SaddleBrooke Community Outreach Happenings – June 2024

SBCO named Bea Dillehunt the Volunteer of the Year for 2023-24.

Bea Dillehunt Named Volunteer of the Year

Nancy McCluskey-Moore

On April 8, at SaddleBrooke Community Outreach’s (SBCO) annual meeting, Bea Dillehunt was recognized as its volunteer of the year for 2023-24. This honor is significant for an all-volunteer organization that relies upon hundreds of volunteers to implement its programs to feed, clothe, enrich, and educate youngsters living in the Copper Corridor. In fact, in the 2022-23 fiscal year, SBCO volunteers contributed 72,582 hours of their time—an amount that at the national average hourly rate of $31.80 represented an eye-popping $2,308,093 in free labor.

Bea serves as the Thursday Day Manager for Kids’ Closet in Mammoth. The role involves receiving the list of students coming to the Closet each Thursday session, preparing a shopping sheet and bag for each child, conducting the volunteer meeting, checking to ensure each child leaves with a complete wardrobe, and checking the volunteers in and out. Basically, she is the “go to” person for the day, resolving any issues and helping ensure the kids and volunteers have a good experience. Bea began working as a Kids’ Closet volunteer in 2012 and was asked to become a Day Manager after two years of volunteering. “They thought I had potential,” she recalls. “I still enjoy meeting the volunteers, many of whom are former teachers, and working with the kids.”

Bea and her husband, Don, purchased their home in SaddleBrooke in 2003 and finally made the move from Orange County, Calif., when he retired in 2008. They both are originally from Arizona, Bea from Douglas and Don from Phoenix. After college, they relocated to California, Colorado, and then back to California. While living for 40 years in Southern California, Bea was a teacher.

She taught English as a second language (ESL) and social studies to middle school students. Then she and another teacher started a program named “Avid.” It was designed to encourage middle-school-aged students to think about attending college. The program included instruction in study skills, trips to universities, and opportunities to talk to university students and instructors.

Bea knows the importance of education in helping students expand their horizons. She grew up as one of six children whose father worked in a smelter. The cyclical nature of the iron industry, like mining in the Copper Corridor, meant her mother made her daughter’s dresses from flour sacks. When she moved to SaddleBrooke, she wanted to support efforts to help local students, so she participated in the Walk for Kids (originally known as the Walkathon) and for five years volunteered in receiving at the Golden Goose.

As a volunteer, Bea says her most gratifying moments are seeing how happy the kids are picking out new clothing. “It’s so satisfying when they send us heartfelt thank you notes.” She says one of the best parts of being an SBCO volunteer is meeting other SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch residents. “It’s great how everyone is so willing to help others. I have never before been in a community like this.” She encourages others to volunteer for SBCO. “You won’t know until you see for yourself how worthwhile it is. SBCO is one of the greatest things in our community—and there is a place for everyone!”

SBCO Awards 53 Undergraduate College Scholarships to Local Students

Nancy McCluskey-Moore

Each year SaddleBrooke Community Outreach’s (SBCO) Education Committee receives applications from local high school seniors for college scholarships. After the applications are received, committee members review each student’s financial situation, high school transcript, activities, an essay about personal and professional goals, and letters of recommendation. Committee members then conduct a personal interview to select the scholarship recipients. This year the committee awarded 53 undergraduate scholarships to students. Thirty-nine of the scholarships were for four-year degrees, 10 were for community college, and four were for intensive one- and two-year private programs (i.e., medical, aeronautical repair, and truck driving). For comparison purposes, in 2023 the committee awarded 53 scholarships, 35 for four-year degrees and 17 for two-year degrees.

In addition, this year the Education Committee awarded a $2,000 Jillyn Marin Memorial Scholarship to the No. 1 ranked Miami student (who also happened to be the overall No. 1 ranked scholarship applicant). Jillyn Marin was an SBCO scholarship recipient who recently lost her life in a tragic auto accident while heading back to her classes at UofA.

Scholarships also were awarded to graduate students accepted into global business management, healthcare management, and social work programs. These scholarships were financed from the interest earned on the SBCO Scholarship Endowment Fund and were awarded as one-time grants. Two of the grants were for $5,000 and one was for $6,000.

As of this fall, students attending two-year colleges receive a $1,800 per year scholarship while those attending four-year institutions receive $3,600 per year. If a student earns a minimum 2.0 GPA while registered as a full-time student with a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester, the scholarship continues until a two- or four-year degree is completed. If a student’s tuition and other expenses are otherwise covered, SBCO will pay for other school-related expenses to offer the maximum benefit from the scholarship. If a student receiving a two-year degree wishes to continue in a four-year program, a second $3,600 a year scholarship may be awarded.

In addition, a member of the Education Committee is assigned to each undergraduate scholarship recipient, serving as an advocate, sounding board, and advisor as they tackle the myriad of challenges involved in completing a post-high school degree.

The SaddleBrooke Ranch woodworkers who built bookcases for young readers in Kearny are, left to right, Dale Lythjohan, Dan Carter, Tony Manza, Sam Rossi, Jeff Hansen, Russ Hardy, Jim Lindley, Barry Milner, Mark Prose, and John Gordon.

SBCO and Woodworkers Support Young Readers

Nancy McCluskey-Moore

Each year SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) funds a grant to provide first graders at Ray Elementary School in Kearny, Ariz., with a wooden bookcase and two new books. The funding also provides for each child to receive two additional books in second and again in third grade to store on their bookcase. These bookcases are so well made that many high school students say that they are still using them. This program is especially important in a community where many children live in homes without books.

For many years, the Rotary Club of Kearny helped to finance and construct the bookcases. When the Rotary Club backed away from the program, SBCO worked with local woodworking/shop class students to build the bookcases. Then prisoners in Florence were paid to build them. Now, for the past four years, members of the SaddleBrooke Ranch Woodworkers Club have volunteered their talent and time to build these beautiful, sturdy bookcases.

The club members worked at the Ranch woodshop to build 33 bookcases that were delivered in May to delighted students. SBCO is grateful to the residents of SaddleBrooke Ranch who so generously contribute their skills and resources to support this and other SBCO programs.