Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Posted By on Tue, Jun 9, 2020 at 12:45 PM

click to enlarge Adriana Kong-Romero, Tucson market president, Bank of America - COURTESY PHOTO
Courtesy Photo
Adriana Kong-Romero, Tucson market president, Bank of America
On June 2 Bank of America announced their commitment to spend $1 billion helping local communities address economic and racial inequality accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their four-year programs will focus on communities of color who have experienced a greater negative impact from the COVID-19 outbreak than others.

“Underlying economic and social disparities that exist have accelerated and intensified during the global pandemic,” said Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan in a press release. “The events of the past week have created a sense of true urgency that has arisen across our nation, particularly in view of the racial injustices we have seen in the communities where we work and live. We all need to do more.”

On May 25, a Black man named George Floyd was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis over suspicion of a forged check. The graphic video of his murder in broad daylight was circulated on social media, sparking outrage and protests across the world.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2020 at 4:30 PM

click to enlarge Mel Ryan, Fry’s Food Stores Tucson District Manager (left) and Michael McDonald, CEO of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona (right) holding the $25,000 check.
Mel Ryan, Fry’s Food Stores Tucson District Manager (left) and Michael McDonald, CEO of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona (right) holding the $25,000 check.
Families looking to keep their children fed with the help of local school pantries recently received support in the form of a $25,000 grant from Fry’s Food Stores to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.

The funding will support the nonprofit’s 22 school pantry programs, located in eight school districts in two counties. The pantries provide food to families despite school closures, and many continue to do so through the summer.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2020 at 5:00 PM

The Sundt Foundation donated $26,000 to two nonprofits in Southern Arizona working to address increased needs of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and Interfaith Community Services both received $13,000 in funding.

"Across Southern Arizona, our community is feeling the effects of COVID-19," said Sundt Foundation Tucson Board Member Rick Buchanan, in a release. "Our Foundation board made a swift decision to donate $200,000 in relief aid to over 20 nonprofits across our nine geographic markets, including three here in the Tucson region."

The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona has switched food distributions to a drive-through model during the pandemic for a contactless delivery. Interfaith Community Services has seen a sharp increase in people visiting its food bank.

“Many thanks to the Sundt Foundation for your continued support of ICS and our Tucson neighbors in need. You continue to make a positive difference in our community,” said Karen Latendresse of Interfaith Community Services.

The Sundt Foundation additionally awarded over $25,000 to nine other organizations across Southern Arizona during its second-quarter distributions. Grant recipients include Marshall Home for Men, Wheels for Kids, Haven Totes Inc., Exodus Community Services, Inc., Sold No More, Therapeutic Ranch for Animals & Kids (TRAK), Autism Society of Southern Arizona, Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona and the TMC Foundation.

The Sundt Foundation awards grants each quarter to nonprofit organizations that support disadvantaged children and families. Grant recipients are selected through an application process, then reviewed by Sundt employee-owners within their local giving area.

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2020 at 11:00 AM

SAN CARLOS – As she looked at the Disney characters decorating the walls of the San Carlos Apache Healthcare Dental Clinic and at the smiling, laughing children watching dental health demonstrations, Suzanne Haney thought back to what a trip to the dentist used to be.

“Back then, it was so different, it was in the ‘70s you know, the treatment wasn’t great,” said Haney, a grandmother and primary caretaker for three children under age 8. “It made you afraid to come to the dentist.”

That was just one of the challenges facing health care officials on the San Carlos Apache reservation as they struggled to improve dental health of tribe members.

While 36% of kindergartners in the U.S. experienced tooth decay, according to the 2016 edition of the First Things First’s Children’s Oral Health Report, the average in Arizona was 52%, and among Native children it was even higher. Numbers specific to the San Carlos Apache were not available, but the report said that 76% of Native American kindergartners nationwide had experienced tooth decay.

The San Carlos Apache tribe is looking to change those numbers with events like the Oral Health Month program that Haney and close to 300 others attended in February.

“We decorate the place, and we spend most of the day bringing Head Start children and the community members and let them go through and see the dental department in an environment which is fun rather than stressful,” said Dr. Gregory Waite, the chief of the San Carlos Apache dental program.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2020 at 11:00 AM

Last week, Governor Doug Ducey announced that $500,000 from Arizona's Coronavirus Relief Fund had been allocated to 10 organizations providing out-of-school child care in the state.

The funding will support "extended hours and enrichment programs to meet the increased demand of child care for families while students distance learn and parents or guardians work." 
The funding will go to:
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Casa Grande
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Arizona
  • Boys & Girls Club of Flagstaff 
  • Boys & Girls Club of Round Valley
  • Boys & Girls Club of Bisbee
  • The CLUB for YOUth Kingman
  • Cobre Valley Youth Club
  • Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center

Friday, May 22, 2020

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2020 at 4:00 PM

click to enlarge Judy Payne with bundles of mask kits at Cathey's Sewing & Vacuum - COURTESY JACKIE PAYNE
Courtesy Jackie Payne
Judy Payne with bundles of mask kits at Cathey's Sewing & Vacuum

The arts and crafts community around Cathey’s Sewing & Vacuum stores have kept busy during quarantine by sewing tens of thousands of masks for local hospitals, first responders and law enforcement.

The Tucson-based business is welcoming volunteers to sew face masks for essential workers at any of their three locations. Over the past two months, volunteers at the family business have produced an estimated 35,000 masks – and they don’t plan on stopping.

“Our purpose in doing this is to help the community,” said owner Donny Cathey. “Tucson and Southern Arizona have been unbelievably supportive of our family business and all the families that our business supports. I believe that any local business such as ours has a duty to give back to the community that supports it.”

The initiative began when the local non-profit Beads of Courage called Cathey to help Banner Health in making specialized masks. These masks are made with a blue-and-white sterilization wrap normally used with medical instruments.

The volunteer effort is spearheaded by Judy Payne, 59, who was disheartened when COVID-19 stopped her from attending many of her favorite activities, such as teaching quilting classes and babysitting her grandchildren.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2020 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge The Welcome to America Project is one of the many organizations across the Valley providing extra support to refugee families as they navigate their post-COVID 19 lives. (Photo by Sabine Thompson)
The Welcome to America Project is one of the many organizations across the Valley providing extra support to refugee families as they navigate their post-COVID 19 lives. (Photo by Sabine Thompson)
PHOENIX – Sharing meals is generally frowned upon in the socially distanced, stay-at-home world of COVID-19, but one aid group is embracing the notion – figuratively, at least.

“Share a Meal With a Refugee,” a program run by the Welcome to America Project, collects donated gift cards to share with refugee families, a group that has been hit particularly hard by the effects of the coronavirus and its shutdowns.

“The goal is to get at least 200 gift cards and to share with families so that I could sit at home with my family and during the meal and say, ‘You know what, we’re having a meal with the refugee family tonight,'” said Mike Sullivan, the agency director for the Welcome to America Project.

It is just one of a growing number of programs by relief agencies that have stepped up to offer everything from gift cards to computers to crowdsourced fundraising to help refugee families grappling with COVID-19 in the Valley.

While COVID-19 has upended most lives, it has been particularly hard on refugees who are more likely to have jobs that put them at risk and less likely to qualify for unemployment if they lose those jobs. They also face challenges unimaginable to most Americans, like not having a computer at home for their children to get schooling and language barriers that prevent them from helping their kids with their studies.

“The jobs that they take are also often invisible jobs, meaning we’re in the front room dining in the restaurant, they’re in the back room making sure that the meals are prepared and that the utensils are cleaned,” Sullivan said.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Posted By on Tue, May 12, 2020 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge Boys to Men Executive Director Michael Brasher and his son holding their $10,000 check from Angel Charities - COURTESY PHOTO
Courtesy photo
Boys to Men Executive Director Michael Brasher and his son holding their $10,000 check from Angel Charities
Five different causes in Southern Arizona received a shot of financial aid this week from Angel Charity, the organization announced Monday. $195,020 was delivered to Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels, Boys to Men, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Literacy Connects, and Make Way for Books.

"The current COVID-19 crisis has strengthened Angel Charity’s commitment to improve the lives of children in our community,” said 2020 Angel Charity General Chair Adriana Rincon, in a statement.

$65,000 of that funding will support a new play therapist at the Amanda Dream Center in the Diamond Children’s Medical Center in central Tucson. The therapist provides counseling, play therapy, and other services for children with cancer.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Posted By on Mon, May 11, 2020 at 2:30 PM

Photo Courtesy World View
World View, a Tucson-based space technology company that develops high-altitude balloon systems, is shifting its business to manufacture isolation gowns for the Pima County healthcare workers who are currently battling COVID-19.

World View previously developed un-crewed "Stratollite" balloon vehicles that could photograph and gather data from the atmosphere, but like many start-up companies, was forced to furlough employees due to the ongoing pandemic.

“This difficult decision inspired the company to focus on actions we could take to return employees to work as quickly as possible,” said World View CEO Ryan Hartman in a press release.

As a part of a partnership with Pima County, World View was able to call 19 employees back to work to develop up to 9,600 isolation gowns per week for long-term care facilities, assisted living centers and nursing facilities. But this number is only chipping away that more than 100,000 requests for isolation gowns and personal protective equipment that Pima County has received from local health agencies.

"The ability to find an intersection of supporting our teammates while also supporting local front-line workers and first responders is truly rewarding," Hartman said. "We remain grateful for the ongoing support and partnership with Pima County."

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Friday, May 8, 2020

Posted By on Fri, May 8, 2020 at 1:45 PM

click to enlarge Twin Peaks K-8 School teacher Monica Baden was among the educators recognized by Tucson Values Teacher with the Teacher Excellence Award this month. - COURTESY PHOTO
Courtesy photo
Twin Peaks K-8 School teacher Monica Baden was among the educators recognized by Tucson Values Teacher with the Teacher Excellence Award this month.
For their dedication to students and hardworking attitudes, several local teachers were recently honored by Tucson Values Teachers with the Teacher Excellence Award.

As previously reported by Tucson Local Media, The Teacher Excellence Awards are delivered each month after colleagues, students, and parents nominate an outstanding educator. Winners receive a plaque, bouquet of roses, $250 in cash and a $100 gift card to Office Depot/Office Max.

Tucson Values Teachers asked the community to send in video nominations last month, and the organization announced the winners Friday.

“Deep down in every teacher’s heart, they really care about their kids, and teachers have accepted this challenge to teach in the best way they can in a totally different way—virtually—so that their kids can continue to grow,” Tucson Values Teachers CEO Andy Heinemann previously told Tucson Local Media. “What amazes me is that in this time of crisis and change, they’ve embraced this new way of teaching so that their kids don’t get behind.”

Twin Peaks K-8 School teacher Monica Baden, Mountain View High School culinary teacher Corinne Angello, Canyon View ELementary School second grade teacher Amanda Campbell, Tom ELementary School first grade teacher Jennifer Knight and Desert View High School English teacher Kasie Betten were selected as this month’s winners.

Their awards were donated by the Helios Education Foundation and South Tucson Cyber Lions.

To see their nomination videos, go to this website.

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