Making a list and checking it twice, as you manage home, family, friends and business during the holiday season? Do you feel sometimes like you are not giving enough? Do you feel you need more time, energy or money? You are not alone! Think about what you can do that serves family, friends and business.
Having lived in Tempe for decades, I served on my first city board in the ’70s and continued to serve on some board or commission until moving to Ahwatukee. I was raised in the small town of Walla Walla, Wash., where we knew by working together we could solve the needs in our community. I love that small-town feeling knowing my little bit is important to the whole.
Being a real Christmas nut, Ahwatukee had me from “Hello.” They put their time into making the community feel and look like Christmas. We found the perfect home in Santa’s Train Land and were part of the community — we even had our own snowflake to put on the mountainside. Everyone who visits loves our Chandler Boulevard lights and we always feel thankful we moved here.
Ahwatukeeans reached out to welcome us into the community and provided opportunities to serve — I would have loved to say yes to everyone, but time does not permit.
Choose to serve your passion — I chose youth. I chose groups that worked together to maximize my time and efforts, i.e. Kiwanis, YMCA and the Ahwatukee chamber. These groups worked to serve youth needs of all ages and I met like-minded people who also had businesses in Ahwatukee.
I soon learned the Ahwatukee chamber was not just a plaque on my wall. I joined a business leads group where other businesses shared their success and marketing ideas, where we could help and learn from each other. We even participated in a volunteer project helping the Kyrene Foundation provide for children’s needs. I participated in the Public Policy Committee and learned more about what impacts our community. I became an Ambassador and eventually I joined the Ahwatukee Chamber Toastmasters — the first Chamber Toastmasters Club in the state ,and a model for others. I made new friends while also helping my business.
The YMCA Board is a dedicated group of people serving our youth. This Y is for everyone though, and greatly enriched our family. Not only does the YMCA have a great gym, but also provides classes for everyone and many sport teams. Have you heard about their Youth Leadership Programs? Have you visited the new teen center? Or have you heard about the Diabetes Prevention Program? Our YMCA is a vital force in our community and a place you and your teens can volunteer. YOPAS serves our senior citizens by providing transportation for shopping and doctor visits. There is always a need for volunteers. There is a place for you and a place for your business to get involved.
I soon learned from others about another group, Connecting to Serve, and had to reassess my time. This group connects people who want to serve with the needs in the community. I invite you to join them and help. Here you will find the YMCA, the Kiwanis Club and Rotary, and our pastors. You will find people wanting to make a difference, people with a passion and people who want to solve a problem. Some of those problems are hunger, homelessness, human trafficking, transportation, foster care, financial resources, counseling resources, school supplies, senior care, and many more. There are ways for you to give all year. I found I could share my skills as a financial advisor with youth and people in debilitating debt to provide hope.
Along the way I was included in a lot of fun community groups. You will find that these groups collect canned goods, hygiene items, and clothing for others in need. What a perfect time to start a new tradition. Ahwatukee is an inclusive community and you are welcome to be part of it, give to it, be served by it, and most of all to love it.
If you have any questions or are too shy to ask, send me an email at Cynthia.GGeryak@FarmersAgency.com and I will make the introductions. There are so many places that can be helped, if you give just a little bit. Read the Ahwatukee Foothills News and attend groups that sound interesting. And remember, shop Ahwatukee so that our businesses stay strong and help strengthen our community.
• Cyndi Newburn, MBA, is a financial services agent in Greg Geryak’s Farmers Insurance and Financial Solutions Agency and an Ahwatukee Chamber Ambassador.