UMOM New Day Centers is the largest and longest-running shelter in Arizona, serving homeless and impoverished Valley residents since 1964. Over their 50 years of existence, this organization has established food banks, permanent housing for mentally ill, medical and dental centers, and schools for those who have desperately needed their services.
On June 6th, UMOM was informed that due to a generous contribution of $12.4 million from the Arizona Department of Housing (ADOH) and The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, the organization can continue to expand its project to provide affordable long-term housing options for the homeless. “The financing…will allow UMOM to continue toward our goal of providing every needy family with an affordable place to live,” says UMOM CEO Darlene Newsom after the announcement.
This contribution will be used to demolish a dilapidated building in Sunnyslope that UMOM acquired in 2011, and rebuild it with 48 units of various one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. At least 34 of those units will be reserved for occupation by families, veterans, and those who have been chronically homeless. The build is projected to begin in early 2015, with the hope that those on the shelter’s extensive waiting list can move in by fall. UMOM also plans to utilize the donation to build a nearby community center next to the Sunnyslope property, which will offer GED tutoring, health and wellness classes, and job search assistance.
The organization currently has up to 75 families on the shelter waiting list at any given time, and the Parsons knew something had to be done. “The idea of standing idle while a waitlist for affordable housing grows is simply not an option,” says Bob Parsons. “There are families in this community who need a leg-up and a second chance at becoming first-class citizens. Renee and I have every intention to help make a long-term difference in the fight to end homelessness in the greater Phoenix area, and we believe that UMOM’s new housing community is a great next step.”
This wasn’t the first time that The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation has contributed to UMOM’s success. Back in 2012, they gave a sizable $5 million donation to allow UMOM to pay off their main campus’s mortgage, where they provide emergency and transitional housing as well as other services for the Valley’s homeless.
UMOM’s mission has always been one that many can stand behind, and continue to support: to prevent and end homelessness with innovative strategies and housing solutions that meet the unique needs of each family and individual. Thankfully, due to this latest generosity, they can continue pushing toward that end goal.
To learn more about UMOM New Day Centers: http://www.umom.org/
To learn more about The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation: http://tbrpf.org/
Arizona should be proud to call the Maurice family residents. Last year, Ethan Maurice, at just 21 years old, rode cross-country with his older brother to raise funds for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Their three-month long journey resulted in $96,000 in donations, and now Ethan is at it again. Accompanied by his 15-year-old sister Haley, the two Maurice teens will hike a 221-mile trek from Yosemite National Park to the top of Mount Whitney—all to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
This is a cause that has affected the Maurice family personally, with Haley being diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes at the age of eight. “I’ve seen Haley deal with this on a daily basis,” Ethan says. “Every night before going to bed she has to be at a certain sugar level or she could go into a coma or even die. We want to push for research to eliminate these complications.” Haley says that she attends JDRF camps and has lots of friends with the disease. Their personal struggles to stay healthy give Haley and her brother that much more of a reason to raise money for a cure.
When asked why this specific trail was chosen, Ethan says he’s wanted to do it for a long time. Once he mentioned it to Haley earlier this year, however, she wouldn’t let it go. “I am going to do this,” Haley said to her brother, so the two decided to hike it as a fundraising event. “The previous bike ride was so worthwhile and significant. Another fundraiser like this would be great, and for a good cause,” Ethan says about their decision.
The siblings have been training daily for the vigorous hike; working out, running and collecting supplies for the trip. To ensure Haley is able to manage her diabetes out in the wilderness, they plan to bring twice the amount of insulin needed as well as injections in case of emergency. The two expect to hike between 10 and 15 miles a day, and will only pass two re-supply points during the entire 221-mile hike. Without cell phone reception, the teens will use a satellite phone to update their parents on progress, as well as to post on Facebook for supporters.
The goal is to raise $221,000, which corresponds to the number of miles they will be hiking. Haley and Ethan are confident they’ll receive that amount in donations, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the JDRF. They are financing the entire trip themselves, and embark on July 16 for the three-week trip. To donate to this wonderful cause, go to the Maurices’ website: http://www.summitdiabetes.com/, and don’t forget to cheer them on via their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/summitdiabetes.
Even the smallest of animals need help. Whether that is some tender love and care, a new home, and lots of kisses. Angi Hopson, director of the Arizona Small Dog Rescue has created a safe environment for small dogs that need all these things and more.
AFM: How did the organization get started?
AH: Thirteen years ago I adopted a dog from a rescue here in Arizona and started volunteering to help that rescue. The more time I spent with the dogs, the more I loved it and became more involved. I started taking in fosters and homeless dogs, and finding them good homes. After a year I started a rescue that was for Great Danes. After a few years, I moved into a smaller place and couldn't house as many large dogs, so I started taking in small dogs, and created Arizona Small Dog Rescue. For years I housed the dogs, then got a few fosters, then more fosters, then a storefront, and now the shelter we have today. We are also opening a second location soon.
AFM: What do you love most about your job?
AH: The best part is to know you saved a dog who was just hours from dying in a shelter all alone and then watching them blossom and go on to a forever home. Nothing is better than that.
AFM: How can the Valley help keep the Arizona Small Dog Rescue operating?
AH: AZSDR costs about $20,000 a month to run. We spend a lot of money on dogs with medical issues and seniors. The best way to help AZSDR is to donate directly to our medical care at our vet Bethany Animal Hospital and refer the donations to AZSDR. We also always need fosters and volunteers! Cleaning supplies, towels, sheets, bedding, and blankets are very useful item as well.
AFM: What are some volunteer events that you have coming up?
AH: We have an event every Saturday at PetSmart on Scottsdale and Mayo from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and every Sunday at PetSmart on Bell and Grand. We also are open to the public at our shelter location and accept volunteers Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
AFM: What services do you offer for families who already have pets?
AH: We offer dog and cat food to families who cannot provide for their pets. We also offer $10 DHPP vaccines and $25 microchips to the public.
On Friday May 16,a mixture of tears and cheers brought donors, candidates, volunteers and survivors together at Talking Stick Resort & Casino for the Grand Finale of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's(LLS) 2014 Arizona Chapter Man & Woman of the Year Campaign.
For 10 weeks, 12 community leaders raised funds for life-saving cancer research and patient support as official candidates for the Man & Woman of the Year. Each dollar raised over the course of the 10 weeks counted as one vote and the culmination of the campaign included a gala celebration and the announcement of this year’s winners -- attorney Chuck Hauff of Snell & Wilmer and Cristina Munoz of Redflex Traffic Systems.
Combined, the 12 candidates raised more than $432,000 to support the mission of LLS. Hauff became the first candidate in chapter history to raise more than $100,000 and Hauff, Munoz, and runners up Jessica Catlin of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and the Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Rafael Fonseca each earned entry into the Honor Circle for candidates raising more than $50,000.
“It is truly humbling to see the amount of passion and effort these 12 people, as well as their friends, family and colleagues, put into this campaign over the past several weeks,” said Jim Brewer, executive director of the Arizona Chapter of LLS. “While we did crown a Man and Woman of the Year, everyone associated with this campaign is a winner. The only loser in all of this is cancer.”
Candidates received inspiration throughout the campaign from the 2014 Boy & Girl of the Year, seven-year-old leukemia survivor Jack Welch and seven-year-old lymphoma survivor Elizabeth Blair. Both are now in remission.
“Getting to know Jack and Elizabeth and their families, understanding the challenges they’ve faced together, really touched our candidates and everyone involved with this campaign,” said Judy Bernas of the University of Arizona, co-chair of the campaign with Shutterfly, Inc.’s Erica Anderson.
The 2014 Man & Woman of the Year Candidates Included Catlin, Kiki Cordero of COR Pilates Sports Rehab, Fonseca, Hauff, Scott Harkey of Owens Harkey Advertising, Michelle McQueen of Lagardere Unlimited, Munoz, Fletcher Perry of Colliers International, Ali Rizvi of North Star Resource Group, Marty Shultz of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, Dr. Schavon Waggoner of Phoenix Union High School District, and Jason Wong of Asian Corporate & Entrepreneur Leaders.
Proceeds from the campaign will directly fund life-saving blood cancer research, financial assistance to cover patient expenses for transportation, medication and testing, and free educational materials and events for patients and their families.