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Charity Navigator, America’s largest evaluator of non-profit agencies, has awarded Mesa United Way its top four-star rating for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency. Mesa United Way CEO T. Dan Wollam welcomed the announcement as the charity ramps up its 2014-15 pledge campaign.
Mesa United Way is taking applications for 13 AmeriCorps positions that begin Sept. 1 and three AmeriCorps VISTA positions that begin in November. The temporary social-service positions all pay stipends and other benefits and have a one-year term of service.
With just a few weeks left in the 2013-14 pledge campaign, Mesa United Way leaders are praising the individuals and companies that are the backbone of the effort while challenging the entire community to fill the remaining gap.
Abigail Stockwell’s Girl Scout troop was looking to launch an education-oriented project in March when the eighth grader saw a news item about Read On Mesa, a summer reading program that puts donated books into the hands of underprivileged kindergartners.
Dozens of volunteers work tirelessly at Helen’s Hope Chest, Mesa United Way’s free clothing, school supply, book and clothing “store” for foster children. It’s a rewarding, enriching experience, and they love to share stories.
It’s almost noon and senior citizens are lined up outside the Salvation Army Mesa Citadel’s dining room. Inside, Daisy Morin is helping head chef Daryl Howard lay out the food at the serving window. Daryl motions to Daisy, who’s hearing impaired, that it’s time to greet the guests.
At age 13, when most young girls are dreaming about boys and navigating their way through the perils of junior high, Ashleigh Gonzales was diagnosed with optic nerve atrophy. You can imagine how devastated she was to learn that her vision loss was not treatable.
When Ambassador Girl Scout Lauren Varanese decided to pursue scouting's highest achievement, the Gold Award, she took inspiration from a friend and cancer survivor. Her goal was to make others aware of the special concerns and needs of young adults dealing with cancer.
Mayor Scott Smith and Mesa United Way are inviting the community to buy and collect children’s books to ensure every child has plenty to read this summer. The Read On Mesa project is part of a national and statewide effort to improve early childhood literacy, particularly among disadvantaged children.
When Mary's elderly mother, Lucy, had to leave the town she had spent her life in, and the home she loved, she was devastated. Mary had asked her mother, who was growing frail, with fading memory, to come live with her.
Every Friday, more than 2,000 school children from low-income families in the Southeast Valley are discreetly given a backpack of food to ensure they have enough to eat during the weekend so they’ll return on Monday nourished, alert and ready to learn. The backpacks are provided by Arizona Brainfood, which is supported by Mesa United Way and a number of local businesses and philanthropic organizations.
When Amy retired a few years ago from a long career in the Army, she had a hard time adjusting to civilian life. With no family, limited income and failing health, she settled in a little trailer in a Mesa mobile home park.
When the Mesa Family YMCA opened its thrift store last fall, manager Georgie Campanozzi’s first customer was a homeless man who needed shoes and a shirt. He found both, which he proceeded to put on immediately and tuck his old shoes into a backpack that he’d gotten earlier from the Salvation Army in Mesa.
Being uprooted from friends and familiar surroundings can be tough for any 14-year-old. But the move from Michigan to the Southeast Valley was especially rough for Kolby Nielsen when he failed to make the cut for his new junior high's basketball team.
Darrell Hargis did volunteer work at Helen's Hope Chest, Mesa United Way's free clothing "store" for foster children, for about a year until a change in his employment schedule forced him to withdraw. But he and his wife still find ways to help, mainly by searching garage sales on weekends for the highest-demand items at Helen's.
Arizona Ambassador Girl Scout Morgan Serventi made life a little better in Wamba, Kenya, a year ago. She brought the local people heat, light, pure water, and a way to clean up their environment. Her gift is sustainable, ecologically brilliant, and affordable for families who live on less than we can imagine. She calls her project, “The Power of Poo,” for which she earned the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award.
Due to severe personal limitations, John, age 31, has never been able to live on his own. He was living in a rental home with his parents and brother when his father was diagnosed with cancer. That left his mother as the sole caregiver for John, his father and brother.
Taylor Christensen is an Arizona State student who started volunteering at Helen’s Hope Chest in September as part of her service-learning project. She wasn’t sure what to expect when she started working at the free clothing “store” for foster children. But after a few weeks working with foster families and children she decided to share her experience through Mesa United Way’s “Faces of Need — and Hope” project:
If you would like to volunteer to improve the lives of veterans or students, or strengthen Mesa’s older neighborhoods while also earning a modest stipend, you’re invited to look into five VISTA positions that have been awarded to Mesa United Way.
After a disappointing pledge campaign last year that fell short of its goal, Mesa United Way officials are pleased that this year’s effort ending June 30 has reached its $2.825 million target. But they’re not celebrating.
Taylor Hatch of Mesa is the latest early-bird prize winner in Mesa United Way’s Happiest Sweepstakes on Earth - two rounds of golf and a golf cart rental at Leisure World. Earlier winners include Monica Alcantar of Gilbert, a one-night stay for two plus continental breakfast at the Hilton Phoenix / Mesa; Jeffry Westerhaus of Glendale, four movie passes and a Carrabba’s gift card; and Dawn Dubry of Phoenix, a $100 Westcor mall gift card.
Mesa United Way is inviting residents to make a donation to its Community Chest and enter “The Happiest Sweepstakes on Earth!” to win a Disneyland vacation and other prizes.
When is “dirty money” a good thing? When the business that hosts the annual Tough Mudder event in east Mesa gives a hefty chunk of the proceeds to Mesa United Way.
If your household income is under $50,000, taking the “EZ” path to tax-return preparation could cost you dearly. Mesa United Way invites you to use its free tax service to ensure you get all the tax credits you may be entitled to.
“I had no idea!”