Tag Archives: Central Arizona

Reviving the Construction Industry

Habitat for Humanity is built by volunteers

There are many good people in Arizona.

Several weeks ago, a group of them stood in searing summer heat celebrating the completion of another Habitat for Humanity home-renovation project for a deserving family.

We are often asked how we’re able to build or renovate homes during Arizona’s oppressive summer months and despite the economic challenges.  Sometimes I wonder that myself, particularly about the heat.

And then I look around and the answer becomes very clear:  because of our volunteers.  In fact, at this particular event, one of our Bank of America volunteers, whose support was phenomenal on this house, commented that they’re ready to start the next company-sponsored home in September, but in the meantime they’re looking forward to volunteering on other home projects this summer.

How can we not succeed when we have that support from across the community from volunteers readily committing to a weekend project when the mercury would touch 119 degrees?

Support from the banking sector has been particularly strong and allowed us to continue our work during the severe economic downturn we’re now climbing out of.

The Corporation for National Community Service reported that Arizona’s 1.3 million volunteers donated an average of 28 hours each during 2011 for a total financial contribution of $3.1 billion in service.  Phoenix represented the largest percentage of those numbers with 850,600 volunteers donating 94.1 million hours valued at $2.6 billion.

Nationwide in 2011, 64.3 million volunteers – the highest level in five years – contributed 8 billion hours.  Three out of every five volunteers were between 25 and 54 years of age and were parents of children under 18.

Last year, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona served over 400 families, a tenfold increase from where we were in 2008 before the real estate market crashed.  We’ve also expanded our products to include home repairs, deepened our relationships with collaborative organizations and extended our reach with recent approval for an expanded service area to now include Pinal County.

We expect to complete about 60 homes from Buckeye to Apache Junction this year with a staff of 80 and nearly 10,000 volunteers.

But it’s during the summer that we can really measure the commitment, the passion and selflessness of the community and our volunteers.  Their desire to make a positive impact on the community says a lot about the character of the men, women and young people who choose to engage in this type of work.

I recently read that a volunteer is “a person that has a spirit of service, creativity, sensitivity for human pain, strong moral values, the ability to work in a team, and a social conscience.”

I couldn’t have said it better.

 

Roger Schwierjohn is President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona.  For information about how to volunteer, visit www.habitatcaz.org.


Top 5 Must Sees in Central Arizona (Spring-Summer 2012)

Top 5: Must Sees In Central Arizona (Spring-Summer 2012)

The Top 5 Must Sees in Central Arizona — as voted on by Experience AZ readers:

Chase Field

401 E. Jefferson St., 
Phoenix, AZ 85004
602-462-6799
azchasefield.com
A multi-use facility which serves as a home to the Arizona Diamondbacks, concerts, breweries, team shops and restaurants.


Desert Botanical Garden

1201 N. Galvin Pkwy., 
Phoenix, AZ 85008
480-941-1225
dbg.org
The Desert Botanical Garden hosts one of the world’s finest collections of desert plants. This one-of-a-kind museum showcases 50 acres of beautiful outdoor exhibits. Stroll through the living museum and learn about different desert plants.


The Dolly Steamboat

PO Box 977, 
Apache Junction, AZ 85217
480-827-9144
dollysteamboat.com
Nature cruises, twilight dinner 
cruises and astronomy cruises are 
available. Rated one of the “Best Things to Do in Arizona” by the Official Visitors Guide 
of Greater Phoenix.


Taliesin West

12621 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ 85259
480-860-2700
franklloydwright.org
One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s greatest architectural masterpieces, Taliesin West served as one of his personal homes, studio and design school campus. The site still serves as 
living/working and educational facilities with guided public tours.


South Mountain Park

10919 S. Central Ave., 
Phoenix, AZ 85040
602-534-6324
phoenix.gov/PARKS/southmnt
The nation’s largest desert 
municipal park, South Mountain Park features 51 miles of trails and lookouts at 2,300 feet and 2,600 feet.

Experience AZ Spring-Summer 2012

Hiking and Eating in Cave Creek, Photo: Ashleigh Gleason

A Weekend In Cave Creek

Halfway through the college semester, we found ourselves bombarded with the burdens of homework, part-time jobs, and clubs. Needless to say, when my friend Leslie called to invite Ashleigh and me on an impromptu trip to Cave CreekHiking And Eating in Cave Creek, Photo: Gianna Miler to check on the empty house her parents just purchased, we accepted without a moment’s hesitation.

We couldn’t leave until late in the evening, so we made the short trip from Phoenix in the dark of night. This didn’t pose any problems when headed down the freeway, but once we entered the town in search of a house we’d never been to, the black sky made the quest quite difficult.  The three of us cursed the town for not investing in street lights, but after we settled upon Spur Cross Road and managed to find the correct street address, we took more than a moment to appreciate the star-filled night sky. I had never seen so many bright stars in my life!  We settled into the empty house in our sleeping bags and went to bed excited for the morning’s adventures.

Used to the need for caffeine and internet access, we charted down Cave Creek Road to find a friendly coffeehouse.  The town was crowded for a homecoming parade for the local high school.  It was awesome to see such town pride!  But it did prevent access to Cave Creek Coffee Company, so we bypassed the well-reviewed shop, continuing to find Roots Coffeehouse closer to the highway.  Roots kindly served us delicious espresso drinks and free Wi-Fi, and we utilized its resources to plan the remainder of our weekend, full of hiking, feasting at iconic restaurants, and browsing the nearby outlets.Hiking And Eating in Cave Creek, Photo: Ashleigh Gleason

We headed to Anthem to hit up the outlet stores for J. Crew, Gap and Nike. Then we famished-ly headed back to prepare for a feast at a Cave Creek iconic restaurant. The Horny Toad Restaurant is a renowned favorite we were eager to try, but since we were on a budget, we hit up Big Earl’s Greasy Eats instead and were delighted with tasty burgers for a college student’s price.

The next day we went for a midmorning hike in the Spur Cross Conservation area.  The land was so beautiful, and we were truly taken away by the desert wildlife. Leslie and I almost gave Ashleigh a heart attack when we fearlessly climbed off the beaten path up a rugged cliff. We calmed her down by carefully coming down the trail, not by jumping. We rewarded our physical efforts of the morning with brunch at the Saguaro Grille in Carefree. The cafe had some of the best breakfast and coffee we’ve ever encountered, and it looked much cuter than we did after our hike.

Overall, the weekend was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable ones I’ve had in my life, let alone that semester. If you’re ever looking for delicious eats, picturesque hiking and a great place to bond with your best friends, you should find yourself in Cave Creek.