Community Service Opportunities

On November 14th & 15th, Phoenix Rotary 100 members Lisa Henning Beohm and Stacy Bos distributed 450 dictionaries to the 3rd graders attending school on the Apache Nation reservation - this worthwhile project fits into the Phoenix Rotary 100 pillars and the RI basic education and literacy areas of focus.
This project was first started by the Sun City West Rotary Club several years ago and was transitioned to Phoenix Rotary 100 by Jim Dowler. As with so many other activities, the pandemic prevented the distribution of these dictionaries over the last two years. 2022 offered the opportunity to start things back up and Jim Dowler was ready to pass the baton over to project Chair Kathy Mitchell, who helped coordinate logistics and planning.

Over two days, Lisa and Stacy visited 10 schools throughout the White Mountain and San Carlos reservations, starting near Pinetop, AZ making their way south to the Globe area. With the help of the Wednesday evening Downtown Social Crew members of Phoenix Rotary 100, stickers were placed on the front inside cover of each dictionary highlighting the Rotary wheel and providing the ability for each child to write their name, personalizing their new dictionary. The schools ranged in size from 20 third graders up to 120!
Bulletin boards in schools highlighted the emphasis placed on the importance of reading. When visiting the classrooms, it was fun to engage the kids and ask if they liked to read, what their favorite books are, and see their enthusiasm for reading.
We were able to experience the joy of gifting these books to the children who, in return, shared their excitement at receiving them. Reading - not just for school but for life!

Angel Heart Pajama Project is the vision of Graciela Lopez, mother of the two co-founders, Maria Cuesta Patterson and Marty Croissant. In 1963, these three Cuban-born women immigrated to the United States to escape from political, religious, and economic distress.

During their early years of adjusting to a new language and culture, Graciela Lopez, always found the money or the means to purchase new pajamas and books to enrich her children’s lives.

The tradition was something the sisters looked forward to each holiday season. Graciela continued this tradition of giving pajamas and books during holidays and special occasions with her daughters, grandchildren, and now her great-granddaughter. (see more )

All children in the Verde Valley between birth and 5 years are eligible for a FREE age-appropriate book each month.  The Board of the VVIL is made up of members of our local Rotary Clubs, as well as local community members.  We are proud to support this organization both with monetary gifts and service.  This year we gave $9,750 in collaboration with all four Rotary Clubs in the Verde Valley and Sedona and The Rotary District 5495 Matching Grant.  The clubs involved in the 2022-23 District Grant are the Rotary Club of the Verde Valley (Cottonwood), Rotary Club of Sedona, and Rotary Club of Sedona Village.  The Rotary Club of Sedona Red Rocks also made a donation.
More information can be found at and
Larry Cervarich, a member of the Rotary Club of Verrado, has been inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame Society.
A long-time Rotarian and recipient of Rotary’s highest honor – The Service Above Self Award – Larry was inducted into the Hall of Fame during a ceremony held in October at Talking Stick Resort.
A link to this year’s inductees can be found at:
Larry was born in Portland, Ore., in 1939 and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1961 to 1967.
Larry’s civilian career was in food service – he owned a restaurant, commercial bakery and catering company in Portland.
After moving to Arizona in 2006, he founded two charities in the West Valley – Homeless Youth Connection in 2009 to support homeless youth, and 12 years later, Meals of Joys, which supports seniors with medical and financial issues.
Meals of Joy provides meals to seniors, delivered daily by volunteers. The nonprofit is projected this year to deliver 46,000 meals in nine West Valley cities.
Submitted by: Gary Whiting, RCSL Past Club President and Rotary International Past District 5510 Governor (edited by Dr. Honora Norton RCSL Public Image Chair)
In the summer of 2002, Rotary Club of Sun Lakes (RCSL) Rotarian Dwight Grotewold visited the Rotary Club of Logan, Utah and learned about their elementary school project called “A Dictionary for 3rd Graders”. As a former K-12 teacher and recently retired Vice President of Admissions for the University of Colorado, Dwight introduced this project to the RCSL Board and members for implementation in Rotary year 2003-04. 
The “RCSL 3rd Grade Dictionary Project” fundraising was immediately started and in RCSL’s first year, over 5,000-plus dictionaries were distributed to 3rd graders in the Chandler Unified School District, Gilia Indian Schools, private schools, and Title 9 programs in the immediate Chandler/Gilbert area along with the Gilbert Unified School District for just the first year.
Past distribution required each RCSL member and friend of the RCSL to attend a Dictionary preparation “pizza” party, then personally contact each school, set up a day of distribution that would allow them to provide each student with their own dictionary with the classroom teacher involvement which usually takes place in the gym, lunchroom, and with some schools an outside area.
RCSL Rotarians and others believed that this project would help each student become better spellers, readers, thinkers, and speakers.  And the teachers have constantly been the #1 supporter as they use the dictionary for class projects and take-home assignments.  The Student’s Dictionary and Gazetteer is more than just words and definitions.  It contains sections on world geography, civics, multiplication tables, science, the water cycle, planets, the constitution, bill of rights, presidents and even has illustrations for sign language and braille.  And when the students see the longest word in the English language, which contains 1,909 letters, the fun
starts.  As a part of the presentation, we ask the teacher and students to write us a short letter on how they like their dictionary after a couple months.  Their letters will make you proud of why you are part of this outstanding annual education project.
The Rotary Club of Paradise Valley combined with several other Rotary clubs to hold its annual Western Party Oct. 22 at the home of PDG Alan Havir. Proceeds from the event will be used by the clubs to support local charities.
During the event, the Paradise Valley club presented a check to Gateway Community College to purchase medical equipment for the college’s HUG Clinic. The HUG Clinic, operated by students at Gateway, is housed in the old Luke Hospital on 18th Street and Van Buren and provides free medical services to people with no insurance.
The PV club also sponsors scholarships to entry level vocational students each year. If your club would like to participate in partnership with PV, contact Alan Havir 623-297-1541 to learn more. 
From left, Jennifer Kline, Ann Blatte from Gateway Community College, Alan Havir and Kerry Smith from Paradise Valley Rotary Club. 

Rotary Club of Sun Lakes (RCSL) considers non-profit Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels one of its special Valley charities.  Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels is a nonprofit, support and educational organization designated by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible, tax-exempt organization, founded in 2012 in celebration of Amanda Hope’s life. Amanda Hope’s mission is to bring dignity and comfort into the harsh world of childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.  

One of the ways RCSL recently supported Amanda Hope was through the Club’s $300 monetary donation to be used to purchase fleece to make blankets for hope and comfort to children in need – one blanket at a time.  In response to the Club’s donation, RCSL Rotarian and Sun Lakes resident Kandi Skrabala volunteered to hand make several hope blankets. 

Additionally, several RCSL members along with ASU Rotaract members will be on hand for a Trunk and Treat event held at Amanda Hopes headquarter parking lot.  Rotarians, with the support of ASU Rotaract Rotary Club members, will put on Halloween costumes, decorate their car trunks, and pass out candy to childhood cancer warriors.   

To donate or volunteer see for more information.  For information about this and other Rotary Club of Sun Lakes community service projects or membership see  

Rotary’s seventh – and newest – area of focus is Protecting the Environment, and District 5495’s new Environmental Committee invites Rotarians looking to make a positive impact on our environment to join the committee and help create district-wide challenges and projects. 
According to Committee Chair Mariel Olson of the Tempe Rio Salado/Camelback Crossroads Club, the committee hopes to have one representative from each club. Meetings will be held on the fourth Wednesday of the month, from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. on Zoom. 
“Our goal is to empower clubs and educate Rotarians and the community as to how we can positively impact the environment,” said Mariel. “We know a lot of clubs are already doing projects that are environmentally driven and want to highlight those along with giving ideas for new projects. We also want to bring clubs together doing joint projects/ challenges and learning more about what we can do as individuals.”
The committee’s first challenge to all clubs in the district: Pick up 2,000 pounds of trash.
Between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15, clubs are encouraged to consider a local community clean-up service project. With your club, choose a location: trails, streets, waterways, neighborhoods. Invite other clubs and non-Rotarians to join. 
Weigh your trash when you are done, send pictures, the total number of participants (Rotarians and non-Rotarians), and how much trash you picked up. Let's work together and make a difference.
Email your questions and results to 
For more information on getting involved with the committee please contact
September’s Focus Environmental Project is End Plastic Soup, a Global Environmental Project for Rotary. Started in 2018 by a Rotary club in Amsterdam, End Plastic Soup has a global initiative already supported by thousands of Rotarians and hundreds of Rotary, Rotaract and Interact Clubs worldwide.
Their goal is to eliminate by 2050 the plastic waste in the oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, forests, parks and streets. Watch to learn more: End Plastic Soup 
Rotary, Rotaract and Interact Clubs worldwide work together to solve and prevent plastic pollution problem.  End Plastic Soup also ties in with Earth Day along with Rotary Day of Service. For more information about End Plastic Soup, visit  
Contact Carrie Hemme, District 5495 Ambassador for End Plastic Soup. Carrie is available to speak (via zoom) at a club or advise of projects ideas. 

At a recent meeting Rotary Club of Sun Lakes Rotarians (Sun Lakes residents) Val and Bill Crump provided an update on the Club’s Dolly Parton Imagination Library Project. 

Currently 603 kiddos participate in the book-gifting program. RCSL pays for the costs involved for gifting eligible children an age-appropriate book a month sent directly to the child from the Dollywood Foundation. The cost to RCSL is approximately $2.50 per book.

The benefits to this early-childhood educational opportunity to children is immeasurable. As a requirement to become an Affiliate of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, RCSL was required to identify the specific area and only enroll children between the ages of 0 to 5.  The RCSL Imagination Library Committee, decided on the Town of Guadalupe, based on its size and obvious need.  

The RCSL Imagination Library Committee is looking to expand to other communities and looking for partners. RCSL is asking for your help if you believe in and have a passion for early childhood development.  You can do something positive while knowing your donation will be vetted and used properly while also having a tax deduction. Your donation will be used almost exclusively for books and postage to deliver the books to the children’s homes.

RCSL will be happy with any donation, but just think, for only $150 you would be sponsoring a child to receive a book a month from birth to five years old. For more information, contact Club President at 480-593-5377.

For more information about the RCSL projects, programs, and membership - see

The newly formed Rotary Club of Queen Creek, a collective of business owners and professionals dedicated to improving their community through volunteer work, has announced its inaugural community event focused on providing resources for parents which help build self-confidence and resiliency in area teens.
Highlighting the “Raising Resilient Kids” themed parent night event are three well respected presenters: Natalia Chimbo-Andrade, Director of Community Education and Outreach at Community Bridges, Katey McPherson, social media expert and community advocate and Officer Rachel de la Torre of the Queen Creek Police Department.
The goal of the parent night event is to provide parents with tools and information that help build resilience in teens which will better help them overcome the growing mental health issues that many teens struggle with today. 
Also participating will be over 15 organizations stationed to offer information and resources to concerned parents including: La Fronterra Empact, Combs School District, Community Bridges, Queen Creek PD, Life Skills for Confidence, COPA Health, Spirit Mountain Healing Services, Mental Health Therapeutic, SOS Survivors of Suicide Support Group, SE Valley Community Alliance, I Am Teen Strong and more.
Katey McPherson explained, "It is imperative that trusted adults and caregivers recognize that childhood has drastically changed with the advent of the smartphone and other devices we hand our children. The massive stressors they face are drastically different than we experienced. The race for academic performance, athletic prowess, bullying on social media/gaming platforms and the increase in youth mental health issues such as anxiety and depression must be met with a call to action that includes front loading them with prevention and resiliency training to confront these challenging times."
“Many of our members who are parents, counselors, police officers and teachers have expressed a need for an event like Raising Resilient Kids to build awareness to the many challenges our youth face and subsequent resources that are available to parents.  We’re pleased to be able to put together such a great event that I feel will really benefit our local community,” explained Jason Jantzen, Chair of the Rotary Club of Queen Creek.
The event will start at 6:30 p.m. with food provided by ahipoki.  Seating is limited, those interested in attending can register at: