Mary and Mike Redgrave Donate to the SBCO Scholarship Endowment Program
In February 2019, Mary and Mike Redgrave moved to SaddleBrooke Ranch from Sacramento, Calif. Mary had worked in financial services, while Mike ran the state air quality database for the California Air Resources Board.
In retirement, both Mary and Mike were looking for a local cause about which they could be passionate. One day, Mary, who Mike acknowledges is the “family organizer,” showed him an article in the SaddleBrooke Ranch Roundup about the SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) Scholarship Endowment Fund. The article interested Mike, a first-generation college student. “I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the difference education can make in a person’s life.”
He then researched SaddleBrooke Community Outreach online and was pleased with what he saw. “I was particularly impressed with the process used to make sure the kids selected for scholarships are the most deserving. Mary and I figured it’s time to put our money where our mouths are. We especially wanted to help students who might otherwise not be able to get post-secondary training. We also wanted to make sure that the money we donated would make a real difference. After researching the SBCO Scholarship Endowment Fund, we are very confident that we made a good choice.”
Each student is evaluated for scholarship eligibility based on six criteria. Because this program is an endowment, the full value of donations last forever, as only the earnings from donations are used to provide scholarships. In this way, each donation continues to help eligible students for generations to come. Donations can be made by including this program in your trust, by forwarding a portion of your mandated IRA distribution or by donating cash. (Always consult your tax advisor about potential tax benefits). While SBCO accepts donations of any amount, the minimum donation for the Scholarship Endowment Fund is $5,000.
If you would like to learn more about the Scholarship Endowment Fund, please visit the SBCO website at community-outreach.org or call Ron Andrea at
Kid’s Closet Reopening Scheduled for Spring 2021
For the past 24 years, SaddleBrooke Community Outreach’s Kids’ Closet program has been providing children with new school clothing to raise their self-esteem and encourage school attendance. Twice each school year, in the fall and spring, thousands of students from nearby rural communities arrive at the Kid’s Closet in Mammoth to choose new clothing. Children eligible to receive free meals at their pre-school or school are referred to the program.
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended planning for Kid’s Closet, as it has for many other group activities. The 2020 spring session was curtailed when the virus prompted the closing of schools throughout Arizona. Now the fall session is being impacted. Although the governor has called for Arizona public schools to reopen in August, it is still unclear what changes will be needed for a safe reopening. The State Department of Education has discussed smaller classroom sizes, staggered starts, no assemblies, and taking the temperature of all students and faculty, as well as increased sanitation procedures.
An initial survey of Kid’s Closet volunteers (residents of SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch) found that many were unwilling to return during the pandemic, making it difficult to staff the facility. In addition, Kid’s Closet co-directors Melanie Stout and Jan Olsson reviewed the changes in the facility’s layout and the procedures needed to comply with CDC guidelines for wearing masks, sanitizing hands and surfaces, and maintaining physical distance. The list was extensive, involving such challenges as keeping masks on children while they tried on clothing, cutting in half the number of students who could shop for clothing at one time, supplying masks and gloves for volunteers, sanitizing dressing rooms after each use, taking every student and volunteer’s temperature, and quarantining for 72 hours clothing that has been tried on. Such changes would be both difficult and costly to implement.
In the end, the decision was made to reopen Kid’s Closet in spring 2021. In the meantime, members of the Kid’s Closet team will:
1) Contact those schools unable to come to Kid’s Closet last spring due to the early closure. If the schools can provide the names of children with the greatest need, along with their gender, grade, and clothing sizes, volunteers will pack a bag of summer clothing for each student and deliver it to a pre-arranged destination.
2) While contacting the schools about their fall reopening, Kid’s Closet was asked to fill a few bags of clothing for students with the greatest need. If the schools can provide the necessary information for such students, volunteers will pack and deliver bags of winter clothing to the schools. While Kid’s Closet will not be able to assist the 1800 students typically served during the fall session, those with the most need for new clothing can be helped.
A normal opening and session duration are planned for the spring season.
Willie Reich Honored by SBCO with Lifetime Achievement Award
Willie Reich is a prime example of how volunteerism can bring joy to your own life while serving others. She is a familiar face at the Golden Goose, where she worked for many years as a volunteer in the clothing area, and she also serves on the Friends of SaddleBrooke Libraries membership committee. But most notably, Willie has been a SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) volunteer since 1997, a 23-year history of sharing her time and talent to help others. In honor of her service, she is the recipient of the SBCO Lifetime Achievement Award.
During her tenure as an SBCO volunteer, Willie has served on the board of directors and the membership committee. She notes, “In the early days of SBCO, we held teas to recruit volunteers and hosted small fundraisers.” She is a long-time volunteer for Kid’s Closet, including collecting and packing up donated toiletries for distribution through Kid’s Closet and Youth On Their Own. Since the inception of the Teen Closet program in 2001, Willie has volunteered to help high school students select new school clothing—in some cases working with the same students over the course of their four years of program eligibility. She really likes SBCO’s comprehensive approach to helping kids with food, clothing, and educational programs.
According to Willie, “I get the most reward from working with the kids. I once helped a little girl at Kid’s Closet who declared she loved the color purple. We searched and found her a purple dress. She floated around the room in that dress! She was so happy. It really touched my heart.” When her granddaughter was growing up, Willie also would donate her outgrown clothing and books to Kid’s Closet.
Prior to his passing six years ago, Willie’s husband, Joe, also volunteered at Kid’s Closet. He worked as a shoe fitter and was surprised to discover how many children had never before seen a shoe horn. Willie wasn’t. She knew “so many of those kids had never been fitted for new shoes. And they were delighted to have a shoe box to take home and fill with their personal treasures.”
Recently, while standing in line at Walgreens, Willie was recognized by a young girl as a Kid’s Closet volunteer. She says, “Volunteering gives me a warm happy feeling. That I’m put on this earth to do something good.” She tells prospective SBCO volunteers, “It’s the happiest ‘hired’ you’ll have ever been. It can be exhausting, but you’ll feel good all over. Nothing but a hug from a kid can compare. And you’ll make some good friends.”
SBCO is always looking for volunteers for both long and short-term commitments. You can help with a wide range of tasks—from staffing the office, to helping with fundraising events, tutoring, helping children choose new clothing, or serving on our Board of Directors. The opportunities are endless. To become involved, visit community-outreach.org/volunteers to see a list of volunteer opportunities and to complete an interest form. We’d love to have you join our team!