10 Community Advocates Receive Heart in Hand Awards

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Ten community advocates from across the state have been named 2019 Heart in Hand Award winners by Wildfire, formerly the Arizona Community Action Association, for their individual and collective efforts in the battle against poverty.  The awards were presented at the 2019 Wildfire Statewide Conference at the Harrah’s Ak-Chin Resort and Casino.

            The two-day conference, under the theme “Wildfire: Igniting Community Action to End Poverty in Arizona,” also recognized Betsy Bolding with the Margie Frost Champion Against Poverty Award. 

“Our Heart in Hand honorees truly reflect our expanding mission to ignite lasting change in communities across Arizona,” said Wildfire Executive Director Cynthia Zwick. “These folks are making a difference every day in their communities without fanfare and often without acknowledgment. They are motivated only by their desire to do what’s right and to offer a helping hand.” 

            2019 Heart in Hand honorees are: 

• Roger D. Barber donates his time to help White Mountain Catholic Charities clients complete resumés and access transportation. He also helps with deliveries and overall rehabilitation projects at the Running Bear Food Bank. He was nominated by the Northern Arizona Council of Governments.

•  Araceli de la Hoya of Yuma has led volunteer efforts within the community and has helped residents with daily activities, transportation and at the food bank for over 26 years.  She was nominated by the Western Arizona Council of Governments.

• Neal Vardhan Kedia from Vardhan Brothers Dry Cleaners of Ahwatukee provides City of Phoenix Human Services Department clients with high-end, dry-cleaned interview attire and household bedding.  He also drycleans Dress for Success clothing at no cost.  He was nominated by the City of Phoenix Human Services Department.

• Stacy Lucero from Page was nominated by the Coconino County Community Action Agency.  She engages and collaborates with partner agencies, conducting outreach to ensure clients stay in their homes and keep heat and air conditioning running.  She also teaches financial literacy.

• Leslee Miele, Director of Effective Schools for Glendale Elementary School District, opened the Family Hub Resource Center at the district and coordinates McKinney-Vento, which provides services to homeless children and families. She was nominated by the City ofGlendale Community Action Agency.

• Terri Patt Smith of Tucson from Interfaith Community Services was nominated by Pima County Community Services. A fierce advocate for clients, she has spent the past 25 years helping low-income families and individuals in crisis.

• PastorCharles Proudfoot was nominated by Gila County Community Action Program.  Now retired, he remains involved with numerous community projects and continues to give his time to the community and people in need.

• Frankie Jo Rios, a member of the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation board, was nominated by A New Leaf/Mesa CAN.  She also works with the East Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s STEAM program helping young people overcome barriers to attending college.

• Patty Sickles of Wickenburg was nominated by Maricopa County Human Services Department.  As president of the Wickenburg Community Services Corporation she helps low-income children and families find clothing, shoes and food.

• University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, nominated by Community Action Human Services Agency, CAHRA, demonstrates outstanding leadership in addressi ng the issues of hunger in Pima and Pinal Counties and in developing programs that promote strong families.

            For information about Wildfire, visit wildfireaz.org.

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