SBCO Salutes Volunteer Buzz Hackett
Gordon “Buzz” Hackett clearly enjoys performing community service. After arriving in SaddleBrooke 21 years ago, he was quickly recruited to serve on the SaddleBrooke Patrol. This position, which he held for 17 years, was a natural fit for a man who had a 20-year career with the U.S. Park Police in Washington, D.C., and served as a safety and security officer with Merck Pharmaceuticals. After retiring from the Patrol, Buzz’s wife said he needed to find a volunteer position so he would “get out of the house.”
Buzz decided to check into volunteer opportunities with SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO). Pat Andrea, the SBCO office manager, wanted to add Buzz to her roster of office volunteers. Although he was dubious, “I told Pat that I don’t have any computer skills,” she assured him that answering phones, transferring calls, shredding documents, receiving money, and sending out receipts would be a great help. Once he was in the office, Buzz found there was more work to do, including helping sort Kids’ Closet clothing deliveries, receiving toiletry donations, and encouraging others to volunteer. Most importantly, he offers a warm welcome to everyone who comes to the office. As Buzz notes, “I like meeting new people.”
This past February, Pat and Ron Andrea hosted a special event in their home to recognize the work of the current and former receptionists who staff the SBCO office. On that occasion, Buzz was named “Receptionist of the Year” in recognition of his extraordinary service. Pat stated, “Buzz does his job with a smile, a great attitude, a hug, and is knowledgeable about everything happening at the office. If he can’t answer a question, he works to find someone who can.”
Buzz says that he is impressed with the other volunteers who support SBCO and the many ways in which the organization provides food, clothing, and educational opportunities for local students. “Helping the kids is most gratifying since they cannot help themselves. I’m proud of SBCO’s programs, but I’m also impressed by the generosity of SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch residents who give their time and money to support SBCO. You meet the nicest people through SBCO. And volunteering makes me feel younger.” Buzz finds the rewards of his volunteer work so great that he often arrives early for his shift–and readily takes on extra shifts when needed.
Every organization should be so fortunate as to recruit volunteers like Buzz Hackett.
SBCO Scholarships Make a Difference in Students’ Lives
George Rivas is a bilingual student who graduated from high school with a 3.7 grade point average and studied piano for nine years. He volunteered at the Golden Goose Thrift Shop, the Casa Maria Food Kitchen, and served as a Eucharistic Minister at the Santa Catalina Catholic Church. In 2017, the Diocese of Tucson awarded George their Saint John Paul II Youth Award. George is majoring in political science at the University of Arizona and plans to minor in Arabic. He hopes to work in a U.S. Embassy as a foreign service officer.
George states, “Receiving the SBCO scholarship has been a blessing. Attending college today is not as affordable as it was in the past, so this scholarship has helped me a lot in being able to afford this next step in my education. With this scholarship, I was able to pay for all my textbooks in both my first and second semesters. I am so grateful that this scholarship is here for me!”
If you would like to help students like George, consider making a donation to the SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) Scholarship Endowment Fund. Endowment donations last forever, as only the investment earnings from your donation are used for scholarships. In this way, a single donation continues to help students for generations to come.
Education is a multi-generational game changer. Research tells us that a child raised in poverty is over 70% more likely to raise his or her own children in poverty. A gift of education can therefore not only make a difference for the student who receives the scholarship, but for his or her children and grandchildren as well. Where else can you get that kind of return on your investment?
The three most common ways to donate to the fund are:
1. Include the SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) Scholarship Endowment Fund as a beneficiary in your trust or estate plan.
2. If you are over age 71, ask your financial institution (i.e. Vanguard, Fidelity, etc.) to send a portion of your mandated IRA distribution to the SBCO Scholarship Endowment Fund. Donations made in this way are exempt from federal income taxes.
3. Simply make a cash donation to the Scholarship Endowment Fund. As a 501(c)(3) charity, donations are tax deductible.
Note that while SBCO accepts donations of any amount, there is a $5,000 minimum for donations to the Scholarship Endowment Fund. Always check with your financial advisor about the tax benefits of donations as they apply to you.
SBCO Announces 2020-21 Board of Directors
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) was unable to host its annual volunteer appreciation party and board election vote. In June, SBCO members were asked to vote via email to approve the proposed slate of candidates. The elected board of directors for 2020-21 includes Steve Groth, president; Denise Anthony, executive vice president; Marcia Van Ommeran, recording secretary; Cheryl Smith, recording secretary; Karen Green, corresponding secretary; Camille Esterman, treasurer; Esther Moen, assistant treasurer; Melanie Stout, vice president Kids’ Closet; Jan Olsson, vice president Kids’ Closet; Denise Anthony, vice president education; Nancy McCluskey-Moore, director communications; Sandy Seppala, director membership; Sandy Miller, director membership; George Nersesian, director Scholarship Endowment Program; Trish Parker, director special events; Beth Fedor, director special events; Vivian Errico, director Teen Closet; and Ann Coziahr, Golden Goose representative.
SBCO Supports Educational Enrichment with Grants
The pandemic has made this a challenging year for local schools and athletic programs in the Copper Corridor. SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) has long been providing grants to help finance education enrichment opportunities and summer sports activities for these students. While many activities have been cancelled, some have been able to proceed despite the coronavirus outbreak. Among the programs that recently received SBCO grants include:
Catalina Island Marine Institute Trip
This enrichment experience at Coronado K-8 School allows all 6th graders to participate in a three-day trip to solidify grade level science content in oceanography, weather, and marine biology. This year’s trip was held on Feb. 16 through 18. Activities include snorkeling, plankton labs, shark labs, and invertebrate labs. Approximately 50 students attend. Students fundraise for the trip and tax credit donations are applied to support this venture. SBCO provides a grant of $3,000 for student scholarships.
Grand Canyon Field Trip
This enrichment experience for all 7th graders at Coronado K-8 School is a two-day trip to the Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon Dam, and Sunset Crater National Park. To solidify the geology science standards, the students will have the opportunity to see first-hand how our world is carved and shaped by natural phenomena. Approximately 70 students will attend. SBCO provides a grant of $4,000 for student scholarships. This trip has been rescheduled to September.
Youth On Their Own (YOTO)
This program serves students in grades 6-12 who are unaccompanied homeless minors. SBCO provides $7,500 to the program to fund 47 monthly stipends to students attending Coronado Elementary School in addition to Canyon Del Oro and Ironwood High Schools, where SBCO also offers college scholarships. Students earn their monthly stipends by good attendance and grades.
Math Plus Tutoring
SBCO provides a grant to pay UofA math students to work in the math labs at Ironwood Ridge High School. These tutors provide extra help to enable students to meet the math requirements for high school graduation. Over the course of the last school year, 40 students had completed their math classes when the program was terminated on March 15. SBCO provides $15,000 a year to support this program. Math tutoring at Ironwood Ridge is scheduled to begin again in September.
Want to Make a Difference? Volunteer for the Golden Goose
The Golden Goose Thrift Shop relies on a volunteer staff to raise funds for SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) and IMPACT of Southern Arizona. SBCO’s programs provide food, clothing, and educational opportunities to children along a corridor that stretches from Catalina to Miami. IMPACT offers hard working families struggling to make ends meet and low-income seniors with a food bank, clothing, and special services for children and seniors. Both organizations significantly help improve the lives of southern Arizona residents.
During the summer the Golden Goose always is in need of volunteers to staff the shop and help sort and price incoming donations. It’s a difficult time to recruit volunteers since many SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch residents spend their summers elsewhere. But COVID-19 has made this an even more challenging time. Fortunately, the shop has re-opened with many safety measures to protect the health of volunteers and customers, including:
* Customers and staff are required to wear masks while in the shop
* A total of 50 people allowed on the sales floor and in the back at any given time
* A new route through the shop controls customer traffic and encourages social distancing
* Dressing rooms are closed; customers cannot try on clothing
* Shopping baskets and customer service carts are sanitized after each use
* Donations are stored in pods in the parking lot to allow enough time and heat to ensure sanitization
If you are able to work at the Golden Goose this summer, your assistance would be most welcome. Shop hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Volunteers work three-hour shifts either on the floor in your assigned area or working in the back room. However, under the current circumstances, we would appreciate any time you might be able to give us. Volunteer orientation takes place every month on the third Monday at 3 p.m. Please call 520-825-9101 for more information.