Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Help us create memories for children in care throughout National Foster Care Month

Children who are placed in foster care are often uprooted from their homes leaving their family with just the clothes on their backs. They leave all that they have known with only a few, if any, personal keepsakes. Many will go on to live in numerous and temporary foster homes while sharing many life experiences and passing through developmental milestones along the way.

Without record of these events, much of a child’s life might be forever missing and left behind with a previous placement. Documenting the time spent in care can go a long way in helping the children who have already lost so much. Pictures are used to create histories and document those memories and experiences throughout childhood. Most parents take photo after photo of their children with every milestone or achievement. Yet, children in foster care don’t always have someone to do this for them.

Andrea Fries, a program director for Arizona’s Children Association foster care and adoption program, is also a kinship adoptive parent and foster mom. “Having a record of their early lives is important to most kids. My three kids who are adopted, and who are fortunate enough to still see all of their family, love to go back through photos of things we have done,” said Andrea. “They are always curious about finding pictures from their past because most of their baby pictures have been lost or are only at their grandmother’s.”

Lifebooks are scrapbooks that are created by the parents of foster and adoptive children to use as a personal album of memories. These books are a collection of the child’s words, photos, artwork and other mementos that showcase the child’s growth and early life experiences. Lifebooks also serve as a way to build a connection between the child and their foster or adoptive family.

“These Lifebooks represent a youth’s identity,” said Michael Wydra, program director. “They help them understand their life events, grow, and develop into stronger individuals.”

Arizona’s Children Association is collecting blank, 12” by 12” scrapbook albums and new, or slightly used, digital cameras to provide for the families of children in care. May is National Foster Care month and we are counting on our community to help us provide a heritage for Arizona’s children. Through May 31, AzCA will be collecting donations at many of our offices:

Donation Drop-Off Locations

711 E. Missouri, Suite 300
Phoenix, AZ 85014

3618 E. Pima Street
Tucson, AZ 85716
520.318.4882 x 1565

3780 S. 4th Avenue Extension, Suite K
Yuma, AZ 85365

Sierra Vista
174 S. Coronado Drive, Suite B
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635

440 N. Washington Avenue
Prescott, AZ 86301

906 W. University Avenue
Building B, Suite 150
Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Lake Havasu City
228 London Bridge Road, Suite 202
Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403

For more information, contact Michael Wydra at MWydra@arizonaschildren.org or call 602.253.1620 x2679. Monetary and in-kind donations are encouraged throughout the year to support many of our programs statewide. Contact the office nearest you to learn more.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Reay's Ranch Investors Host Golf Tournament to Benefit AzCA

On April 19, 2013, Reay’s Ranch Investors hosted their 5th Annual Golf Tournament benefiting ’s Children Association. This year’s event raised an astounding $60,605! The tournament was sold out with many of Reay’s vendors sponsoring the event and purchasing team foursomes. In addition to a magnificent day of golf, tournament participants generously purchased raffle tickets to raise additional funds for AzCA programs and services.

Since 2006, Reay’s Ranch Investors has raised a staggering $890,878 for our organization and they anticipate hitting the $1 million mark in 2014! The majority of the funds come directly from customers who learned about our programs and services from the managers and staff inside a Reay’s Ranch store.

Rich Couch, former AzCA board member and current COO of Reay’s Ranch Investors, has spearheaded this initiative with the support of managers and staff. However, most people don’t realize that this is also a family affair – Rich’s wife and daughter and others donated their time and efforts to make this tournament happen. This golf tournament is an extraordinary event and we are very blessed to have such a supportive company in our ranks. Thank you to Rich and his team for their endless support and generosity!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Who will you dine out for? “Dine Out for Safety” returns to Tucson on April 10th

Who will you Dine Out for? That’s the question being asked around Tucson as “Dine Out for Safety” returns on April 10th for its 17th year. The facts are staggering:

• Every 13 seconds a child is abused

• One in six women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

• By age of 18, one in six boys will be abused.

• Someone is affected by sexual violence every 2.5 minutes.

We’re asking our communities to help us help those in need. Dine Out for Safety is a unique and fun community-wide event that encourages the community to support survivors of sexual abuse and assault by simply gathering up their friends and family and dining out. On April 10th, restaurants in the Tucson metro area have joined in the effort by agreeing to donate a portion of that day’s sales to Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault in an effort to increase awareness about their vital services. 100% of the proceeds will stay in the local community to support survivors of sexual assault and abuse.

The Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault (SACASA) is a community resource that provides education and support for individuals and families impacted by sexual trauma. SACASA provides a safe place for survivors to gain strength, learn coping skills, and develop trusting, caring relationships. This event is held each year in April as it is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

The Dine Out committee recruited leaders and community members to tell us who they were “dining out for.” Participants personalized their messages for a photo shoot to help share the important message, “I’m Dining Out For _______.” The collection of these photos can be seen in Dine Out materials across the city. The photo shoot included UA Assistant Basketball Coach Brandy Manning, children’s author Janni Lee Simner, and Arizona Daily Star Cartoonist David Fitzsimmons. The photos were taken courtesy of Rachel Castillo and Fluxx Studio.
Special thanks to the Community Partnership of Southern Arizona, Clear Channel Tucson, Comcast, Advision Outdoor, Cox Media and Desert Diamond Casino for their sponsorships of the event.

Participating Restaurants:   Bluefin Seafood Bistro, CafĂ© Desta, La Cocina, Don Pedro’s Peruvian Bistro, Kingfisher American Grill, NobleHops, Pastiche, Vero Amore, Wilko, Zivaz and Zona 78

More information about the event and an updated list of participating restaurants are available at www.dineoutforsafety.org.