Arizona school wins $100,000 gym

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) and fitness icon Jake Steinfeld of Body by Jake announced the winners of the inaugural “Get Fit. Don’t Quit! Spotlight Awards, recognizing organizations in Arizona that are inspiring health and wellness in their communities. BCBSAZ also awarded a brand-new $100,000 “Get Fit. Don’t Quit!” Fitness Center to Brunson-Lee Elementary School in Phoenix.

Winners were selected by a panel of community ambassadors and announced at a ceremony on Thursday, May 16, at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix. Brunson-Lee Elementary School was honored as School of the Year and received a new $100,000 fitness center to inspire and foster healthy lifestyle habits for students.

Brunson-Lee was selected for its efforts and dedication to student health and wellness. With a holistic approach to healthy living, they have implemented a “Seven Dimensions of Wellness” program. This program offers guidelines that staff, students, and families can follow to improve their overall health and quality of life. The school also provides students with two fresh snacks a day and has focused heavily on after-school sports programs to keep kids active. The new gym will allow students an additional avenue for exercise, keeping their bodies and minds fit. 

“Academics and fitness go hand in hand,” said Steinfeld. “These students are starting to learn and build healthy habits that will last them a lifetime. It was at this stage in my life when my dad gave me my first weight set, and it completely changed my life. We’re excited to see the positive impact this gym has on the students and community.”

The “Get Fit. Don’t Quit!” Spotlight Awards are shining a light on people and programs that are making Arizona healthier. Honorees were selected in five additional categories, each receiving $10,000 from BCBSAZ to help further their health initiatives. Winners include:

Business of the Year, Chicanos Por la Causa: The organization was selected for its unique approach to employee wellness focused on outcomes, not just participation. Its various employee programs resulted in 50 percent of employees maintaining a healthy body mass index, blood pressure, and glucose levels.

• City of the Year, City of Phoenix: The city was honored for its efforts in launching the FitPHX program, Fall Into Fitness, WalkPHX Wednesdays, Energy Zones, and Wildcat Night to engage with Phoenix residents and give them more opportunities to get active and healthy.

• County of the Year, Yuma County: The county stood out for its efforts and programs to get residents moving. Initiatives include the Body Walk program, which teaches third-graders the importance of healthy habits, and the community-wide campaign, Be Active Yuma County!

• School District of the Year, Tempe Elementary School District: The district developed a robust wellness program that engaged hundreds of employees to participate in preventive screenings, immunization clinics, lunch-and-learn sessions, onsite fitness classes, corporate walking challenges, group trainings, and site-based program opportunities.

• Tribal Nation of the Year, Tohono O’odham Nation: The nation was selected for its Apedag (Wellness) Program, which identifies resources to allow employees to participate in health promotion and wellness activities. The efforts resulted in improved well-being; increased productivity, attendance, and employee morale; and lower healthcare costs for the tribe and its employees.

TruWest awarded $1.7 Million to help first-time homebuyers

TruWest Credit Union is thrilled to announce it has been awarded a $1.7 million grant for the Workforce Initiative Subsidy for Homeownership (WISH) program, through the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco (FHLB). The WISH grant is awarded annually to financial institutions to give lower income households an opportunity for down payment and closing cost assistance towards the purchase of their first home. This marks the sixth year in a row TruWest has been awarded a WISH grant. The 2019 grant is more than a 50% increase in awarded funds from 2018.

The WISH Program encourages homeownership for households ranging from very low to moderate income. Individuals and families can receive a match of four times their down payment and closing costs, up to $22,000 towards their new home’s final purchase cost. The funds can be used in combination with other local, state and federal homeownership programs.

“Since 2014, we have been able to help over 320 families with more than $4.6 million in down payment assistance,” said Alan Althouse, TruWest president and CEO. “We’re happy to help make the dream of owning a home a reality for those who didn’t think it was possible.”

TruWest’s grant is the most awarded to a credit union and the second highest amount awarded to a financial institution in the western region, which includes Arizona, California and Nevada.

Gilbert Chamber hosts annual business awards

The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce is hosting its 13th Annual Business Awards Luncheon as it delivers the Chamber’s Year in Review, honor the volunteers who serve the Chamber, and announce the recipients of this year’s Annual Business Awards sponsored by Alliance Bank of Arizona. The Annual Business Awards Luncheon will be held on June 19, 2019 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Phoenix-Gilbert from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.

The following award finalists will be recognized:

Company Awards:

910 West

Arizona Veterinary Specialist

Arizona’s Dukes of Air

Bliss Realty & Investments

Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences


Farm Bureau Financial Services

Fine Berger Insurance Agency

Gateway Bank

Gilbert Public Schools

Grad Solutions

Hampton Inn & Suites

Herbally Yours

HG Roastery & Café

International Minute Press

Northrop Grumman

Nothing Bundt Cakes

S.T.A.R Concepts

The Arizona Group

Willett CPA

Individual Awards:  

Rudy Apodaca

Olivia Brown

Tyler Doherty

Barb Dwyer

Andrew John

Elaine Kessler

Jim Lee

Stephanie Munro

Mark Newman

Nikki Schaal

Emily Staples

Ralph Willett

Alice Woodard

Chris Woodard 

Admission: Member Admission: $40* and general admission $75. *Add $10/person registration after June 13, 2019. Sponsored Table for 8: $400. For more information, contact Alma at (480) 941-6321 or register online at

Serrano’s launches #DeviceFreeDinner nights

As the school year winds down and summer boredom sets in, screen time for students increases exponentially when school is out of session. To help combat this trend, all five Serrano’s locations are hosting family-focused #DeviceFreeDinner nights from 5-9 p.m. every Thursday. 

The #DeviceFreeDinner concept was launched by Common Sense, the leading nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education and independent voice they need to thrive in the 21st century. 

At Serrano’s on #DeviceFreeDinner Thursdays, everyone will be encouraged to put their phones and devices in a basket on the table and engage in a set of “conversation starters” to prompt meaningful, eye-opening and, at times, hilarious conversations with friends and family members. The fun questions were designed for all ages – you never know when you might learn something new about someone you love. More importantly, #DeviceFreeDinner night offers parents a chance to connect with their children without electronic distractions. 

“Our family is celebrating 100 years in business this year and we are taking the opportunity to truly get back to our roots, which are centered around faith, family and food,” said Ric Serrano, president and CEO of Serrano’s Mexican Restaurants. “The concept of Device-Free Dinners appeals to our values, and we look forward to offering deeply discounted kids’ meals on Thursday nights as well.”

Kids’ meal options include nachos, cheese enchilada, taco, bean and cheese burro, bean tostada, mini chimi plus chicken and cheese rollups, quesadilla, PB & J, chicken fingers, grilled cheese, two kids hamburgers plus side(s) and a drink. In addition to half off kids’ meals ($2.49 for kids younger than 10) and conversation starters, Serrano’s will have informational handouts available from Common Sense about the impact of screen time on children and families.