s Service” award recognizes young women who make their community and world a better place through their volunteer efforts.  This program honors girls between the ages of 14 and 18 who contribute their time and energy to volunteer projects in their schools and community.  Each girl was awarded $500 along with $100 to their charity.  The award recipients this year are Maya Ochoa who volunteers at Veteran’s Heritage Project. She told the assembled audience that “what I have learned from the veteran’s I’ve worked with has been life-changing.” Jaclyn Russek, who also volunteers for the Veteran’s Heritage project, received the award: she feels her work with her charity has brought “new perspectives to how she sees the world.” Emily Spencer was the third winner, and she volunteers at Wild at Heart. She shared this quote from Ghandi as especially meaningful to her: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

The Soroptimist “Ruby” award honors women who have worked to improve the lives of women and girls through their profession and/or volunteer work.  This year’s Ruby award winner is Lee Anne Park, who leads the Extra Special Art program at the Sonoran Arts League. Park ensures children with disabilities have the opportunity to communicate and express themselves through her adaptive art program.

This year’s awards ceremony had local VIPs in attendance, including president-elect of SI of the Americas, one of five federations that comprise Soroptimist International. Also, in attendance were CCUSD Superintendent Debbi Burdick, Carefree Mayor Les Peterson and his wife, Mary, Carefree Vice Mayor John Crane, and Cave Creek Council members Susan Clancy and Kathryn Royer.

Soroptimist International is a global women’s organization working together to transform the lives of women and girls.  The organization works at the local, national and international levels to improve lives through education leading to social and economic empowerment.

Learn more about Soroptimist International of Saguaro Foothills at www.sisaguarofoothills.org.


Photos courtesy of Soroptimist International of Saguaro Foothills

Foothills Food Bank & Resource Center in Dire Need of Plastic Bags

According to Pam DiPietro, executive director for Foothills Food Bank & Resource Center, grocery-style plastic bags are needed to pack up crucial food items for food bank clients.

“People can bring the bags to our Cave Creek and Black Canyon City locations,” says DiPietro. “This will help us serve the hungry and give them a proper way to take food to their families.”

Foothills Food Bank and Resource Center serves a 180-square mile area that includes Anthem, Black Canyon City, Carefree, Cave Creek, Desert Hills, New River, North Phoenix and North Scottsdale.

The food bank has two locations: 6038 East Hidden Valley Drive in Cave Creek and 34501 Old Black Canyon Highway in Black Canyon City.

For additional information, call 480.488.1145 or visit www.foothillsfoodbank.com.

Desert Foothills Family YMCA Kicks Off ‘Livestrong’ Program

Carol Maxfield, pictured on the left, is a volunteer and a graduate of the first Livestrong program at Desert Foothills Family YMCA. Read her personal journey below.

The Desert Foothills Family YMCA (Y) and the Livestrong® Foundation joined together to create Livestrong at the YMCA, a physical activity and well-being program designed to help adult cancer survivors achieve their holistic health goals.

The research-based program offers people affected by cancer a safe, supportive environment to participate in physical and social activities focused on strengthening the whole person. Participants work with Y staff trained in supportive cancer care to achieve their goals such as building muscle mass and strength; increasing flexibility and endurance; and improving confidence and self-esteem. In addition to physical benefits, Livestrong at the YMCA focuses on the emotional well-being of survivors and their families by providing a supportive community where people impacted by cancer can connect during treatment and beyond. By focusing on the whole person and not the disease, Livestrong at the YMCA helps people move beyond cancer in spirit, mind and body.

Livestrong at the YMCA is a free 12-week small-group fitness program for adult cancer survivors. The program focuses on improving cardiovascular fitness, strength and balance to regain overall health. Classes meet twice a week for 75 minutes. Participants will receive a free Y membership for the session’s duration.

Program Goals:

  • Improve energy levels and self-esteem
  • Build muscle mass and strength
  • Increase flexibility and endurance
  • Improve ability to do everyday tasks
  • Develop an ongoing fitness plan to continue practicing a healthy lifestyle.

Those who are interested in sponsoring the Livestrong at the YMCA program may donate at https://valleyymca.org/donatedffy — $250 supports one participant, $1,000 supports a class of four participants — or contact Allie Avishai, associate executive director Desert Foothills Family YMCA, at allie.avishai@vosymca.org or 602.212.6058. The next program at Desert Foothills Y kicks off March 3.

Carol Maxfield, pictured above, is a volunteer and a graduate of the first Livestrong program at Desert Foothills Family YMCA. Here is her personal journey, in her words:

My name is Carol Maxfield and I am a volunteer at Desert Foothills YMCA. I am here representing the LiveStrong Program for cancer survivors.

Let me ask you a rhetorical question.  How many of you know someone who has cancer?

My guess is that you all do.  Friends, family members, co-workers …. it seems to be everywhere.  I never thought I would be included in the ranks of those who have the disease, but I am, and  I remember September 9, 2016 like it was yesterday, when my husband and I  heard the terrifying words, “you have Stage 4 ovarian cancer.”  How could this happen to me?  In a split second my life as I had always know it, and the future my husband and I had always planned, was forever changed. Of course there were treatments, Dr’s appointments, good days, bad days – it all comes with the diagnosis. 

I don’t share this with you because I want sympathy — I share this with you because 3½ years later I AM standing in front of you today. When I completed my treatments I knew I needed to take back control of my new life. One of the things that has allowed me to do that is the Live Strong Program offered thru the Desert Foothills YMCA. This program believes that our Drs have done their part, it is now up to the survivor to take their life back and start building their new norm with a healthier body and mind.

LiveStrong is a 12-week physical activity program that meets 2 times a week and is designed to get survivors back on their feet after a cancer diagnosis and/or treatment. During the 12 week program, membership to the Desert Foothills YMCA is complementary for the participants. The primary focus is helping our participants to strengthen their bodies through a series of closely monitored exercise routines. They receive encouragement, work-out in a safe environment, and most importantly have FUN.  Accordingly, our program is tailored to each individual’s fitness level, disease state and stage of treatment.  They learn exercises that can be continued in whatever phase their journey presents itself. They have all seen remarkable results in their stamina, strength and the ability to return to doing some of the things that have always made their life fulfilling

The program is blessed to have a certified group fitness trainer and a compassionate facilitator at its helm, Laurie Satter. She has also become one of my best friends. Two other LS graduates are also volunteers for the program and we all help Laurie in any way we can. Each of us is a cancer survivor and has experienced its benefits firsthand and want to give back. For me, it has become a passion to help the program succeed. We have all joined forces to make a difference in someone else’s life and to continue growing the program. 

Our program is not just an exercise regimen. Laurie and I believe the mind is an integral part of recovery. We try to create an environment of trust. We have heard over and over that having a place to come together with other survivors and be able to share, is key. Knowing that you are surrounded by the support and care from others, who intimately know all that you have experienced in ways no one else can understand, has given a voice back to all of us. We ARE a big family.

We are the exercise program with a heart.

Since its inception at Desert Foothills and Laurie took the helm, LiveStrong has graduated 6 classes. Several of those graduates are with us tonight. Feel free to ask them any questions about their own experiences. They are all strong, compassionate and remarkable women and are easily recognized by the t-shirt they are wearing.

Foothills Food Bank in Need of Food, Monetary Donations

Foothills Food Bank & Resource Center has too many empty shelves and is in need of non-perishable food donations and foods for the upcoming holidays.

Pam DiPietro, executive director for Foothills Food Bank, says that even more families and working individuals are in need of food due to changing economic forces and work transitions.

“Factors such as job change issues, the cost of living and other life changes have resulted in an increase in the nutritional needs of many in our communities,” says DiPietro. “We ask the public to provide us with food donations to increase our food inventory through spring.”

“The food bank also encourages area businesses, churches and individuals to host food drives and/or drop off food and toiletries to help the food bank,” adds DiPietro.

Foothills Food Bank and Resource Center provides emergency food, financial assistance and other life necessities and resources to individuals and families in the desert foothills, which encompasses a 180-square mile area that includes Anthem, Black Canyon City, Carefree, Cave Creek, Desert Hills, New River, North Phoenix and North Scottsdale.

Visit Foothills Food Bank & Resource Center online at www.foothillsfoodbank.com or send an email to foothillsfoodbank@gmail.com. Foothills Food Bank & Resource Center is located at 6038 East Hidden Valley Drive in Cave Creek. For additional information, call 480.488.1145.

Foothills Food Bank in Need of Frozen Turkeys

The Foothills Food Bank & Resource Center is seeking the public’s support in garnering frozen turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

According to Pam DiPietro, executive director for Foothills Food Bank, the food bank is in desperate need of frozen turkeys to help those in need this holiday season.

“We need turkeys so we can help ensure that the multitude of people in need in the communities we serve have a good, wholesome meal on Thanksgiving and Christmas,” says DiPietro. “It is an important time of year to give back to others in our community.”

The frozen turkeys can be dropped off at Foothills Food Bank, which is located at 6038 East Hidden Valley Drive in Cave Creek. For additional information, call 480.488.1145 or visit www.foothillsfoodbank.com.

Holiday Donor Sponsors Sought For Families In North Valley

LogosThe Foothills Food Bank & Resource Center seeks donors to brighten the holiday season for children, families and seniors in the northern Arizona foothills community. The food bank is working with more than a dozen local organizations and churches to provide gifts, holiday meals and hope for those in crisis in the community. The 13th annual Adopt-a-Family program will be held on Sunday, December 13, at Holland Community Center in North Scottsdale. A second site for Black Canyon City and New River residents will be held on Saturday, December 12 at High Desert Park.Adopt Family Photo 2015

Individual donors as well as donor groups such as businesses, HOAs, churches and schools, are encouraged to participate in this year’s Adopt-a-Family program. Interested donors determine the size of the family they are willing to adopt then a family wish list is provided as a shopping guide. Monetary donations also are accepted to support the program. All gifts must be wrapped and delivered in December either directly to the family or dropped off at the event site. Checks are payable to Foothills Food Bank. All gifts and donations are tax deductible according to tax laws.

For information about the 2015 Adopt-a-Family program or to request a donor sign-up form, email adoptafamily@foothillsfoodbank.com or pick up a form at the food bank. Foothills Food Bank & Resource Center is located at 6038 East Hidden Valley Drive in Cave Creek. For more information, visit www.foothillsfoodbank.com.

State Political Candidates To Appear At Anthem Open Forum

Anthem, Desert Hills, New River and surrounding area residents are invited to attend an open forum with candidates for state office beginning at 6:30pm April 22 at the Anthem Civic Building, 3701 West Anthem Way.

The evening will consist of candidate introductions and a public question and answer period, moderated by Holly Matson, president of the Anthem Community Council Board of Directors and Alan Muller, president of New River/Desert Hills Community Association

The public is encouraged to submit questions for the candidates, which will be accepted through April 17 via email at info@anthemcouncil.com, by mail or in person at the Anthem Civic Building front desk. Questions must be of general interest to the public; specific personal issues or scenarios will not be accepted.

All candidates who have filed paperwork for candidacy were invited to attend. Candidates who have confirmed their attendance include:

For Governor:  Republican candidates Ken Bennett, Christine Jones, Alice Lukasik, John Molina, Scott Smith and Frank Riggs; Libertarian candidate Barry Hess;  and Independent candidates Chip Howard and John Mealer.

For House District 1: Republican candidates Noel Campbell, Karen Fann, Linda Gray and Sean Englund, as well as Democratic candidate Frank James Cuccia.

For Senate District 1: Republican candidate Steve Pierce.

The forum is one of the first public gatherings for the candidates in the 2014 election series. The event is a partnership of the Anthem Community Council and the New River/Desert Hills Community Association.

For more information, visit www.onlineatanthem.com/candidate-forum or call 623.742.6065.

%d bloggers like this: