Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gifts of Hope Kick-Off

For many Arizonans, despite difficult financial times, the best way to celebrate the holidays includes supporting children and families in their community who are in need. Over the years, donors from across the state have participated in the annual Arizona's Children Association "Gifts of Hope" program.

Arizona's Children Association invites you to bring your organization, office or family together to celebrate the holidays with a “Gift of Hope” for children and families who need your help. Our ‘needs’ list is long and includes the wishes of children from birth to 18 years, and requests from their parents for groceries and grocery gift certificates.

The families we work with do not receive any other help during the holiday season. Individuals, groups and families are needed to participate and bring hope to the vulnerable children and families we serve.

There are two ways to give:

~ Sponsor a child, multiple children or an entire family. Purchase groceries or grocery store gift certificates and grant the gift wishes of the child(ren).

~ Conduct a toy drive. Collect toys and items for children and we’ll pick them up and distribute them to the children and families we serve. Toys are needed for children of all ages.

To give a “Gift of Hope” this holiday season, visit
or call 800.944.7611 ext. 2111.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Arizona’s Children Association Receives Federal Grant to Address the Unique Needs of Kinship Caregivers

Kinship care has been a nationally-growing phenomenon for the last decade. Kinship caregivers are those who are raising the children of a relative, often in an effort to keep a child out of traditional foster care when the biological parent is unable to care for the child. According to the US Census Bureau, more than six million children -- approximately 1 in 12 children -- are living in households headed by grandparents or other relatives. In Arizona, there are more than 114,000 households headed by grandparents or other relatives currently caring for one or more relative children.

Research indicates that children in kinship care experience greater stability than those in foster care. Currently, many kinship families are not documented or are poorly tracked in the child welfare system and therefore do not receive the support and resources that would help them create more stability for their household. Through kinship care support, Arizona’s Children Association’s Kinship, Adoption, Resource and Education (KARE) program has worked for years to empower the community to embrace and sup¬port these very special families and their potential to provide a positive alternative to traditional foster care.

Arizona’s Children Association was recently awarded a federal grant, “Family Connection Child Welfare/TANF Collaboration in Kinship Navigation Programs” funded through the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau, to continue working with kinship families and to further grow the program in Pinal and Cochise Counties over the next three years.

The overall goal of the grant will be to improve services for children being raised by kinship care providers by assisting caregivers in meeting their family’s need, promoting public/private partnerships to meet those needs and increase safety, permanency and well being of youth in kinship care. The grant award for the Kinship Navigator will specifically allow Arizona’s Children Association (AzCA) to expand our KARE services in Maricopa and Pima counties and open up KARE facilities in Pinal and Cochise counties. AzCA Kinship KARE teams will focus on the same services and programs currently being utilized at our two KARE centers and also improve the kinship family’s experience with the child welfare system. This program will work with families in need by helping them navigate various systems through support, advocacy, education, and legal services.

Through this program, Arizona’s Children Association aims to impact system change for kinship caregivers and prove that Arizona has the need for long term federal funding, through the Administration for Children Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau, to continue to provide sustainable kinship services that promote safe and healthy homes for children being is raised in out of home care. To learn more about KARE, visit

Funded through the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for
Children and Families, Children's Bureau, Grant #HHS-2012-ACF-ACYF-CF-0510.
The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the funders. This information is in the public domain. Readers are encouraged to copy and share it, but please credit Arizona’s Children Association.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bright Choices Parenting

New Directions Institute, with funding through First Things First, has recently been granted the opportunity to expand their community-based parenting education program. The comprehensive program called “Bright Choices Parenting” combines support from two First Things First geographic areas of Central Maricopa and Southeast Maricopa to reach out to more families than ever before. The program has proven itself on a smaller scale over the last three years and has been very successful. With this new funding, the program will now reach all of the communities of Tempe, Chandler, Ahwatukee, Guadalupe, Mesa, Gilbert and Queen Creek.

“Bright Choices Parenting” is a comprehensive program that combines a variety of NDI curriculum and workshops with community resources. The cornerstone institution approach includes reaching out to parents through a variety of venues including hospitals, libraries, schools, community centers and faith-based venues. Through these venues the program includes an array of parenting classes, Brain Time classes, Wired for Success workshops, KinderPrep classes and community resources.

In addition, two new courses have been added to this project. The first is an evidence-based “Nurturing Parenting” program that emphasizes learning through discussion and sharing. The program also has strong links to community resources as every session incorporates experts from the community to share information on resources. The “Nurturing Parenting” project is in collaboration with Child & Family Resources, in an effort to reach out to new audiences in new community areas. The series are ten weeks each and will be offered fifteen times at multiple locations throughout the geographic area.

The second new course “S.T.E.P.S. Plus” is based on NDI curriculum and utilizes their traditional S.T.E.P.S. curriculum (Security, Touch, Eyes, Play, Sound) with additional emphasis on gender, discipline, music and executive functions (impulse control).

To learn more about program offerings in your area, visit or call 602.371.1366. Child care is available during some class times.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Arizona’s Children Association announces Interim President/CEO and new Chief Development Officer

The board of directors of Arizona’s Children Association has named Denise Ensdorff as Interim President and CEO. Denise accepted the role, previously held by Michael Coughlin, on October 1, 2012.

Denise most recently served as Arizona’s Children Association’s Senior Vice President and Director of Behavioral Health programs. She has worked for Arizona’s Children Association since 2007.

Denise Ensdorff has been in the field of behavioral health since 1985. Prior to her tenure with Arizona’s Children Association, she lived in Colorado where she worked in a residential and day treatment center for children, as well as with an Employee Assistance Program.

The board has also announced the promotion of Becky Holton to the position of Chief Development Officer. Becky has been with Arizona’s Children Association Development and Marketing Department since 2007. She has been in the nonprofit field for more than 12 years, working in program administration and in fundraising/communications. Before joining Arizona’s Children Association, Becky worked in the Chicago area, leading development departments for both national affiliates and local organizations.

“We’re excited about the future of the agency with the leadership of the executive management team that we have in place,” stated Ruth Osuna, Arizona’s Children Association board chair. “Both Denise and Becky are long-time AzCA staff members who bring enthusiasm, skill, and dedication to their new posts.”

The board is currently undertaking a national search to fill the permanent President/CEO position.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In Memory: John Boemer

A little more than 18 years ago, Arizona’s Children Association (AzCA) was fortunate enough to recruit John Boemer to its statewide Board of Directors.

The mission of the agency is statewide and all board members embrace that mission, but each of those members comes from a particular part of the state and for them their “home” has special meaning. For John, home was the city of Yuma and Yuma County.

In 2005, John received the “Heart of Yuma” award from the Yuma Community Foundation in the category of “Outstanding Benefactor.” John has served on many civic, business and charitable organization boards over the years. Many of these organizations provide support to economically and medically challenged families and individuals within the community. John was well-known in the community for his continued willingness to volunteer his time and financial resources to improve the lives of children and families in the community.

John Boemer was one of major driving forces behind the many successes of Arizona’s Children Association. John Boemer has always embraced every opportunity to give back to the community he values and respects. With John and the other board members, the agency grew to one which now serves more than 46,000 children and families annually in every county of our state. Early on in his Board tenure, John decided to hold an annual golf tournament to raise money for the work that AzCA carries out for the children and families of Yuma. To date, 16 annual tournaments have raised a total of more than $500,000!

While all of this transpired, John was also engaged in a battle with a very debilitating physical illness that eventually confined him to a wheel chair and ultimately shortened his life. As difficult as that was, John never missed a golf tournament, including the one that was held this past May. He fought this fight with great courage and stamina and grace.

John recently passed away, but his energy, commitment and courage will always be part of the AzCA legacy and will live on in the work of the Agency and in the children and families that are served.

Thank you, John, for giving all of us the opportunity to work with you, and for your great and inspiring leadership. You will remain in our hearts forever.

-The Board and Staff of Arizona's Children Association

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

eegee’s 20th Annual Fundraising campaign raises a record-breaking $240,000 for Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault

In early May, eegee's announced that the beneficiary of their 20th anniversary coupon card program would be the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault (SACASA), a member of Arizona’s Children Association family of agencies. The goal, set by eegee’s, was to beat last year’s fundraising return of just over $200,000 and they surpassed their goal by thousands. This last Monday, the President and Director of Operations for eegee’s presented SACASA staff with a check in the amount of $240,181.

The coupon booklet program is held each year during the month of June when eegee's customers are invited to support a local not-for-profit organization. In appreciation of each $7 donation a customer makes, eegee's provides the customer with a booklet of eegee’s coupons valued at up to $72.

The Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault (SACASA) offers a wide-range of services that extend to both primary and secondary victims and survivors of recent and past sexual assault. In addition, SACASA implements awareness and prevention programs in schools throughout Southern Arizona.

For more than 40 years, eegee's has set an example to the community, their employees and customers in the area of social and environmental responsibility. This year celebrates the 20th year of the coupon card program.

"eegee's has never been more proud of our customers for giving a record amount of donations this year to SACASA,” said Robert Jensen, eegee’s President. “For 20 years, our customers have been giving generously through the coupon card program to local organizations serving those in need. During these difficult economic times, their donations and support to SACASA are just one example of the wonderful partnership between eegee's, our loyal customers and the community."

“We’re thrilled that SACASA was chosen for this campaign and this financial support of our crisis and mental health services will make a significant in our local community,” said Michael Coughlin, Arizona’s Children Association and family of agencies president and CEO, “eegee’s has gone above and beyond to support their local community and we greatly appreciate their commitment to making a difference.”

For more information about SACASA, visit For more information about eegee's or to find the store nearest you, visit

Photo, left to right: Robert Jensen, eegee’s President; Michael Coughlin, Arizona’s Children Association President; Montserrat Caballero, SACASA Director and Dom Scala, eegee’s Director of Operations

Monday, July 23, 2012

Arizona’s Children Association receives grant from Child Abuse Prevention License Plate Program

Arizona’s Children Association recently received $30,000 through the Child Abuse Prevention License Plate Program - a partnership between The Arizona Republic, 12 News and the Governor's Office for Children, Youth & Families.

Arizona’s Children Association is one of 22 agencies funded through the Child Abuse Prevention License Plate Program during this year's grant cycle. Arizona’s Children Association provides a broad spectrum of services to children, individuals and families that foster healing and promote emotional well-being. The $30,000 award will assist in funding two of Arizona’s Children Association programs, The Parent Connection and New Directions Institute for Infant Brain Development. The Parent Connection program works to decrease primary risk factors associated with abuse and neglect by teaching new parents how to develop positive attachments with their baby and gain positive parenting skills. New Directions Institute provides free workshops throughout the state for caregivers and parents to learn the state-of-the-art science of early brain development and its practical application in the care of children.

“This grant from the Child Abuse Prevention License Plate Program is a tremendous support to our programs that aim to address the issue of child abuse and neglect at its root,” said Michael W. Coughlin, Arizona’s Children Association president and CEO. “We don’t have to wait for crisis to happen in order to respond, when it is emotionally and financially more productive to prevent crisis situations before they arise.”

More than 25,000 of the blue "It shouldn't hurt to be a child" license plates are on the road today, making it the most popular specialty plate in Arizona. This year, $562,005 was distributed, including $185,000 in matching funds from The Arizona Republic Charities and its funding partners: Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, BHHS Legacy Foundation, Arizona Community Foundation and Valley of the Sun United Way.

Of the $25 license plate purchase price, $17 plus the match from The Arizona Republic Charities, goes directly to primary prevention efforts. More than $8 million has been distributed to date.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Centennial Finale Reception honors Funders and Supporters

It’s official! As of May 2012, we are officially 100 years old! A 100th birthday celebration was held last month to close out the year’s centennial festivities. The celebration was held in Tucson, the home of Arizona’s Children Association founding 100 years ago. The event highlighted the work of the agency over the past 100 years with children and families in need across Arizona. The event was also an opportunity to celebrate our commitment to providing a second century of hope to our communities.

Among the highlights of the event, Fletcher J. McCusker, Chairman and CEO of Providence Service Corporation and Snell & Wilmer, LLP, were awarded with “Centennial Legacy” awards for their support for kids and families in Arizona. McCusker was honored for his dedication to providing in-home services in Tucson and across the country. McCusker served as an employee of Arizona’s Children Association beginning in 1967 through the mid-70s and has upheld his commitment to those in need, establishing the national headquarters for Providence in Tucson and continuing to be a leader in community revitalization. Snell & Wilmer, LLP, were honored for their service and commitment to Arizona’s Children Association over the years. Snell & Wilmer’s firm has a history of connection to Arizona’s Children which dates back to 1923. The large majority of work for AzCA has been on a Pro Bono basis, something which Snell & Wilmer believes is an important professional responsibility. While both businesses have evolved in name and services over the years, the continued connection between Snell & Wilmer and Arizona’s Children Association has proved to be an historic Tucson partnership.

In addition, Arizona’s Children staff members who have worked for the agency for 20 years or more were also honored for their commitment to the agency’s work. Among the staff who were able to attend were Dara Dupree, Liz Wong, Marcie Velen, Margie Munoz, and Don Dugdale (who just reached his 40th anniversary!). A special recognition to additional 20 year plus employees who were unable to attend: Mary Lyman, Elizabeth Hardin, Helen Gutierrez, Allan Luther, Donald Miretsky, Mary Hernandez and Robert Lopez.

Throughout the last year, guests at our centennial celebrations around the state have been asked to sign a “Book of Hope” to offer advice that will inspire future generations of children, families, volunteers, staff members, business partners, elected officials, and Board members all working together to continue a legacy of hope for Arizona. The “Book of Hope” has travelled to centennial receptions across Arizona during the last year and will be preserved by The Arizona Historical Society along with other Arizona’s Children Association archives.

A very special thank you to Community Partnership of Southern Arizona, NextGen, Snell & Wilmer LLP, Providence Service Corporation, and CBIZ Benefits & Insurance Services, Inc for their support of Arizona’s Children Association centennial events.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Golden Gate Dia Del Niño

On April 28th, Golden Gate Community Center, the GGCC Guild and other partners successfully organized an outstanding, first ever, Dia Del Niño (Children’s Day) event in which more than 500 community members attended and celebrated all children. Culturally, in the Latin American community, Easter or the Easter bunny is not typically recognized. Instead, a day is designated to celebrate all children and commemorate family. Golden Gate Community Center held a huge festival with enormous bouncy houses, a train, water dunking tank, zoo animals, stations with various activities such as face painting, bean bag toss, musical chairs, crafts etc and served more than 600 hot dogs. A group of clowns performed for the children along with a group of young girls who danced a middle eastern/Latin American dance.

The event received such a huge amount of support that the large majority was donated. Special thank you to the GGCC Guild, Sun Valley Church, Isaac Anti-drug Coalition, City of Phoenix Community Prosecutor, Bajo las Mismas lagrimas group and residents. Residents from all the Golden Gate programs came together to plan the event, and collect new toys that could be given out to every child that attended the event. This event was truly a collaborative event and it showed the true essence of community. Events such as these are the very few occasions that the community has to enjoy with their families because of barriers such as finances, transportation and documentation issues. Golden Gate is fortunate to be the safe haven where the community can come and enjoy a great day and know we are here for support.

“It was such a joy to see the many smiling faces of all the children that attended that the hot day and all the hard work was worth it all,” said Sarah Gonzalez, director. “I want to give kudos to the Community Revitalization Program, Amy Marmol & Livbier Pearson, for leading this event, the GGCC programs that participated and helped out and thanks to all those who supported this event. It would not have been a success without you!”

To learn more about Golden Gate Community Center, visit

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hopping Ahead with Parents as Teachers

Adryan, four months old, looks around with curious eyes and a bright smile in the arms of his father, Virgil. Seeing Lorina, his family’s Parents as Teachers Parent Educator, he begins to laugh and bounce, fitting of his Hopi given name, which means “hopping one”.

Virgil Joshevana and Toya Hood, Adryan’s devoted parents, are both members of the Hopi Indian Tribe. Before Adryan was born, Virgil and Toya wanted to make sure they had as much parenting information as possible, so they chose to enroll in Parents as Teachers, a free home visiting program funded by First Things First for parents with young children in the Verde Valley.

“There are different ways to raise your kids,” says Virgil, Adryan’s father. “This program gives us more information on ways to raise children. Without it, we would only know what we know.”

Lorina, Parent Educator with Parents as Teachers, visits the family at their home in Camp Verde every two weeks. Each time she visits, Lorina brings activities, handouts on Adryan’s stage of development, books for Adryan to promote his language and literacy development, and connects the young family to any resources they may need. As a Parent Educator, Lorina is connected, and knows about the variety of programs available in the Verde Valley area for families raising young children.

Parents as Teachers is designed so that families meet with Parent Educators in the home, the most familiar environment for the baby, Toya appreciates the convenience of this. “Trying to meet somewhere else with a baby is a hassle,” she explains. Toya keeps the handouts Lorina gives her and plans to share the information with her pregnant friends and her friends with babies. That way, what she learns can benefit everyone.

In all cultures, parents are a child’s first teacher. From the day they are born, children begin building the brain connections that will serve as the foundation for a lifetime of learning. At four months old, Adryan is going through one of his most critical periods of learning and development. Together, his parents, family and Parent Educator Lorina are working to make sure he is healthy, learning, and growing towards his full potential.

Already ahead of his age group, Adryan is rolling and scooting at a stage normal for a baby weeks older than he is, investigating the world around him with enthusiastic determination. Next time Lorina visits, she plans to bring information on child-proofing a home. With Adryan’s eagerness to explore and learn, Virgil and Toya will welcome it.

Parents as Teachers is a program of Arizona’s Children Association and is funded by First Things First in the Verde Valley. For more information on Parents as Teachers, please call Arizona’s Children Association at 1-888-771-3435 X 2409.

Special thanks to First Things First for this story contribution. For more information on First Things First, the statewide organization that works to ensure all children ages birth to five years are healthy and ready to succeed, please visit

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Perspective

Written by Montserrat Caballero, director of Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault
As published in Latino Perspectives Magazine, April 2012

In 2001, I was part of an all-volunteer committee that brought the first Spanish language production of the play The Vagina Monologues to Arizona. If you haven’t heard of it, it is an amazing play that is based on interviews with women on how they feel about their, you guessed it, vaginas and everything associated with them – the positive and negative.

I remember sitting in meetings and agonizing about how to advertise the play. We were ready to go on the radio, write press releases, make fliers, inviting the public, our community, to this? Could we say vagina on the air? Would we be boycotted? Would there be outrage?

I didn’t even tell my mother what I was doing.

I had already been an anti-violence advocate for more than ten years. I had accompanied countless sexual assault survivors to hospitals at all hours of the day and night, answered crisis calls, done presentations about all forms of abuse, seen and heard some of the ugliest and most intimate ways that people are abused, mostly by those they knew and trusted and even loved.

And, yet, I was afraid.

Sexuality is as normal and natural as breathing. Yet, it is treated as the most unnatural aspect of humanity – something not to be discussed, something to be avoided and hidden, something to be ashamed of. It is mysterious, but in a frightening way.

How are we ever going to break the silence about sexual abuse and assault if we can’t have an open and honest discussion about sexuality in general? That it’s not only completely normal, but that sexuality is a fulfilling and important part of our human experience. Yet we have almost no honest, real, engaged, and compassionate language to discuss it.

How we portray sexuality to young people is equally frightening. Instead of focusing on the fact that sexuality is part of the experience of being alive in the world, instead of showing young people how to engage in positive and empowering conversations about what it means to have a healthy relationship based on trust, respect, open communication, honesty, and yes, how sex and sexual contact will or will not be a part of their lives, we mystify and ignore it or we demonize it. All of our messaging about human sexuality is negative: you better not get pregnant, you better not get anyone pregnant, don’t have sex before marriage, don’t have sex or you’ll get a disease, bring dishonor on the family, ruin your life, etc.

It’s a mess. And yet this strained and corrosive relationship we have to human sexuality has real consequences.

One in six women will be the victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault in her lifetime in this country. Over 85% of the time, it’s by someone they know and trust. And, most of the time, the victim will be blamed – what did you do to provoke it, what were you wearing, what did you say, why were you there so late? Even more devastating, victims of sexual assault are shamed into silence.

It’s time that this shameful victim blaming stop. It’s time that victims of sexual abuse and assault are supported and believed, not judged and blamed. It’s time that we as a community stand up and say – Ni Una Mas – Not one more.

I went on to help produce Los Monólogos de la Vagina for another six years. And, happily, about three years into it, my mother asked me one day if I had ever heard of this wonderful play by this woman about the vagina? I could only smile and say I had.

I am still an anti-violence advocate and I still help those hurt and traumatized by sexual abuse.

And, I am proud of my work, proud of my contributions, proud of my ability to break the silence. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and it is a great opportunity to learn more about the important efforts of local groups in your area who work tirelessly to put an end to sexual violence. There are many ways, large and small, that you can be a part of this work. I encourage you to get involved. Visit the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault website at for more information.

Hasta Que la Violencia Termine – Until the Violence Stops.

Visit for more information on the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault (SACASA), a member of Arizona’s Children Association family of agencies.

If you or someone you know needs help, call SACASA’s 24 hr bilingual crisis line: 1-800-400-1001 – anonymous and confidential

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Take Back the Night Tucson

For the first time in eight years the University of Arizona and the Tucson community will come together to host a joint “Take Back The Night” event. On April 10th, 2012, the collaborative “Take Back The Night” will be held in Geronimo Plaza (Geronimo Center A, Euclid Avenue and University Boulevard) from 5:30pm-8pm.

“Take Back The Night” is an annual event to speak out and raise awareness against sexual violence and provide support to survivors. The first “Take Back The Night” took place in the United States in the 1970s, and annually people in cities worldwide continue to host marches, rallies, and performances.

Tucson’s “Take Back The Night” will begin with two rallies that unite at Geronimo Plaza. Events in the Plaza start at 5:30pm and feature Keynote Speaker UA adjunct faculty member Dr. Frank Galarte, as well as dance and performance artists, speakers, singers, a resource fair, and the opportunity for survivors to share their stories.

Come out and support your community in taking a stand against sexual violence. “Take Back The Night” is free and open to all ages. For more information about the rally starting time and locations, or about the TBTN event, please visit the Facebook page at

Take Back The Night 2012 is sponsored by: The Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault, UA Campus Health Service Oasis Program Against Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence, Fluxx Studio and Gallery, The Pima County Attorney’s Office, Our Family Services, the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, Wingspan, UA Pride Alliance, UA LGBTQ Affairs, UA Women’s Resource Center, UA Panhellenic, UA Interfraternity Council, Esperanza Dance Project, Marshall Foundation, Students Against Domestic Violence, UA Dean of Students, Bens Bells, and other community partners.

To stay updated on events during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, April 2012, visit

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Letter from a Foster Parent

Providing safe and loving homes for children is one of the primary objectives of the work of Arizona’s Children Association. We provide adoption and foster care programs all over the state to help find and secure forever homes for the thousands of kids in Arizona’s foster care system. Below is a letter from an AzCA parent:

With the aid of Arizona’s Children Association we have happily adopted four beautiful children (three boys and one girl). When it comes to children we have always had room in our hearts to love one more and to see a reflection of that love thru the eyes of a child - whether it be for a day, a week, a month or forever.

Our hearts have not reached maximum capacity, but, sadly our house has reached its capacity – and we have run out of room. When our children are all grown up and with families of their own we look forward to filling our home with wonderful grandchildren.

We thank you for fulfilling our dream of completing our family. Thank you so much for allowing us this incredible experience, the journey and opportunity of a lifetime - becoming parents.

We encourage you to please share with your family and colleagues the need for forever homes for our youth. We provide the support, training and resources needed. To learn more, visit

Friday, February 17, 2012

Free workshops in Northern Arizona aim to help parents work with their kids to reduce the risk of potential substance abuse

Arizona’s Children Association is proud to offer Guiding Good Choices, a substance abuse prevention program which provides skills training to assist parents in reducing the risks of substance abuse and delinquent behaviors for the children they parent.
Guiding Good Choices is an interactive five-session program, which teaches parents specific strategies to help their children avoid drug use and other adolescent problem behaviors, and develop into healthy adults. In a lively and open atmosphere, parents will learn to set clear family guidelines on drugs, as well as learn and practice skills to strengthen family bonds, help their children develop healthy behaviors, and increase children’s involvement in the family.

The Guiding Good Choices program, from Channing Bete Company, was developed by Dr. J. David Hawkins and Dr. Richard F. Catalano of the University of Washington. Their research has shown that when children are bonded to their parents, school and non-drug-using peers, they are less likely to get involved in drug use or other behavior problems. Workshop activities are based on Hawkins’ and Catalano’s Social Development Strategy, a theory of human behavior that identifies the factors that promote social bonding and positive behavior.

Workshops are provided free of charge in a group or individual in-home setting. Program workbooks are also provided at no charge. The program is being offered by Arizona’s Children Association in Apache, Navajo, Coconino and Yavapai counties, with funding provided by The Arizona Governor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families Arizona Parents Commission on Drug Education Prevention.

The program has had a positive impact on a number of local area families in Northern Arizona. “Prior to starting the sessions, many parents feel that they are clear in their expectations for the children they are raising, but quickly learn that they are often undecided, unsure or insconsistent about a lot of the issues discussed in our program,” said Carol Reiman, a senior clinician at Arizona’s Children Association who facilitates many of the workshops. “By defining expectations for those in our care and learning more concrete methods of communicating and monitoring behaviors, our parents and caregivers learn to gain greater trust in their relationships and decision-making. We’ve had wonderful responses from program participants.”

Workshop times and locations vary and can be structured around your family’s schedule. For more information, contact Carol Reiman at or call 928.853.1055.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Gifts of Hope made an impact statewide

Across Arizona, individuals, companies and organizations stepped up to help the children and families we serve by collecting "Gifts of Hope.”

For many, the donated gifts were distributed to the child’s parents so that they could wrap the item themselves and give the gift as a part of their family time over the holidays. Some programs such as foster care and independent living often hold their own holiday parties. In Lake Havasu, their annual Mohave County Holiday Party for HRSS and STAR programs welcomed more than 250 people at the Parks & Recreation Rods and Relics Hall. Every year, community support is critical for this event. This year Lake Havasu City Frontier Communications sponsored the majority of the party expenses. Lowes of LHC came in with child friendly wooden crafts to build bird houses, games, etc. ~ lots of hammering going on! Members of the LHC Rotary Club set u[ a table with more than 200 cookies for the kiddos to decorate, plus there were 3 other craft tables, a bounce house, plenty of food and wonderful desserts, a D.J., and prize drawings. Last but not least, Santa came to visit with each child receiving a candy gift and a picture with Santa.

Stories like this came in from all over the state. In some of the Northern counties, gift donations even tripled from last year, allowing more kids than ever to benefit.
We are truly thank you to groups, large and small, and all the individuals who were involved in all of our holiday efforts. Below is a list of groups who were involved this year. Thank you to the dozens of individuals across the state who also participated. There are too many individuals to name here but please know that your support is very appreciated and you help to make the holidays brighter for our many families. Thank you!

If you are interested in participating in collection drives to collect the many items we need throughout the year, please visit If you are interested in Gifts of Hope 2012, please email Chris at to request an informational letter about this event later in the year.

Walgreens Employees (Prescott), Kappa Medical, County Bank, AZ State Savings & Credit Union, BTW Bikers of the Third Wheel, Yavapine Needles, FALA, Flagstaff Professionals, Zale Jewelers, Boy Scout Troop #210, Ross Stores Inc., ReMax Peak Properties, Little Caesars Pizza (Lake Havasu), Mohave P.C. , Frontier Communications, LHC Realtor’s Association, Havasu Regional Medical Center Auxillary, London Bridge Plaza Association, Chili’s Restaurant, Anderson Chrysler Dodge Jeep, Anderson Nissan, Anderson Toyota, Bling, Brooks and Clark, Bubba Jump, Elegante, ESSCO, ART Towing, Hair Cartel, Home Depot, Horizon Bank, IHOP, Jacklyns, Jamaica Elementary Honor Society, Lake Havasu Rotary, Lake Havasu Womens Golf Assoc., LHC Police Department, LHHS - Construction Students, LHHS – FCCLA, London Bridge Squares, Lowes, Mane Event/Lushes Lashes Salon, Men of the Moose, Relics and Rods, St. Michael's Church, The Shops - Management Team and Vendors, Titan's Fitness, Tri-State Pagent, Women of the Moose, Denny's (Kingman), Home Depot, Hot Locks Salon, Kingman Firefighters Union, Kingman Police Department, KPD 9111 Emergency Communications Center, MCC - Kingman Campus, Mission Bank, Route 66 Riders of Kingman, Bullhead city communities, Home Depot Associates, Horizon Bank - Fort Mohave, Lowes Associates, MCC - BHC - Administration, Faculty and Staff, MCC - Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, State Farm - Mavis Fulco's Office

Kimley Horn, Whole Foods (Raintree), Moments Salon, Perfect Power Solar, Crossfit Scottsdale, Norterra Salon & Spa, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Arizona Desert Goats Car Club, AZ Supreme Court, Celebrity Skin, Lillian Lottie Couture, Phoenix Fire Department, The University of Arizona Health Network - Health Plans, Phoenix School of Law- Hispanic Law Students Association, First Solar, Inc., Wesley United Methodist Church Young Adult Ministries, Stanley Consultants Inc, Manheim Phoenix, Sage, Key Club, Apache Junction Public Library, San Francisco-Federal Reserve Bank,, Gap (Superstition Springs Center), Student Academy of Audiology-ATSU Chapter, A1A Vista Tech Inc.

Carondolet Foothills Surgery Center, US Customs Office at DM, Mister Car Wash, Script Save, Pima County Procurement Office, Arizona Health Sciences Library, UA Health Network, UA Admin Services for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Rain Bird, First Solar

Thank you to those groups & organizations who were not included in the above lists. We try our best to thank all of our generous groups statewide and we apologize if you were not mentioned.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Reay’s Ranch Investors Surpasses their Goal to Help AzCA Kids and Families

Reay’s Ranch Investors, Super Stop, Minit Markets and Gordon’s IGA announced this week that their 2011 campaign to raise funds for Arizona’s Children Association has set a new record. Their “To Infinity and Beyond” Campaign had a 2011 goal of $160,000 to support Arizona’s Children Association programs and services in the areas served by Reay’s Ranch Investors stores. After the last coin was counted from their “Change for Children” drive in December, Reay’s had raised a record $179,438 in 2011! “Our amazing customers, vendors and employees continue to show that even during uncertain economic times, that they are excited to support Arizona’s Children Association’s mission to ‘Protect Children and Preserve Families Across Arizona,’” said Richard Couch of Reay’s Ranch Investors. Elements of the 2011 fundraising campaign included a placard drive in stores, a golf tournament, an employee giving campaign, and two Change for Children drives. Reay’s fundraising efforts since 2006 have raised more than $656,000 for AzCA. “We continue to be blown away by the generosity of Reay’s Ranch customers, vendors and employees. They truly grasp the value of these programs to their communities and we appreciate everything they have done to support our work,” said Marc Kellenberger, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer of Arizona’s Children Association. In photo above: Left to right, Michael Coughlin, president of Arizona’s Children Association, Richard Couch, chief operations officer and general manager of Reay’s Ranch, and Fred Chaffee, former President of Arizona’s Children Association.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Once in a Lifetime Trip for Kinship Families

It's not easy being a kinship caregiver, yet in Arizona there are more than 198,000 children living in households headed by grandparents or other relatives (US 2010 Census). Instead of resting or retiring, these grandparents and relative caregivers took on the responsibility of caring for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable children. Many of these families find that relearning how to parent and adjusting to a new lifestyle can be emotionally, physically, and financially challenging. Kinship, Adoption, Resource and Education (KARE) Centers provide support to kinship caregivers all over the state. That support has taken on many different forms in different areas of the state, but the KARE group in Phoenix has had one goal above all others: a grown up dream for their children…to go to Disneyland! This past Thanksgiving, that trip became a reality. The group of 17 families, made up of 72 children and adults, had been planning and fundraising for four years to raise the money to take the once in a lifetime trip. Initially, they had thought this vision was beyond their grasp as many of these families have never been to Disneyland or never have had the opportunity to even visit California. However, they worked as team, created a fund and found creative ways to add to that fund. They've sold tamales and fry bread, washed cars, baked cakes and cooked lunches. A few weeks ago, after four years of hard work, they finally reached the $20,000 they needed to cover the cost of the bus trip, two nights in a hotel and their Disneyland admission. “It was amazing to see how excited not just the kids were to visit Disneyland, but the grandparents too,” said Kinship Coordinator Joanna Marroquin who escorted the large group on the trip. “This whole trip has such a special meaning to them because it has been four years in the making. I am so amazed by their commitment and they should be truly proud of themselves.” To learn more about KARE programs statewide, visit and click on “Permanency Programs.”