It’s Time to Rally for Area Nonprofits

By Kathryn M. Miller ~

Neighbors heading out on an excursion with Foothills Caring Corps, before a time of “social distancing.”

As April begins, the world finds itself living in unprecedented times. In Arizona, schools have been temporarily closed, many businesses are closed or working at half-capacity, events have been postponed or canceled and Valley organizations and institutions — those that serve the most vulnerable among us and those that bring us hope, light and beauty — are struggling to adapt and meet the needs of those they serve.

Some food banks and other social services are feeling extra pressure as Arizona’s unemployment numbers climb amid the spread of the coronavirus. In addition, nonprofits have been negatively impacted by closures and restrictions — with major fundraising events canceled and difficulty obtaining the commodities that they need.

Foothills Caring Crops (www.foothillscaringcorps.com; 480.488.1105) is one nonprofit that has been impacted. The organization’s Taste of Foothills fundraising event, scheduled for March 26, was canceled amidst COVID-19 concerns.

“This cancellation is for one of the most important sources of revenue we use to operate Foothills Caring Corps,” said Debbra Determan, executive director. “The ‘ASK’ and live auction portions of the evening have played a big role in providing us with the resources to fully maintain our operations.”

“We hope that there will be some among you who may want to step up and help us reduce our loss. You have been so supportive in the last 15 years of our Taste of Foothills fund-raisers” [Read more about Foothills Caring Corps on page 18.]

Volunteers help fill bags at Foothills Food Bank.

 

Foothills Food Bank and Resource Center (www.foothillsfoodbank.com; 480.488.1145) is also feeling the impact, but in a different way. Although the food bank has seen a slight increase in area residents in need of their services, finding the items that their clients need has been a challenge.

“We have seen an increase, but not that many, yet,” said Foothills Food Bank executive director Pam DiPietro. “We feel if this virus continues to prevent us from moving back to normalcy, the numbers will grow. We are committed to helping those that live and work in the area we serve.”

“At this point in time, the things we need most are the same items that everyone is looking for: paper towels, toilet paper, disinfectant products, wipes, bleach.”

DiPietro says that while the food bank is always in need of non-perishable food, the items currently most needed are soups of all kinds, tuna, pasta sauce and juice.

The food bank has a dedicated team of volunteers that, even during challenging times, keep up with the community’s needs.

“The majority of our volunteers are seniors; however, every day we manage to have enough people to get the job done. Our volunteers, all 400, are wonderful and we truly appreciate them.”

“We hope to be able to continue to serve those in need, while cautiously maintaining safety. We do not come in contact with the client. They call us, we package the food, set it on a table at our door and the Client drives up and picks up the food.”

But DiPietro reiterates that, right now, the most import way that the community can help: “Find us critical the things that we need!” |CST

A Time to Rally for Valley Nonprofits

Arizona Gives Day 2020

By Kathryn M. Miller ~ Arizona Gives Day is an annual, online giving movement aimed at celebrating and increasing philanthropy in Arizona through a 24-hour online giving event,

A collaboration between the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and the Arizona Grantmakers Forum, with FirstBank as the presenting sponsor, the event helps raise awareness about the critical role Arizona nonprofits play in communities and inspires people to give generously creating a thriving and stronger Arizona for all. This year’s event is scheduled for April 7, and the need for support has never been greater.

As April begins, the world finds itself living in unprecedented times. In Arizona, schools are on hiatus, many businesses are temporarily closed or working at half-capacity, events have been postponed or canceled and Valley organizations and institutions — those that serve the most vulnerable among us and those that bring us hope, light and beauty — are struggling to adapt and meet the needs of those they serve.

At the same time that some Valley nonprofits are forced to cancel their spring fundraisers they are also seeing an increase in needs. Shoebox Ministry in North Phoenix is one such organization. The nonprofit coordinates the collection and distribution of toiletry items for people in the Phoenix Metro area who are experiencing homelessness and others who need but cannot afford hygiene items. [Read “Serving the Valley’s Most Vulnerable” on page 10.]

“We have postponed our first-ever fundraising breakfast that was scheduled for Friday, April 3,” says Jarrett Ransom, executive director. “At that event, we planned to showcase the Shoebox history, the hard work we are currently doing to serve the hygiene needs in our community and share our plans for the future. Our fundraising goal for the event was to raise $50,000 and since we no longer have that opportunity and we’re experiencing a surge in the demand for our services, we’re in need of support more than ever. As we move our fundraising to only an online platform, we are working to create ways to engage through video and continue to raise the funds we so desperately need.”

“One of our biggest challenges at the moment is the need to order hygiene items in bulk (and the funds to do so). Bulk products enable us to limit contact with in-kind donors and increases our efficiencies when we lack a volunteer base to help us count and sort items and pack kits.”

Shoebox Ministry is not alone. Many food banks and other social services are feeling extra pressure as Arizona’s unemployment numbers climb amid the spread of the coronavirus. In addition, many of the nonprofit arts institutions have been negatively impacted by closures — with major events canceled and theaters, museums and libraries closed.

The Alliance kicked off early giving March 17, in an effort to address some of the more immediate needs. In addition, a group of donors has provided separate funding to waive payment processing fees normally paid by nonprofits participating in the Arizona Gives Day.

“What this means is more money goes directly to the nonprofits at a time that has never been more critical because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits CEO Kristen Merrifield. “Nonprofits have always had to cover the 2.1 percent fee charged by the payment processor. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we’re able to waive that fee.”

“The beauty of Arizona Gives Day is that it shows what is possible when we all invest our time, talents and treasures to truly lift the tide of all nonprofits that participate,” said Merrifield.

It is going to take more than one day of giving for many Valley nonprofits to recover, but Arizona Gives Day is a positive way to start. Learn more at www.azgives.org. |CST

Scottsdale Arts Festival Celebrates 50 Years

Celebration of creativity returns March 13–15

Commissioned artwork by Stephen and Bonnie Harmston

Since its inception in 1969, the Scottsdale Arts Festival has taken place in several different locations throughout Scottsdale: Scottsdale City Hall, Scottsdale High School, the Executive House, to name a few. Each successive year the scope of the Festival increased and news about the quality of the event spread among regional artists. In 1973, the Scottsdale Fine Arts Commission initiated the idea of commissioning a special commemorative print honoring the event and an untitled work by artist James Rom was chosen. Some of these commissioned pieces will be on display during this year’s 50th anniversary celebration, March 13–15.

In 1989, the Scottsdale Cultural Council (now known as Scottsdale Arts) took over administrating and producing the Scottsdale Arts Festival. International, national and local art exhibitions and installations have always provided engaging enhancements to festival goers.

“The City of Scottsdale has built a reputation as a community that values and supports the arts, and I am very proud that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Arts Festival! As one of our most popular and long-standing events, the Arts Festival showcases some of the most talented artist from across the nation. Our world class community appreciates arts and culture as evidenced by this event’s 50 years of success, and we look forward to further growth under the Scottsdale Arts leadership,” said Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane.

The festival attracts nearly 20,000 loyal visitors annually, and this year’s guests will enjoy the best in visual, culinary, cultural and performing arts throughout the newly renovated 20-acre Scottsdale Civic Center Park. The festival also showcases more than 180 jury-selected artists from the United States and abroad. This year’s featured artists are local husband and wife printmakers Stephen and Bonnie Harmston of HarmstonArts (www.harmstonarts.com), who were commissioned to create an original artwork celebrating 50 years of the festival

In addition to art works ranging from painting, sculpture, glass, ceramics, jewelry, photography and other media, festivalgoers can enjoy live music and entertainment, and this year’s lineup has tunes for everyone performed by local and regional bands all weekend featuring music through the decades on two stages.

Attendees can also explore and cultivate creativity with hands-on activities and giant yard games, as well as visit Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (offering free admission for the weekend). The popular Community Art Studio returns with fun for all ages, including community collage on the handcrafted Scottsdale Arts sign and experiences with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale and Scottsdale Artist School, as well as storytelling with the Scottsdale Public Library.

A lineup of local gourmet food trucks and eateries and a variety of fine wines, beers, cocktails and other beverages will be for sale. Additionally, patrons can bring their own reusable water bottles and use the City of Scottsdale’s water trailer for an easy refill to stay hydrated.

To purchase tickets or find complete event information, visit www.scottsdaleartsfestival.org or call 480.499.8587. 

 

New Hospital in Cave Creek Expected To Open Next Year

Artist’s conceptual rendering of Abrazo Cave Creek Hospital. Courtesy of Abrazo Health

Abrazo Health announced in early February that it is set to begin construction a new small-scale community hospital in Cave Creek near the intersection of Carefree Highway and Cave Creek Road. Expected to open in 2021, Abrazo Cave Creek Hospital is a new type of neighborhood hospital, sometimes referred to as a “microhospital,” designed with an emphasis on quality medical care, convenience, efficiency and short ER wait times.

Abrazo Cave Creek Hospital will focus on emergency and surgical services, with eight rooms for patients needing overnight care. The single-story, approximately 35,000-sq.-ft. facility at the southwest corner of Carefree Highway and 53rd Street will include a 13-bed emergency department, an operating room and eight inpatient rooms, along with additional services.

“I am thrilled to have Emergency Services available in the area,” said Cave Creek Mayor Ernie Bunch. “I believe this makes Cave Creek a more complete Community.”

Abrazo Health currently operates six Valley hospitals including the acclaimed Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital. The Cave Creek hospital will be Abrazo’s third neighborhood hospital. Abrazo Mesa Hospital opened in October 2019 and Abrazo Surprise Hospital is expected to open later this year. Each is closely integrated with Abrazo’s larger sister hospitals, medical group and community physicians.

“We all prefer to receive care closer to home, and this type of hospital meets a need for access to medical care beyond what’s available at an urgent care or freestanding emergency center. The hospital will offer a 24/7 ER and have the ability to perform surgical procedures, with around-the-clock general surgery, hospitalist and emergency physician coverage,” said hospital CEO Ed Staren.

“Our goal is to provide multiple points of access for those who choose Abrazo for their care. Emergency care and operations like appendectomies and gall bladder procedures, for example, can be performed in the neighborhood hospital setting,” said Staren.

Patients with abdominal pain, sprains and broken bones, minor trauma, lacerations, dehydration, pneumonia and flu are typical of injuries and illnesses expected to be treated in the Abrazo Cave Creek Hospital emergency department.

“We’re anxious to begin providing care for our neighbors and friends in the Cave Creek area,” Staren said. “Providing quality medical care and excellent patient satisfaction are among our top priorities, and we want our ER waiting times to be among the shortest they can possibly be.”

When completed, the hospital is expected to create approximately 50 jobs. General contractor for the hospital is Adolfson & Peterson Construction; the facility was designed by E4H Architects.

For more information, visit www.abrazohealth.com.

 

Cave Creek Museum Honors and Celebrates ‘The Legacy of Gerry Jones’

By Karrie Porter Brace

Gerry Jones at his drawing board.

“Do not seek to dominate nature with your buildings, but cooperate with it to achieve a harmony similar to that of natural creations.” —Gerry Jones

Carefree’s exciting architecture and sweeping vistas draw artists, designers, architects, visitors and residents who appreciate the creative integration of sculptural earth, rock and striking desert terrain. Cave Creek Museum’s 50th anniversary, with the Gerry Jones featured exhibit and a one-day only Home Tour of six unique and stellar residences, celebrates the imagination, aesthetic and resolve that initiated and continues to give the Desert Foothills its wonderful signature character.

Gerry Jones is the Desert Foothills’ distinguished architectural designer and builder who implemented the vision of Carefree’s founders, KT Palmer and Tom Darlington. After serving in the Marines in World War II and Korea, Jones remained in China to study history and philosophy, martial arts and jai alai. There, he observed that ancient Buddhist monasteries were tucked directly into the mountains. The topography had not been altered or leveled. When he began his career in design, he resolved to employ the terrain to its best advantage without destroying the natural mountain contours, just as the Buddhists had done centuries before.

In 1957, on a handshake, Jones helped Palmer and Darlington realize their vision of a planned community in the foothills north of the Valley. A seasoned rock climber, he knew the land well, rough-platting 2,200 acres of Carefree on foot. He laid out roads and lots by leading bulldozers across the land as he wove around native cacti, rocks, outcroppings and trees.

Properties were planned with a mandate that no boulder would be displaced to accommodate a builder’s needs. Furthermore, Jones utilized existing rocks and boulders structurally as supports for the foundations of his buildings and interior features of the spaces he created. Based on his practice of building in harmony with nature, he wrote Carefree’s architectural guidelines. They became the foundation for Maricopa County’s building ordinance, which regulates hillside development, grading and drainage to this day.

His 1974 paper “Must We Destroy in Order to Build?” addressed the issues facing those who loved the natural drama and beauty of their Sonoran homes. House-siting, materials palette, floor-level changes and structural solutions are harmoniously integrated with the rock formations and physical features surrounding a Jones-designed residence. Jones’ own residence is nestled within the northeastern boulders of Black Mountain. For nearly 50 years, he has made Carefree his home. He continues to work from his studio overlooking the broad expanse of this beautiful region. His most recent house, in the Nighthawk subdivision on Black Mountain, was completed in 2018.

Jones perceives how the world around us isn’t separated by interior and exterior dichotomies. He creates timeless architecture with a livable affinity for the extreme terrain in Arizona’s wilderness. He brings bedrock into dwelling spaces and puts homeowners into the living desert.

Experience the innovation and drama of Gerry Jones’ architectural design by touring six of his signature homes on the Cave Creek Museum’s The Gerry Jones Home Tour, March 8. [Read The Gerry Jones Home Tour, page 21.]

Photo: Loralei Lazurek, Images Arizona 

‘Unapologetic’: SMoCA Celebrates Women Artists All Year

Kara Walker, “Untitled,” 1998. Lithograph; 34 1/8  x 26 ¾ inches. Gift of Joe Segura.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) unveils its first yearlong collection show, featuring all women artists. The exhibition includes a section of rotational highlights and a gallery dedicated to rarely shown installation-based works. “Unapologetic: All Women, All Year” will be on view Feb. 15, 2020 – Jan. 31, 2021.

“A recent study of art museum collections across the country revealed that women artists comprise an average of under 12 percent of the total artists. Considering this revelation, SMoCA dedicates a yearlong exhibition to women artists to bring attention to this inequity, to foster awareness and to promote inclusivity,” said Jennifer McCabe, director and chief curator at SMoCA.

Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith, “An American Breakthrough”

For the year, the Museum presents this exhibition to raise awareness of this lack of inclusion. This exhibition’s title conveys a sense of strength, signaling for systemic change within culture, where individuals of all gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, age and ability see themselves represented within museums.

This exhibition presents a variety of mediums and genres of art, including modernist bronze sculpture, large abstract shaped canvases, conceptual art, written word, photography, printmaking, painting, sculpture and collage. Visitors can experience an in-depth look at more than 35 works from the Museum’s collection.

The rotational section of works will create a space that presents the range of SMoCA’s collection, including new acquisitions. The first group of works will rotate in June and a final rotation will take place in October.

The installation-based gallery is on view for a shorter period, from Feb. 15 to May 31, and presents several works for the first time since they were acquired, specifically the Laurie Lundquist and Barbara Penn installations. Some of the notable installation pieces in the exhibition were produced specifically for past exhibitions, making them one-of-a-kind works that cannot be seen elsewhere.

The exhibition is timely — “Unapologetic” is on view during the 100th anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the United States, which brought about the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote. The Museum is also a presenting institution as part of the Feminist Art Coalition (FAC), a platform for art projects informed by feminisms. Learn more at http://www.feministartcoalition.org.

“Unapologetic: All Women, All Year” is organized by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Curated by Lauren R. O’Connell, assistant curator, with Keshia Turley, curatorial assistant. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is located at 7374 East Second Street. For additional information, call 480.874.4666 or visit http://www.smoca.org.

Russo and Steele Celebrates Twenty Years — Offers Super Rare Lamborghini at Scottsdale Auction

Russo and Steele Collector Automobile Auctions returns home to Scottsdale Jan. 15–19 at the epicenter of Arizona Car Week at a new site, just south of the North 101 Freeway and Scottsdale Road.

Celebrating its 20th year, Russo and Steele will offer an ultra-rare 1985 Lamborghini Countach QV Downdraft at its 2020 Scottsdale auction.

Known as the most powerful Countach variant ever built, this particular model offers 455 bhp and was used as a factory press car and was the photo subject of the Downdraft brochure distributed at the 1985 Geneva Salon.

Fewer than one-third of all Countach models built were Downdraft variants and Russo Steele says that this model is without question the very best example of this variant to ever be presented at public auction anywhere.  It is 100 percent fully restored by California-based marque specialists at a cost of almost $300,000 to exact original specifications down to brand new Pirelli P7s and Ansa Sports Exhaust, which are all period-correct.  It even comes with original books and all tools complete.

Built in February 1985 in Iconic Bianco Polo Park with Rosso livery, this Countach Downdraft was the very first to be imported into the United States by Al Copeland, car enthusiast and multi-race winning offshore boat racer, and owner of Popeyes Chicken nationwide restaurants.  It was kept in Copeland’s New Orleans car museum for 15 years resulting in just 9,750 miles on the odometer.

“This is probably the most beautiful example of a Countach Downdraft you will see anywhere,” said Drew Alcazar, president and CEO of Russo and Steele.  “Even by today’s standards the car is quite powerful and even though it’s almost 35 years old, it’s design is time less and the stuff of supercar fantasy.”

Running Jan. 15–19, Russo and Steele will provide hundreds of top-quality collector cars for a variety of buyers at their new site in Scottsdale, just off the south side of the Loop 101 Freeway. Featuring the equivalent of five football fields of tents with easy access off the Scottsdale Road exit, acres of contiguous and close proximity parking will greet attendees along with valet parking directly at the main entrance.

For more information about Russo and Steele, visit www.russoandsteele.com or like them on Facebook and Instagram @RussoandSteele.

For more Arizona Car Week events, read: “49th Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction Rolls Into Town” on page 8.

Fine Art & Wine Festival Returns for 27th Annual Winter Event

“Blowhard” by bronze sculptor Jason Napier

More than 5,000 original works of art from 155 juried fine artists will be showcased Jan. 17–19 at the Thunderbird Artists’ 27th Annual Winter Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival. The fine art festival will run along Ho Hum and Easy Streets in Downtown Carefree.

A popular event for locals and tourists alike, Thunderbird Artists’ Winter Carefree show was recently ranked No. 45 among the “Premier 100 Fine Art Events” throughout the nation by Greg Lawler’s Art Fair SourceBook.

“It’s an honor to receive such a prestigious industry accolade, and a true testament to the quality of our show,” said Denise Colter, president of Thunderbird Artists. “We love being a part of the Carefree community — people love strolling through the streets, meeting the artists, tasting wine and listening to live music. It’s a beautiful, serene setting, and our artists provide plenty of inspiration!”

In addition to a wide variety of paintings, sculptures, bronzes, sparkling hand-blown glass, wood, clay, metal, stone, gourds, batiks, scratchboard, one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry and exceptional photography, attendees are expected to be especially taken with the oil paintings of the event’s featured artist, Brent Flory.

“Hudson Bay Comfort” 24”x48” oil painting by Brent Flory

Oil painter Brent Flory enjoys learning about and painting the Wild West. Raised in Parker, Flory was always intrigued by the illustrations in picture books. His favorites depicted cowboys, farmers, ranchers, Native Americans and wildlife from the American West.

Flory finds subject matter for his life-like paintings all around him, especially in journal entries or historical books.

“Every life has a story, and some are just amazing,” says Flory. “People did what they had to do to survive. I try to capture that human experience.”

“Aspen Slope” by Nadine Booth

Each of Flory’s pieces are given a well thought out title to help people think about the paintings in a different way.

“Most artists hope that people will appreciate the beauty of their work,” says Flory. “I hope that my work makes people think, and that it makes them appreciate what we often take for granted.”

In addition to meeting award-winning artists and enjoying live musical performances, festival attendees can participate in a world-class wine tasting program. For $10, patrons will receive an engraved souvenir wine glass and six tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets may be purchased for $1 each.

Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival runs Fri. through Sun., Jan. 17–19, 10am–5pm daily. Admission is $3 for adults, and free for all Carefree residents and children 17 years or younger. Parking is free all weekend. For more information, call 480.837.5637 or visit www.thunderbirdartists.com.

Foothills Caring Corps Offers Critical Support to Residents

Volunteers and community partners help make it possible

Longtime FCC volunteer Caroline Turner

Imagine being able to live independently in one’s own home well into the golden years. It’s a dream for many, but the reality is that as people grow older, their needs become greater as resources begin to diminish. Activities like going to a doctor’s appointment or shopping for groceries become challenging when one no longer drives. Social life may suffer too, especially for those who are a widow or widower or a transplant from another state who may not have family nearby.

Fortunately, more than 2,500 people in the Phoenix area have been able to stay in their homes and live more fulfilling lives because of the nonprofit Foothills Caring Corps (FCC).

Since 1999, Carefree’s FCC has helped older adults and those with disabilities live independently while still being a part of the community. Those that the organization helps are referred to as “Neighbors.” These Neighbors live in the organization’s service area, which includes Carefree, Cave Creek, North Phoenix and North Scottsdale.

Executive director Debbra Determan says isolation and loneliness is something many seniors and others living on their own deal with all too often, and that the organization’s goal is, “to help Neighbors build their resources, so they are surrounded by support.”

Studies have shown that isolation can be detrimental to mental and physical health, often resulting in people being forced to leave their homes and move into care facilities. Eighty-five percent of FCC Neighbors live alone, but Determan says that even Neighbors who live with their children need social interaction or transportation — many seniors are home alone all day because their adult children are at work.

FCC’s services include medical transportation, van trips to social events, mobile meals, mobility equipment loans, pet therapy, friendly visiting and phoning, business/computer help, handyman services, caregiver relief, shopping assistance, a lock-box program and more.

History of Foothills Caring Corps
Gail Simmons and Father Steven Dart formed the start-up programs in 1999.  One year later, they received a start-up grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and to hire a small part-time staff.  They were then able to recruit more volunteers and were granted space in Christ Anglican Church. By 2003, the Caring Corps passed the 200-volunteer mark, and in 2004, the organization purchased its first 13-passenger van.

In 2006, Simmons retired and Determan took over as executive director. The year 2007 saw FCC reach a critical milestone. That year, the Caring Corps met the needs of 350 Neighbors with more than 33,000 volunteer hours. In 2009, the Foothills Caring Corps was officially registered as a 501(c)(3), and it established a Board of Directors.

The nonprofit organization moved to its current location in 2010, and later expanded and remodeled the space to accommodate expansive growth. In 2014, the organization served 740 Neighbors with 575 volunteers. One year later, they reached another milestone by raising $600,000, the most ever raised at that point.

Since its start-up beginnings in 1999, the organization has had steady growth in both the number of Neighbors served and the volunteers that have been recruited. Fast forward to 2019 when, as of October, FCC had provided 35,782 hours of service, which included more than 10,400 meals, 5,955 van trips and 4,438 medical-transportation trips.

Getting Started
All of these life-changing services begin with a phone call and an at-home visit by FCC assistant director — Volunteer and Neighbor manager, Nancy Cohrs. Cohrs meets with FCC applicants to make sure the organization is a good fit for them. With 230 plus new participants a year, Cohrs spends a good portion of her workday screening potential Neighbors. She says the organization helps people at a critical time in their lives, adding that the FCC motto — Hugs and Help Happen Here — really holds true.

“I do believe that our service and our volunteers make a huge impact on the community, allowing Neighbors to remain living independently,” she says.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Neighbors who want company can sign up for FCC’s friendly in-person visits or phone calls. They can also take a look at the monthly calendar that lists upcoming van trips. Neighbors are encouraged to sign up for activities that interest them, such as movies, bingo, the library, chair yoga, special events and more.

A van will accommodate five or six neighbors, the driver and the driver’s assistant. Neighbors receive help getting on and off the vans, five of which are equipped with ramps or lifts. The Caring Corps currently has nine vehicles.

Scottsdale resident Caroline Turner is one of several volunteers who drive Neighbors to doctor’s appointments or social events. The Caring Corps provides as many as 85 rides in one week.

“It’s so rewarding,” says Turner, who volunteers anywhere from 60 to 80 hours per month. “The neighbors are so inspiring. If a 90-year-old woman with an oxygen tank can get out and go to chair yoga…that’s amazing. I hope I can do that when I’m that age.”

While the average age of an FCC Neighbor is 82, not all of them are elderly. Scottsdale resident Nathan Holter, who is epileptic and legally blind, is a few decades younger than most of the Neighbors, but he doesn’t mind. He says the Neighbors he has met over the years have unofficially adopted him as their son or grandson.

When Holter and his parents moved to Arizona from Minnesota 10 years ago, he found he didn’t have much opportunity for social interaction with people outside his family. He went online looking for transportation and stumbled upon the van program.

“When I called about the van service, they said, ‘You know this van is primarily for the elderly, don’t you?’ And I said, so?”

Holter takes six to eight van trips per month — fewer in the summer months when many volunteers are away. “I have a whole lot more freedom with the van program, and I enjoy my life a lot more,” Holter says. “I’ve become more confident in myself. I really look forward to these trips.”

Neighbor Doris Rybarczyk moved to Arizona from Maryland in 2003 and has been participating in the van program for 15 years. Rybarczyk’s son lives nearby but works full time and is busy raising a daughter.

“I love it,” she says. “It has given me such a wonderful outlook on life. It gives you a chance to talk with different people and keep your mind active.”

Rybarczyk says once she experienced the FCC van program for the first time, she made sure to tell everyone in her apartment complex about it.

Many Neighbors become good friends on van trips and even exchange phone numbers so they can discuss future trips or just chat.

“When you’re lonely and isolated, that has an impact on your health. You can get depressed and have anxiety. Our goal is to enhance their lives and add social interaction and fun with safety in mind,” Cohrs says.

Regina Bonahoom, a Neighbor and Cave Creek resident, says the Caring Corps has made a huge impact on her life. After becoming a widow, she became less involved in the community and reached out to the nonprofit to help fill that void.

“It was a new chapter in my life, and, without the Foothills Caring Corps, I wouldn’t have known who to turn to,” she says. “I’ve made many new friends. We need to be with friends. That’s what gets us through.”

Krosby the therapy dog

Neighbors who appreciate “furry” friends, can also take part in the pet therapy program. Turner is one of the volunteers who brings her certified therapy dog to visit Neighbors.  Neighbors love visiting with her dog, Krosby.

Volunteer Power
While the Foothills Caring Corps has almost a dozen paid staff, the organization’s volunteers are critical to its success, with more than 1,600 registered volunteers, 475 of which are regularly active.

Cohrs facilitates most of the volunteer orientations and says people have many volunteer options, depending on their interests and the amount of time they can commit.

“Our volunteers are always telling us that they get so much out of the experience,” Cohrs says. “And the Neighbors could not be more grateful.”

Marian and Phil Abramowitz have been volunteering for 15 years. They work together delivering food for the mobile meals program. The organization delivers 60-70 meals per day, Monday through Friday. The food is prepared at Honor Health, Thompson Peak.

“The Neighbors love the food, and they are so grateful to us,” Marian says. “Every house we go to, they thank us over and over again.”

Cohrs says mobile meals is a critical FCC program. Not only do neighbors get a hot meal, but they also get a safety check. Neighbors in the program are required to answer the door and let the volunteer in the house. If no one comes to the door, FCC will call until the person answers. If they are unable to reach a Neighbor within a short period of time, FCC will call either the sheriff’s department or fire department to do a welfare check.

Volunteer Chuck Zontanos has been with FCC since 2005. He started as a driver and now serves as a driver’s assistant.

“Everybody we pick up has a story,” Zontanos says. “They have a lifetime of experience and some of the stories are remarkable.”

The first Neighbor Zontanos ever drove to the doctor was a French woman with a background straight out of a novel. During the ride, she shared that she had worked for the French underground during World War II and helped smuggle Jews over the border into France. She was eventually turned in to authorities by her neighbors, and she spent two years in a German prisoner of war camp. Another woman Zontanos met flew U.S. military planes fresh off the assembly line to make sure they were ready for battle overseas during World War II.

“Everybody has a story,” Zontanos says. “It’s a great pleasure hearing where everybody is from and getting to know them.”

Many of FCC’s volunteers says that while they are the ones donating their time, they feel like they get more out of the experience than they put in.

“Every day I volunteer, I give back to someone,” Turner says. “I can’t imagine what I would do without the Caring Corps in my life.”

To recognize the impact that they have made, all past and present volunteers are invited to celebrate 20 years of the Foothills Caring Corps at a reunion / volunteer appreciation celebration, which will take place in early 2020. The event will include an awards presentation and recognition of volunteers and the debut a video that documents the organization’s history. Food and beverages will be provided.

It Takes a Village
While FCC wants as many people as possible to know about the program, more Neighbors means an increased demand for volunteers and funding. The organization occasionally receives grants for various programs, but the majority of its funds come from private donations.

Also vital to the organization is the support of its community partners and residents. In late November, they partnered with the Town of Carefree and Kiwanis Club of Carefree to launch the “Season for Caring” initiative benefiting the many deserving seniors in the area. Residents are invited to help FCC “bring joy, friendship and a holiday gift to our Neighbors,” says Determan. [Read Season for Caring on page 23.]

The nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization raised $650,000 in 2018–19 and hopes to meet its goal of $720,000 in 2019–20. Community members who would like to help support FCC in its mission can learn more at www.foothillscaringcorps.com.

How the Coop Stole Christmas — And Gave Back to Valley Teens

One of Phoenix’s signature holiday events, Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding Fundraiser, returns for its 18th year this month, and brings together Michael Bruce, Neal Smith and Dennis Dunaway from the original Alice Cooper band, Judas Priest front man Rob Halford, and Joe Bonamassa, one of the world’s greatest living guitarists, for an evening of music and mayhem. And just announced in late November, Johnny Depp of The Hollywood Vampires will join the fun. Proceeds from the event directly benefit the free music, dance, arts and vocational programs at Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Center.

The annual fundraiser returns to the historic Celebrity Theatre at 7pm Saturday, Dec. 14, and will also include performances from the Solid Rock Dancers, The Bucket Brigade and the winners of this year’s Proof is in the Pudding Musical Talent Search, Cooper’s own version of “American Idol.”

Tickets prices range from $50–$220 for this all-ages show and are on sale at Celebrity Theatre or online at www.celebritytheatre.com. To charge by phone, call 602.267.1600.

“As always, Solid Rock is trying to put together a show with new and classic headliners. The uniqueness of this concert is that you’ll never see this caliber and variety of artists on the same stage again,” said Cooper. “Come join our ultimate Christmas party and help support the teens at The Rock Teen Center!”

Opened in May 2012, The Rock Teen Center aims to cultivate a love of the arts, inspire teens to grow through empowering programs in music, dance and art, and to help teens embrace artistic excellence and reach their full potential.

In a time when many public schools are faced with cutting funding for performing arts programs, the center provides vocational training in sound and recording, lighting and staging, and video production, as well as dance and art instruction, a computer lab and a supervised facility for the teens to engage with their peers. The center serves anywhere from 50 to 100 area teens, ages 12–20, daily, and all the programs offered are free — they even provide the instruments if needed.

The Rock Teen Center is located in North Phoenix at 13625 North 32nd Street, and is open Monday–Friday, 2–8pm. For additional information, call 602.522.9200 or visit www.alicecoopersolidrock.com.

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