The Good News

The title of this section is called "The Good News" because this blog is about the amazing things people do to help others, and isn't that good news? I now have a few helpers of my own to keep this blog going. Hopefully you can use this as a resource when you are looking for ways to help or share your talents.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fresh Start Women's Resource Center

Fresh Start Women’s Resource Center serves as a beacon of light for women in the Valley of the Sun.  If there’s a service that the center does not furnish for women, then it provides the necessary information so that those services can be obtained.  Fresh Start’s main goal is to steer women in the right direction for them as well as their families.  Their motto is: educate a woman and you educate an entire family.

The Center is always there to support women who have no resources.  They advocate for women’s safety, health, success and welfare. 

Fresh Start Women’s Resource Center is there to support women who are currently homeless or live in an unsafe environment.  FSWRC can always assist women to find safe, temporary housing.  Also, the Center provides justice counseling for women with legal issues.

Fresh Start helps women to navigate their way through the AZ Department of Economic Services (DES) in order to obtain Food Stamps and/or AHCCCS.  As many already know, that is NOT an easy task.  FSWRC makes certain that all women get necessary healthcare services and enough food for their families.

Additionally, Fresh Start Women’s Resource Center helps women in updating resumes, learning social media, acquiring business skills, applying for jobs online and developing interview skills.  The Center also assists women in setting up email accounts, researching information online and honing computer and internet skills.      

Most importantly, FSWRC helps women to rebuild their self-esteem.  Fresh Start often provides professional clothing, hair care, and basic toiletries to women in need.  Fresh Start Women’s Resource Center knows that when a woman looks good, she feels good. 

Fresh Start is always available to support issues of safety, health, success and welfare for women.  Fresh Start Women’s Resource Center is an oasis in the Phoenix desert for women and their families……….

Renee Basnett

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Food Tidings

I just discovered this site a couple of weeks ago.  I think I have it rough with 3 kids, 3 and under but I met a woman who has 5 kids, 4 and under.  She has twins that are about a month old now.  Anyway, her school put together a meal schedule to help the family out and they used Food Tidings to do so.  It is really awesome!  I have to admit, I loved it when friends brought meals over after I delivered and this is a great way to do it in an organized manner.
Check out the link:

I just tried to set up a schedule for a friend of mine who delivered a couple of days ago, so we'll see if it works.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Charity Matters

If you're interested in blogs about charities and service, you must check out the blog "Charity Matters."  I'm not going to write anything more about the site because it's so reader friendly, you have to just check it out for yourself.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Because of my current condition (my due date is on Wednesday), I’ve been lucky to have some good friends help me out with the posts.  This week, my friends Dave and Mary Jo shared their personal experience working with a local mentoring program.

Dave and I have been volunteering at Phoenix Youth at Risk for a little over a year now.  There are several programs at Phoenix Youth at Risk…we are in the PALS program.  This is very similar to a Big Brother/Big Sister program.  We mentor a youth that has either been in a domestic violence situation or in a homeless shelter.  The youth ages range from 5 to 15years.   We went through an interview and training and then were matched with a youth that seemed like a good fit.  I am currently mentoring a 7 year old girl named Jetta.  Dave is mentoring an 11 year old boy named Eric.   We sign a one year agreement to see our mentee once a week for a minimum of an hour.  This is of course not always possible, but we do try to make an effort to see them as much as possible.  And really once you get started it isn’t much of an effort!  They are both great kids and many times I probably have more fun then they do!  We try to do a variety of different activities with Jetta and Eric… we’ve gone to d-backs games, ice-skating, bowling, swimming, water parks and the library.  Many times Phoenix Youth at Risk will have free tickets to different events.  Jetta and I went to the play Annie and we all attended a D-back game and got some players’ autographs!  The most important thing is building a relationship with your mentee and giving them the opportunity to perhaps see a different lifestyle.  After a month, mentees are allowed to come to your house.  Sometimes we will just bring the kids here to have dinner with us and walk the dogs.  It is that simple and they love just spending time with you!  If anyone wants more information, they can visit  You will find other ways to volunteer there.  I don’t know if what we are doing has changed Jetta and Eric’s life, but it has certainly enriched ours.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a national mentoring organization Mary Jo mentioned and depending on the location, multiple programs are offered.  Here is a list of the types of programs your local BBBS may offer:
  • Community Based Mentoring: (similar to what Mary Jo described)
  • School Based Mentoring: meet at school
  • Lunch Buddies Mentoring: paired during school lunch break once a week
  • STARS: Bigs are matched with Littles who have an incarcerated parent or close family member (meet a couple of hours a few times a month)
  • Step Up:  teens involved in the court system are paired with positive adult role models
  • Gear Up:  Adult mentors are paired with high school students who are working toward graduating and becoming fist generation college students
(This information was found in the BBBS of Flagstaff newsletter)

My friend Brad, who writes the forum, “I’ve been talking to your kids” started an on-line mentoring program a few years back called, MentorE.  It paired businesswomen/men up with at-risk youth and instead of meeting in person, the pairs would meet on-line.  The program was successful while it lasted but unfortunately its funding was cut.  I still think it was a fantastic idea and hope it will be reinstated one day.

How can we get involved?:
·         If you’re local, check out
·         See if you have a local organization or a Big Brothers Big Sisters in your area.  The website for BBBS is
·         If you are unable to commit the time, both organizations gladly take donations.  Donations could be anything from movie tickets, to sporting events, clothes, restaurant gift cards, cash, etc. 

“Do you need anybody?  I just need someone to love.  Could it be anybody? I want somebody to love...I get by with a little help from my friends.” ~The Beatles

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Foster Care

Have you ever been interested in becoming a foster parent?   I love this post because I have met the family behind the following information.  They already have 4 beautiful kids and continue to open up their home to other children.  The woman who wrote this post is simply amazing (and I love her mom too!).

“When I grow up, I’m going to live next door to you.”  This sweet and simple desire was expressed to me by a young teen living in a group home where my fiancĂ© (now husband) worked. Rich lived in a “home” with 6 other boys and a revolving- door of staff members.  Group home indeed.  It was a group all right, but not a home.  There was no one at that home that really cared for or loved those boys.  It was a dumping ground…just smaller and with a nicer name…group home.  Rich’s wish wasn’t just about the future and living next to me, it was about the present and how devoid of love it was for him.  All he wanted was a family to love him. That was the day when we realized that one day we had to become foster parents.

Today my husband and I are fortunate to have the opportunity to share our real home with children who don’t have a safe home of their own.   We currently have a sweet 3 month-old boy in our home.  Our children love their temporary siblings, and our whole family has experienced God in unexpected and wonderful ways thanks to the presence of these little guests.

Tragically, over 11,000 children are wards of Arizona’s Child Protective Service (CPS), yet fewer than 2,000 families are licensed foster families.  The situation grows worse daily.  In a bad economy, just as child abuse and neglect rise, many foster families have to drop out of the program because. they can no longer bear the additional expense of another child (even though most of the expenses are reimbursed by CPS).

The shortage of foster families is so severe that even infants are being put into group “homes.”

I received a call today asking if we can take another infant.  A four week-old baby needs to be removed from his home, but CPS simply has nowhere to put him.  Even our 8-passenger car has no space for one more child’s seat. How heartbreaking it is for me to tell the case worker that I cannot help a baby in danger. 

Maybe you have been missing the voice of a child in your home.  Maybe you love holding and cuddling babies.  Maybe you are great with teens.  Maybe you already have kids in the home, like us, and adding one or two more is just not that big of a deal.  Please consider being a foster parent.  YOU  ARE  DESPERATELY  NEEDED.  Please pray to discern whether this may be something you are called to do.  It is tremendously rewarding for the parents, and literally life-changing for a child in need.

Let’s not leave these kids with hopes of a better life someday, but give them the love and safety they deserve today.



How can we get involved?:
·         Look into foster care in your area and ask questions!  Just like adoptions, foster care is a huge undertaking and often so intimidating, people stop the process before they really begin.  Take a chance and see if it’s something you really may be able to do! 
·         Elizabeth was so generous with allowing me to post her experience, I’m sure if you had any further questions, she would be open to responding.

Many times it only takes one caring individual to foster resilience in a child!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Food Boxes and St. Vincent de Paul

Part (the better part) of this week’s post was written by my good friend Renee.  Renee is one of the members of a 30-week compassion class I took at my church.  Recently, we (our group) started volunteering for a local parish who is involved with St. Vincent de Paul’s “food box” program. 
 I’ll give a quick rundown of what we do for the food box delivery program.  We contacted SVdP to get recommendations of parishes that needed volunteer help with the program.  Once we chose the parish, we contacted the person in charge of the program, in our case, Max.  On the day we deliver, it takes about 1 ½ hours from start to finish.  We pack a car of 8 to 10 boxes filled with food, drive around to the given addresses, ring/knock on doors, have people sign a sheet stating they have received their box, and bring the box to their door.  I have actually been mouthy enough to ask them to get their box and they comply with a smile when they see that I’m ready to give birth at any minute.
St. Vincent de Paul is an international organization that provides so many wonderful services including the following:
·         Hearts and Hands Day (a volunteer program for families!)
·         All other opportunities to serve are listed in this brochure:
Here is the website for St. Vincent de Paul:
How can we get involved?: 
  • Check to see if there are any programs such as these in your area as many organizations, religious and nonreligious have similar services
  • Especially if you’re local, take the time to read what Renee has to say about the experience and sign up!

Renee’s post is a wonderful tribute to the man who really runs the food box program for his church.  He’s seventy years old but has the spirit of a teenager.
Do you know how many hungry families there are in Phoenix?  No one really knows for sure; but, according to Max, the number has certainly risen in the past 5 years.  However, there is an organization that is doing something about it:  St. Mark’s Catholic Church.
Max, the coordinator, of St. Mark's Food Bank (not to be confused with St. Mary’s) in Phoenix makes sure that many people with few means don't go hungry.  Long before anyone arrives to assist him, Max sorts out the paperwork according to neighborhoods so that no time, effort nor energy is wasted.  Max organizes the food boxes so that everyone gets some of everything available, but that families get a little extra (food) to feed the little ones.  Max then patiently loads all the boxes into his spacious, but outdated truck.  Lastly, Max grabs a few refrigerated items to add to each box before he begins his deliveries. 
Max knows the neighborhoods well; so, with a little help, he's done distributing the boxes in about an hour and a half.  Of course, if he has no help, he takes quite a bit longer. 
Afterwards, just like many of the recipients served, he thanks everyone involved and then gets right back to work, as he knows that the number of hungry people in Phoenix will continue to grow…..

If you would like to help, St. Mark’s accepts donations of food and/or money M-F during regular business hours.  St. Mark’s is located at:  400 N 30th St., Phoenix, AZ 85008.  The phone number is (602) 267-0503.  Also, you may sign up for a timeslot to deliver at:

RESULTS:  You feel great, people in need are fed, hope is restored, families are empowered……
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”                                                                                                                                                                                         Matthew 25
Save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance, And feed them, and carry them to the age! Psalm 28:9

Saturday, September 3, 2011

National Public Lands Day

National Public Lands Day

“September 24 is National Public Lands Day, a volunteer-run event dedicated to cleaning up and preserving everything from neighborhood green spaces to national parks.”(Parents, September 2011, p. 34)  Parents magazine really has a lot of great ideas for family philanthropy. 
Last year, I didn’t realize I was participating in National Public Lands Day but I think I was.  My husband, kids and I all went to Lake Pleasant to help pick up trash for a few hours.  Actually, Mike did a lot of the picking up while the kids and I played in the water.  Nevertheless, we had a great time!
Check out the website to find out where you can volunteer in your area.  The website is so easy to navigate and it lists things to do throughout the year, not just on September 24, if you happen to be busy that day.

Examples of what you may be asked to do?
·         Pick up litter
·         Paint over graffiti
·         Fix trails
·         Plant plants and trees

How can we get involved?:
·         Check out the site and volunteer your time if you can:

“This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the New York Island, from the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters, this land was made for you and me.” ~Woody Guthrie