Get a Jump on Summer at Free YMCA Family Event

Area families are invited to have fun and gear up for summer at the Desert Foothills YMCA’s (Y) Healthy Kids Day event, Saturday, April 27, 9am–noon. Healthy Kids Day is a national Y initiative to improve the health and well-being of children. During this free event, families can enjoy games and giveaways, as well as discounts on programs like camp, swim and sports and one-day-only membership offers at the Y.

The day’s activities will include water safety demonstrations, Foothills Animal Rescue adoptions, face-painting, a bounce house, a visit from the Phoenix Herpetological Society, Family Fitness Hour at 10am and more.

The Desert Foothills YMCA is a part of the Black Mountain Campus — a partnership with Paradise Valley Community College and the Foothills Community Foundation. This Y opened its doors in October 2009 as a true multi-generational facility, with offerings and services for the entire community — from the youngest member at 3 months and their siblings to adults and active seniors in their 90s. In addition to the health and fitness offerings (including equipment, group fitness classes and personal training), the facility has a heated outdoor pool with zero-depth entry, gender specific and family locker rooms, separate spaces and programs for youth and teens, racquetball courts and a gymnasium. It also offers a dedicated teen center and associated programs, many of which are free to the community, and boasts the largest Teen Leaders Club in the association.

Desert Foothills Family YMCA is located at 34250 North 60th Street in North Scottsdale. For additional information, call 480.596.9622 or visit

PVCC To Host Literacy Event Providing Thousands of Free Children’s Books

Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) and Southwest Human Development will again partner in hosting the Spring Festival of Tales, a free community literacy event offering storytelling and cultural activities for children and families from 9am to 2pm Saturday, April 27, at Paradise Valley Community College.

The bi-annual festival brings reading to life through the “Art of Storytelling” and provides free books to children who participate in the day’s activities, which include demonstrations, vendors, arts and crafts, games, face painting, live music, food trucks and much more.

“Events like Festival of Tales are important for everyone who participates because it helps develop an awareness, understanding and respect for other cultures and new ideas through the art of storytelling,” says PVCC education faculty and event organizer, Meggin Kirk. “Not only does this event enhance literacy skills and spark the imaginations of children, but it also ignites the passion in PVCC students by giving them opportunities to interact with community member and apply their learning in an authentic setting.”

Since its inception in 2009, Festival of Tales has attracted more than 17,000 people from Maricopa County and more than 25,000 books have been given away to children from low-income families. In 2019, Festival of Tales was recognized with two distinguished awards from the Maricopa County Community College District, including the Diversity Advisory Council award and the Paul M. Pair Innovation of the Year award.

Paradise Valley Community College is located at 18401 North 32nd Street in Phoenix. Event activities will take place in and around the Kranitz Student Center (KSC). Free parking is available. Festival of Tales is free and open to the public.

For more information, including registration and performance times, visit or call 602.787.6562.

PVCC to Celebrate Grand Opening of Integrated Health Facility with Free Wellness Fair

Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) invites the public to the grand opening of the Integrated Health Science Center Saturday, Feb. 9, at 10am. Located in the Q Building at the PVCC Union Hills campus located off of 32nd Street and Union Hills, the Integrated Health Science Center is an innovative instructional space that provides a venue for students to gain hands-on experience and apply their knowledge in a practical setting, while also offering a tangible benefit to the community.

Remodeled using Prop 301 funds, this new facility provides shared space for several PVCC health degree programs including Nursing, Exercise Science, Integrated Public Health, EMT/Fire Science/Paramedic, Healthcare Technology and Dietetic Technology. In addition to multiple classrooms, the Integrated Health Science Center houses a simulation lab for nursing and paramedic students as well as a state-of-the-art teaching kitchen. Since opening in January 2019, the facility is already home to over 15 classes educating approximately 250 enrolled students.

“We are incredibly excited to commemorate the opening of the Integrated Health Science Center to our students as well as our community,” said PVCC president, Dr. Paul Dale. “While the primary purpose of the facility is academic instruction, it will also serve as a collaborative space for students to partner with local healthcare providers and increase healthcare access for our underserved and underrepresented communities.”

A grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held for community members and dignitaries Feb. 9 at 9am, followed by a free Health and Wellness Fair that is open to the public from 10am until 1pm.

The Health and Wellness Fair kicks off a series of wellness events slated to be hosted at the facility throughout the course of the year, all of which will be free of charge to the community. Activities confirmed for attendees Feb. 9 include mental health screenings, Pilates, ear checks, massages, immunizations, healthy cooking demonstrations, a vendor fair, food and more.

For more information about the Integrated Health Science Center’s academic programs or calendar of wellness events, call 602.787.7261 or visit

Foothills Empty Bowls Lunch And Art Auction Set For October 20

Online auction added to 2017 event aimed at helping feed hungry in need

The annual Foothills Empty Bowls Lunch & Art Auction 2017 will honor World Hunger Day Friday, October 20, and will be held at Harold’s Corral in Cave Creek, from 11am–1pm.

According to Pam DiPietro, executive director of Foothills Food Bank, this year the organization is adding a new feature to its Empty Bowls event. The auction will be on the food bank’s website,, which gives people the opportunity to bid on 60 fine art and craft items donated by renowned local artists.

“We are excited to offer this auction online so people who support this worthy cause can spend the quality time they need to research the bid items,’ says DiPietro. “This has always been an amazing event with a great turnout, but this year we will take Empty Bowls to a new level with the online auction.”

Carole Perry and Robin Ray, two highly regarded Sonoran Arts League artists, brought Empty Bowls to the northern desert foothills to benefit Foothills Food Bank more than 17 years ago. Perry says that online bidding began September 20 and be available to bidders throughout the celebration, and that 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Foothills Food Bank & Resource Center to support its ongoing effort to provide emergency food and services to area families in need of assistance.

Lunch will be served in handmade ceramic or glass bowls. Individuals are encouraged to donate $15 to the cause and select their own unique bowl made by Arizona artists, and keep it as a lasting reminder of world hunger.

The Foothills Empty Bowls & Art Auction 2017 is sponsored by the Sonoran Arts League, Harold’s Corral, Marjon Ceramics and Laguna Clay. Other donors are Saguaro and Cactus Shadows High School students, Paradise Valley Community College ceramics students and local potters and artists who make and donate the bowls and auction items.

For more information, call 480.488.1145 or visit

Local Artist’s Glasswork Featured At Empty Bowls

Carole Perry, who helped create the Foothills Empty Bowls Lunch in the Northern Desert Foothills more than 17 years ago, knows glass. Intimately. Her business, Laughing Glass Contemporary Glass Art Studio, has been producing beautiful glass artwork for more than 27 years and thousands of Laughing Glass bowls have been a hallmark of the colorful glass and ceramic bowls offered each year as part of the Foothills Empty Bowls Lunch to honor World Hunger Day.

This year, Perry and other local artists’ glass and ceramic bowls will be available to participants who attend the event at Harold’s Corral, from 11am–1pm, Friday, October 20. Perry says she began working with the project because her local community supports artists and as an artist, she wanted to give back in a meaningful way. Perry and her Sonoran Arts League friends began by creating and donating bowls to the Empty Bowls project at the Arizona Center in 1997. After starting the Foothills Empty Bowls Lunch to benefit the Foothills Food Bank at El Pedregal in North Scottsdale in 2000, Empty Bowls now has found a home in Cave Creek. Today, Perry continues giving back while enjoying her own success as one of the top glass artists of her kind.

“When I came back to the desert, every magical, mystical thing came together for me,” says Perry. “I love what I do and this is where I learned the simplest of rules: the more you give, the more you receive…and, I get to live in the greatest place on Earth.”

Robin Ray’s Ceramics Boost Empty Bowls Event

Robin Ray mastered her craft while teaching visual arts to students of all ages for more than 26 years. However, as an accomplished painter and ceramics expert, she also took the time to help bring the 17-year-old Empty Bowls Lunch event to the northern desert foothills.

For the first five years, she gathered artists and friends to create ceramic bowls in the ceramic department of a high school. And, every year since, like clockwork, a cadre of ceramic lovers gets together at her studio in early September to make bowls for the October fund-raiser. Her leadership has resulted in thousands of additional bowls for the annual event.

Ray, owner of Robin’s Nest in Cave Creek, produces her own beautiful paintings, ceramics and murals for people from around the world. However, when it comes to creating distinctive ceramic bowls for the event, which benefits Foothills Food Bank, her peers and students love working on the bowls which will help focus people on hunger in the world.

“These special bowls will be filled with pasta at the Empty Bowls Lunch,” says Ray. “The amount of pasta that fills each bowl roughly matches the amount of calories a homeless person is provided in a single meal.”

First Light Viewing Party To Be Held

Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) at Black Mountain will unveil its 14-inch Cassegrain telescope for a first light viewing party September 14, from 7–9:45pm. “First light” refers to the first time that a telescope is used to take an astronomical image. The telescope, located on the PVCC at Black Mountain campus, collects 3,136 times more light than the human eye. It will allow viewers to see the colors of the Orion nebula, storms on Jupiter, and the structure of the Andromeda galaxy that is located 2.5 million light years away.

“This new telescope will allow PVCC students to conduct research on variable and binary stars from the observatory dome, in the classroom, and even remotely from the Union Hills Campus,” says Jenny Weitz, professor of Astronomy at PVCC.

Paradise Valley Community College partners with the Phoenix Astronomical Society to provide students, faculty, and members of the community with opportunities to explore the dark night skies of Cave Creek and Carefree. Before the first light viewing party, there will be a STEAM night from 6–7pm. Both events are free and open to the public. To RSVP, email For additional information, visit

Explore A Wonderland Of Reading

readingPVCC to host Festival of Tales

Valley families will enjoy a fun day of reading, literacy and cultural activities for children that includes storytelling, arts and crafts, games, face painting, live music, food trucks and more, as Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) hosts Festival of Tales. The seventh annual event will bring books to life through the art of storytelling and provide thousands of free books to children who participate. Presented by students, staff and volunteers from PVCC and Southwest Human Development, the free Festival of Tales event will be held Saturday, December 3, from 9:30am-2pm, in the Kranitz Student Center at PVCC (18401 North 32nd Street, Phoenix).

For additional information, call 602.787.7862 or visit

PVCC Black Mountain Campus Expansion

12 new acres to complete Phase 1

By Curtis Riggs – With the acquisition of 12 acres of land on the south side of the Carefree Highway, the Black Mountain Campus of the Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) will soon enter its second phase, according to PVCC President Paul Dale.

Dale hopes to have the plans for a 15,000-square-foot addition to the Black Mountain Campus available for review this month. The 12 acres is at the southwest corner of 56th Street and the Carefree Highway. PVCC now owns over 80 acres on the south side of the highway between 56th and 60th streets.

The new land is north of the entrance to the Black Mountain Campus, the Foothills Community Foundation’s Holland Center and the Desert Foothills YMCA. The three have been partners since the educational/recreational facility was established. With the plans for the addition coming in this month, Dale hopes that ground will be broken for Phase II in late 2013.

There were 600 students enrolled at the Black Mountain Campus this fall. Dale would like to see enrollment be closer to 1,000. Offering the right courses for people in the area is the best way to increase enrollment, he adds. New Business courses being offered this spring include the study of Computer Information Systems, Macro Economics and an Introduction to Business course. |CST

PVCC Opens New Health Sciences Facility

Paradise Valley Community College celebrated the grand opening of the newest addition to its Union Hills campus – the $1.65 million Health Sciences building – with a ribbon cutting, trauma simulations and building tours last month.

The state-of-the-art facility will provide a real-world environment for students in the nursing, EMT and paramedic programs, and includes a skills practice lab and exam room that replicates a hospital inpatient area, a control center, debriefing room and outside staging/training area. Two simulation rooms are equipped with recording equipment that can broadcast to classrooms or capture video for future review by students and instructors. Full body models used to teach skills and procedures are equipped with high-fidelity electronic simulators that can demonstrate a wide range of physiological responses.

For more information, call 602.787.6500 or visit

Spring Production Success For Tesseract

NORTHEAST PHOENIX – Tesseract School held its Middle School spring production of Once Upon a Mattress, an adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fable The Princess and The Pea, May 17-19 at the Paradise Valley Community College
Center for Performing Arts.

Tesseract students between grades five-eight held three evening performances and one matinee, which featured a double cast with several of the 59 actresses and actors rotating between productions. Several students, who did not perform in a particular production, gained additional experience working backstage and in the front-of-house.

For more information, visit or call 480.991.1770.

PVCC Senior Night

NORTH PHOENIX– High school seniors and their parents may be overwhelmed by the choices they have to make when preparing for the next step in education. To help them understand the options and how to plan for the future, Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC), a Maricopa Community College, offers High School Senior Night Wednesday, April 18.

PVCC’s Senior Night begins at 6:30pm in Room Q120, followed by an informational presentation until 8:30pm. Meet PVCC staff and current students to learn more about what the college has to offer, including affordable tuition, student life and leadership, honors programs and more.

Registration has started for summer and fall semesters at PVCC. Classes begin May 29, July 2 and August 18. To see a list of available classes, go to and select the semester of your choice. Classes are offered on campus, online or in a hybrid format of both. PVCC is located at 18401 North 32nd Street in Phoenix. Many classes are also available at PVCC at Black Mountain, a satellite site located at 34250 North 60th Street in North Scottsdale. Call 602.493.2600 for more information.

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