Summer with HandsOn Greater Phoenix

Summers are typically a time for planning at HandsOn Greater Phoenix. In most places, volunteerism kicks into high gear in mid-July. Not so in the Valley of the Sun. When temperatures begin to reach 110-plus-degrees, volunteers tend to head for the hills, literally. Weekends are no longer spent tending community gardens or painting the homes of seniors. Instead, the most committed community advocates spend their weekends around barbeque grills in Arizona’s much cooler high country or on the beaches of California.
 
Of course, there are some volunteers who seek refuge from the heat by assisting at indoor projects with food banks and shelters, where help can be critical as temperatures reach potentially fatal levels. Instead of winter coat drives and wind chill factors, we have summer water drives and excessive heat advisories.
 
So, while other HandsOn Action Centers scramble to make the most of their beautiful summers, we drink our eight to ten glasses a day, slather on copious amounts of sunscreen and plan for our beautiful winter. Right now, in addition to the usual back-to-school preparation for our tutoring programs, we are working on a few new initiatives: our HandsOn Skills program and our first United We Serve Day.
 
The goal of HandsOn Skills is to help organizations meet their missions by leveraging the professional and technical skills of volunteers. While the program is still very much in the development stages, we have hosted two information sessions with nearly 30 nonprofit partners. We are receiving very positive feedback. We are also working hard to recruit volunteers from professional societies, trade groups and training programs.
 
Our National Day of Service and Remembrance plans for Sept. 11 are coming along nicely, with partnerships with the Cities of Mesa, Phoenix and Glendale. Volunteer opportunities being developed are focused on public safety, preparedness and honoring police, fire and other emergency responders.
 
Summer may be a quieter time at HandsOn Greater Phoenix, but we value the time to reflect on past successes and challenges and to plan for future improvements and innovations.