Community Service Opportunities

Clubs throughout District 5495 hosted community service projects as part of the district's second annual Week of Service, April 16-24, 2022.
 
Clubs big and small planned and participated in projects -- including volunteering at the local food bank, giving away free formal prom attire to high school students, cleaning up a local park or trail, furnishing an apartment for a refugee family recently relocated to Phoenix, providing clothes to homeless shelters and more.
 
The mayors of both Chandler and Mesa declared April 16-24 as "Rotary Week of Service" in their communities in honor of the work performed over the years by the local Rotary clubs, and the impact their work has had on local citizens.
 
Local Phoenix television stations broadcast live at two Week of Service events: The Prom Closet in Glendale and the furnishing of an apartment for a refugee family from Afghanistan that recently relocated to Arizona.
 
The Prom Closet, sponsored by the Peoria North Rotary Club, was held April 2 and April 16 at Landmark Elementary School in Glendale. Over 70 Rotary volunteers from numerous clubs assisted in the project, which served nearly 500 students from over 70 high schools in Arizona.
 
Twelve East Valley Rotary Clubs -- including the ASU Rotaract Club -- worked with the International Rescue Committee to fully furnish an apartment for a family recently relocated from Afghanistan. Clubs provided furniture, toiletries and food for the family.
 
 
Submitted by  Dr. Honora Norton, RCSL Public Image Director
 
Rotary Club of Sun Lakes has been very active with the East Valley's Welcome to America Project (WTAP). The Welcome to America Project shares transportation, technology, and transformational resources to enhance success, so that refugees do not just resettle in our country, they find community and flourish. WTAP creates impacts that last a lifetime for the refugees as well as the volunteers who serve. 
 
The Tempe-based WTAP is proud to celebrate over 20 years of creating meaningful interactions and providing needed resources to refugees becoming our new Phoenix neighbors. In that time, the organization has welcomed more than 15,000 refugees from more than 40 countries, helping them find community and flourish. In the coming year, they will assist more than 2,000 incoming Afghan refugees.
 
In early April 2022, partnering with WTAP, Rotary Club of Sun Lakes volunteers donated, purchased, packed, delivered and set up items for the bathrooms in an East Valley apartment of a refugee family of seven (mother, father and 4 kiddos). Additionally, RCSL members did a "Saturday Delivery" to families in the West Valley (mostly along the I-17 corridor). 
 
They met at the WTAP warehouse for orientation before meeting the families and delivering the furniture and supplies. Each family received a few helpful household supplies (like the cleaning supplies RCSL had collected) and fill-in furnishings to complete a comfortable home and most importantly a warm and friendly welcome.
 
RCSL has several other projects planned with WTAP during April including a couple of packing days-sorting and getting items ready for "Saturday deliveries" and an evening of bike repair.
The RCSL volunteers, including ASU Rotaract Rotarians and Rotarians from other area Rotary Clubs, participated in the complete furnishing of an entire apartment located in the East Valley, including food for the family's first week in the apartment.  During the East Valley apartment project, RCSL partnered with several other Rotary Clubs and the resettlement agency International Rescue Committee (IRC).
   
 Over 4 million refugees have been forced to flee Ukraine. IRC sends vital supplies to displaced children and families.
 
To donate or volunteer visit www.WTAP.orgwww.rescue.org; or join the Rotary Club of Sun Lakes members by volunteering with them - visit www.sunlakesrotary.com.

 
How many of you have heard of the Rolling Hills Cemetery in Prescott?  How many of you know where it’s at?  And how many of you know its story?  Not many, I suspect.
 
 The Rolling Hills Cemetery sits on both sides of Ruger Road just before you come to the intersection with Crystal Lane, one of the entrances to the airport.  It lies close to St. Luke’s Church.
 
 Rolling Hills has an interesting background.  It was started during the Depression by the well-known Ruffner family in Prescott, and was to be used primarily for burials of indigents and those who could not afford a plot in any of the city’s other cemeteries. 
 
While other cemeteries in the area were charging $50 to $150 for plots, those at Rolling Hills were only $5.  Burials began there in 1933 and continued until around 1955, and perhaps even a little later.  In the mid-50’s the City of Prescott brought the adjacent property for the Antelope Hills North Golf Course and the Rolling Hills Cemetery was included in that purchase.
 
 In doing some research, there are several hundred known names buried in Rolling Hills, but the belief is there may be as many as 150-200 lying in unmarked graves, many of whom may have been buried without coffins.  It’s also thought that there may be a mass gravesite that is also unmarked.  When Sheldon Street was widened in the 1950s some of those buried in the Citizen’s Cemetery were removed to Rolling Hills. 
 
Over the years a number of different groups have taken on the upkeep of Rolling Hills- members of St. Luke’s, Boy Scouts, other concerned citizens, some who have family members buried there.  But in recent years, the Cemetery has fallen on hard times, with little upkeep.  One of those things that sadly has fallen through the cracks.
 
During a recent visit with Joe Baynes, the City’s Parks and Recs Director, on an unrelated matter, The Rotary Club of Prescott-Frontier Community Service Director, Mike Payson, was asked if the Club might be interested in taking this on as a regular service project. After discussions with several key members of the Club the decision was made to move forward doing this on an annual or semi-annual basis.
 
The Rotary Club of the Verde Valley partnered with Mingus Union High School (MUHS) and the Rotary Clubs of Sedona, Sedona Red Rocks, and Sedona Village to hold its first local Prom Closet in March.

The shopping days for the Project Prom Closet were held March 5 and March 12 at Mingus Union High School.

Project Prom Closet provided FREE formal wear for local high school students.

“Partnering with Mingus High School’s Community and Family Outreach is just one way to increase our impact in the local community. By working together, we plan to provide gently used Prom attire to our local high school students for no charge.” ~ President, Rotary Club of the Verde Valley, Lynette Prouty.

For more information about this project, please go to www.rotarycluboftheverdevalley.org
The Rotary Club of Tempe Downtown is inviting other Rotary clubs to join them in a community service project to be held March 31.
 
The joint Rotary service project/social event at the Tempe Family YMCA, 7070 S. Rural Road, Tempe, 85283, 6 p.m. Thursday March 31.
 
The project benefits D2 for the Homeless.
 
We will be hearing from D2 Director Juan Te Daily about her organization and then cutting plastic grocery bags in such a way that they can be crocheted (and I mean literally crocheted) into sleeping mats for the homeless. 
 
We will need to collect a lot of plastic bags so consider having your club do a drive during the month of March (not before - too many bags and they can’t handle the volume).  
 
Please let me know by Feb. 28 if your club plans to participate in this joint service project so we can plan properly. 
 
Marni Anbar, President of the Rotary Club of Tempe Downtown.
480-540-4599