Triple-digit heat didn’t stop 700 dedicated volunteers from showing up on Unite: Day of Action to paint murals, plant gardens, clean up graffiti, and stuff WeekEnd Hunger Backpacks in communities across the valley. In all, there were 16 different projects going on at the same time. Below are hi-lights from this large scale event!
Eight-year-old Steven says it’s “lots of fun” cleaning up a park, referring to Biehn Park. His older sister, 10-year-old Adrianna, was helping her brother and mom. “I am painting the table, and we’re painting over the graffiti because they put graffiti all over the playground and all the table stuff….we’re just painting the benches to make it nicer for kids to come to play."
Adrianna says she’s lucky graffiti is not a problem at the school she goes to so she thinks it’s neat she can help other kids by cleaning up their play area. “It’s actually fun because we get to help kids play here.”
“I wanted them to see just beyond their community where they live,” says Cynthia Villela from JPMorgan Chase. They’re very fortunate where we live….. I did grow up in a community like this so it’s always good for my kids to see that and help each other out, especially kids their age.”
JPMorgan Chase volunteers also restriped the basketball court at the park.
Dozens of USAA volunteers participated in cleaning sections in this permanent supportive housing apartment complex. They also repainted the lobby.
Over at Sutton Elementary School in the west valley, AAA Arizona and Target volunteers were busy sprucing up the children’s playground for Unite: Day of Action.
AAA was also distributing car seats at the school. “AAA Arizona was proud to donate car seats to families of J.B. Sutton Elementary as a part of United Way’s Day of Action. AAA employee volunteers made a difference by educating families on child passenger safety, and through beautification projects at the school,” said Stephanie Moe with AAA Arizona.
“We arrived a little early,” says Fred Petrowich from Target. “The staff here was fabulous. They had everything ready for us to sign in — all of the equipment, all of the paint, all of the brushes, rulers….We had a great time with a lot of laughing. And we had great help from one of the teachers here. We thank you so much. It was a great morning.”
“We are doing this to support our schools, to support our community,” says Sutton Elementary School Principal Lina Muñoz. “It’s a team effort. And we really are invested in making this campus, not only a place of learning inside, but outside, and making it an enjoyable place for the students to come and learn and play.”
In Glendale, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona volunteers was helping in a beautification project at the 75-year-old school for Unite: Day of Action, which included painting a mural and working on a garden.
“Blue Cross tries to stay involved in the community,” says volunteer Angie. “And our headquarters are right down the street. So we all came out to help paint the mural and work on the garden.”
Volunteer Rene says the garden hasn’t been touched for six years.“It means so much for our volunteers to be in the community every day. Special days like this are even more important. We are working in the garden to revive it — plant fruits, vegetables, and teach children how to start healthy habits at an early age.”
Overall, Unite: Day of Action was a great day for everyone! Volunteer and long-time United Way supporter Matthew Kontje from Bank of America sums it up well, “I’m just super excited to see everybody out here having a great time. I like the way that United Way puts so much planning and organization into it, trying to make it easy to check in, making sure that we have the little things like water and everything we need. So it just really makes me happy, excited, and proud to be a part of the Phoenix chapter of Valley of the Sun United Way.”