It's that time of year to give thanks, reach out and help those less fortunate. To make it easier Connecting to Serve is holding a Community Service Kickoff event at Pecos Community Center on Saturday, Nov. 5.

Over 14 local groups and non-profits have signed up to be a part of the event and bring information about volunteering with them to the community center.

"We have done it the last two years at Mountain View Lutheran Church at the conclusion of courses that help people identify purpose," said Sheila Coonen, executive director of Connecting to Serve. "It was decided that it would be beneficial to have it at the community center where everybody could easily participate."

The event is being put on by Connecting to Serve, a local non-profit whose goal is to connect groups and empower them to make change, and the Ahwatukee Community Network, a group of nearly 40 organizations in the Ahwatukee Foothills community.

The kickoff will include organizations and opportunities for all skill levels.

Mountain Park Senior Living is expected to open in late March or early April of 2012 but they plan to have a table at the event to find volunteers ahead of time.

"Our programming here relies heavily on volunteers," said Heidi Kruse, of Mountain Park Senior Living. "They might be doing companion service for seniors, they might be helping walk their dogs.

"They might be helping with cooking demonstrations or helping with a lot of our different activities. Most of the people in this community have a wealth of experience so they might be running a lecture series or teaching our residents quilting, beading or gardening. There's a whole host of things they could be doing from walking a dog to teaching a class.

"I think the kickoff event is a way to find out what the needs of the community are and find a way to give back with your time and talents and hook you with a passion."

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pecos Community Center located at 17010 S. 48th St.

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