What’s the best way to end a summer filled with outdoor camping trips, enrichment programs, and theater camp? For more than 70 youth from Casa de Paz Sahuaro, one of UMOM’s low-income housing communities in northPhoenix, it was a chance to pick out new backpacks full of school supplies and celebrate the culmination to summer with a pizza party!
The night of August 1st, one week before school started for many of our youth here, was a great night for the kids. First, there was the Parents Meeting, where parents came together and discussed issues with the Resident Services Liaison and Resident Services Manager. It was also a chance to go over the new school-year guidelines and ask parents to be involved in their children’s school-lives and make sure they participate in the After School Program in the Programs Center here at the apartments, where they can receive homework help from volunteers from Brophy Preparatory, Notre Dame Preparatory and mother-daughter teams from National Charity League.
The Parents Meeting was followed by a youth meeting, where the youth reviewed and discussed new After School Program guidelines for the upcoming school year. It was neat to see the children raise their hand to read the guidelines aloud, proof that they were ready for school!
That’s when the real fun began. Each child who attended the meeting was given a ticket with their name and put into a raffle so they could choose their backpacks one at a time. One by one, each child picked their favorite backpacks, which were filled with school supplies. For some of the kids, it was their first backpack – for these kids, it was a chance to show off their favorite characters, like Spider-Man, Super Mario or Hello Kitty.
The kids finished off the fun-filled night with pizza. Thanks to Domino’s Pizza, who donated 15 pizzas to our event, the kids and parents went home with backpacks and full stomachs. It was a great ending to a great summer.
Thanks to all our community partners who gave our children the opportunity to have a great summer full of fun. Special thanks to:
- Arizona Outdoor Adventures for hosting our outdoor camp in June and providing all children who attended their very own fishing pole.
-Brophy College Preparatory for hosting our children for itsSummerLoyolaAcademy, and allowing them to have their very own personal “buddy” (tutor). The children loved it and had a great time.
- Theatre Artists Studio for hosting our children and allowing them to have a great time in acting workshops and participating in a play.
About the Author
Sergio Paris, Resident Services Liasion. Sergio Paris is the Resident Services Liaison at Casa de Paz Sahuaro, one of UMOMs low-income housing communities in north Phoenix. In his position, he is responsible for running the Programs Center and connecting families with the resources they need to improve their lives and reach their greatest potential. The Programs Center also hosts the After School Program where children can receive homework help and participate in fun youth activities, and is also available for adults for ESL, GED and college entrance preparation. Sergio holds a Bachelors degree in Mass Communications from the University of South Florida and is currently completing a Masters in Nonprofit Studies at Arizona State University. He has been working with low-income youth and families in Tampa, Fla and in the Phoenix area for more than five years.