SaddleBrooke Community Outreach Happenings

Food drive March 14

This year’s SBCO’s annual Food Drive will be held the morning of Saturday, March 14 at the MountainView Clubhouse parking lot. This is a community-wide event for SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch. All residents are encouraged to help in this worthy, annual event. Proceeds will, once again, go to the Tri Community Food Bank, a mighty but small food bank located in Mammoth. On a monthly basis the Tri Community Food Bank serves 400 needy families from the Oracle, San Manuel and Mammoth areas. Last year our food drive provided over 19,000 pounds of food along with many generous cash donations.

How can you participate? There are a number of ways. Be a volunteer that morning by helping to sort and pack the food donations. Plan to make a generous donation of non-perishable food or a monetary donation. Encourage your friends and neighbors to join in the effort. Detailed instructions for donations will be distributed to SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch prior to the drive.

Food items most needed include all forms of non-perishable proteins such as peanut butter, canned meats and tuna. Also greatly appreciated are items such as cereal, boxed mac ‘n cheese and other helper meals. Please do not donate glass containers or outdated items. Wish to make a cash donation? Checks may be made out to SBCO and will be converted to a single check for the food bank. Monetary donations of all sizes are greatly appreciated and allow the food bank to purchase needed items at a greatly reduced cost. Donations of $25 or more will receive written acknowledgement from SBCO.

Getting involved is easy. Coordinators for this year’s event are Bob Evans [email protected] (825-2906) and Joan and Rich Roberts [email protected] (825-7577).

Out of the area but still want to participate? You may send your donations to SBCO, 63675 E. SaddleBrooke Boulevard, Suite L, SaddleBrooke, Arizona 85739. Donations may also be dropped off at the SBCO office Monday through Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Let’s make this year the best year yet for this great event!

Want to learn more about the SBCO food programs? Plan to attend the next SBCO meeting on March 14 at 3:00 p.m. in the MountainView West Ballroom.

From left: Elise Grimes, VP Education, Dave Jungbluth, Counselor San Manuel High School; Elissa Craig and Jamie Wolgast, Director, College for Kids, Central Arizona College, Arivaipa and Steve Groth, VP Education

From left: Elise Grimes, VP Education, Dave Jungbluth, Counselor San Manuel High School; Elissa Craig and Jamie Wolgast, Director, College for Kids, Central Arizona College, Arivaipa and Steve Groth, VP Education

SBCO’s Education Committee

Steve Groth and Elise Grimes, VPs Education, coordinated the program for the February General Meeting. Two components are Scholarships and Enrichment. San Manual High School Counselor and girls’ basketball coach was Mr. Dave Jungbluth who provided information on the SBCO’s Scholarship Program and the impact it has on children’s lives.

Dave explained that the cost to attend University of Arizona is approximately $25,000 per year. Approximately 85% of the children in the district qualify for free or reduced lunch program. They would be unable to attend college without the support of SBCO and other community organizations. SBCO provides $1,500 per year, per student; the past year, scholarships were provided to 15 freshmen. If the students maintain a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0, they can continue to receive this amount for four years.

In the eighth grade the schools encourage the students to sign a Promise for the Future Agreement. This agreement encourages the students to focus on their studies and maintain a 2.75 GPA to prepare themselves for college. Annually, many of the scholarship recipients send thank you letters to SBCO. Recently a letter was received from a young lady who is in the nursing program at ASU, Phoenix Campus. She ended the letter with the following:

“My education is very important to me—I am so grateful to your organization. This year I made the Dean’s List of the College of Nursing—I have been accepted into the From Lima to Machu Picchu: Exploring Healthcare, Culture and Ethics in Peru summer study abroad program. This coming semester, I will be taking 17 credits and I hope to maintain a 4.0 GPA—thank you again!”

This young lady is an example of the caliber of young people who are working towards a goal and who represent the future of our nation.

The second part of our program focused on the enrichment component of the Education Committee and the College for Kids (C4K). This program is presented through Central Arizona College at the Arivaipa campus and has been provided to young children for 30 years. It is a two-week summer program, four days per week. The coordinators are Jamie Wolgast, director C4K and Elissa Craig.

This program is a science-based theme and recent topics have been: Electricity and Magnetism, World of Plants, Wild, Wild Weather and Food and this summer it will be on Astronomy. The topics will be stargazing—how do we explore and study space and how does what happens in space affect our lives on earth and vice versa. The programs help the students learn that science is fun and peaks their curiosity and interest. They have experiments to take home and learn how to utilize what they’ve learned in their daily lives.

Jamie and Elissa measure the success of their program by the number of repeat students applying for the program. Many of the graduates of this program return and become student leaders. The evaluations from students, parents and guardians are sought and they overwhelmingly support this C4K.

Tuition this year is $210 per student and includes food, bussing, supplies, field trips, presenters, tee shirt and group photo. As this program is presented during the summer, the breakfast and lunch provided the students may be the best meals they have. This program is supported by donations from local businesses and groups and corporation grants, with SBCO being the biggest contributor to C4K.

Kaligh and Kids’ Closet volunteer in the Kids’ Closet waiting area

Kaligh and Kids’ Closet volunteer in the Kids’ Closet waiting area

My Day at Kids’ Closet

Merna Oakley

I visited Kids’ Closet to learn about the all-volunteer operation that provides an estimated 2,700 to 3,000 wardrobes each year to children in Pinal County. On this day, the children aged three and four years old were from Head Start traveling from the San Carlos Indian Reservation to Mammoth, a roundtrip of almost 200 miles. On the day of the trip to Kids’ Closet, the children start with breakfast at the reservation and with the help of teachers, parents and volunteers climb aboard the buses for the long trip to Mammoth.

The day started with a meeting led by Karen Stott, Day Manager, welcoming the 28 volunteer staff members. Karen explained the process of helping the children select their clothing—-one factor that is very different from other clothing banks is that the children get to choose their own new clothing with the help of an adult volunteer. Karen stressed that for the safety of the children, Kids’ Closet volunteers are never left alone with a child. If a child needs to use the restroom, one of the aides traveling with the kids has to handle this. Karen then provided a building safety session, explaining what to do in the event the fire alarm is activated, either by accident or in the case of a real fire. She pointed out the location of all doors and the evacuation route.

The children arrived and the fun started. Joan Roberts and I worked with Kaligh who selected two new books. We then entered the store where she washed her hands before starting the shopping trip. First stop was the shoe department where she selected a new pair of pink athletic shoes, which she wore the rest of the day. Kaligh then picked up new socks, underwear, tooth brush and toiletries to take home.

The next part was the best with Kaligh selecting three new pairs of shorts and three tops to match. Kayligh had a hard time selecting her wardrobe and the new outfit to wear the rest of the day. The day ended with her going into the waiting area where she had lunch and waited for her friends to finish their shopping trip. The kids then boarded the buses for their long trip home to San Carlos.

The operation of Kids’ Closet is amazing with the work done by wonderful volunteers. It does take a village to make this work but when the volunteers see the smiles of the kids, all the work is well worth it. The last day for the closet is April 7; it will reopen in the fall.

If you are interested in seeing this operation firsthand please contact SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) by calling 825-3302 or stopping by Suite L at 63675 E. SaddleBrooke Boulevard. The office is open Monday through Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Please be sure to leave your name and telephone number. You will be contacted to make arrangements for a visit to the Closet.

Volunteer Appreciation Event

Please join SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) on Monday, April 11 at 3:00 p.m. in the MountainView Ballroom for the annual recognition of our great volunteers and supporters. We will provide refreshments, a cash bar will be available and we will have a program of interest for all who attend. This is free, open to all who are interested. At this meeting we will also be installing our new officers for 2016-2017.

In September, SBCO is entering our twentieth year of operation and wants to share a bit of history and growth as well as applaud all who have made it possible to reach this milestone. Join us and learn about our plans for the future, how we are funded and what opportunities we provide to children in our service area.

With our variety of services we feel we reach estimated 4,000 youngsters in our service area that extends from Catalina to the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Gila County. We are 100% volunteer and always welcome new people who wish to join us in working with children.

More information is available on our website: or visit us at Suite L in the commercial center on SaddleBrooke Boulevard.