Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New Property, Big Plans

If you build it, He will come. ~Field of Dreams

You may have read in our previous blog posts about Phoenix Children's Project's wonderful network of sponsors and donors, who helped us win the Spirit and Word Award at the end of last year. We won $10, 000 and have used that money to acquire a new property! This is great news because it means that we will have the opportunity to expand our reach yet again. 

PCP Director and Founder, Mary Frieling, always dreamed of having a place where she can house families and teach them life skills while they get back on their feet. Now that dream is coming true. 

The new property, located on 32nd St and Roosevelt has two buildings on a half acre lot. One building will be used for housing up to two of our families, and the other building will be converted for use as a  community center.

In the community center, we can serve hot meals to people twice a month, and provide family activities that encourage quality time. We hope that we can promote a positive environment while giving the children productive activities to help keep them off the streets. 

At this time, the buildings are dilapidated, but we can see the potential. We know it's going to be a lot of hard work to get the property inhabitable, but we're all used to getting our hands dirty! 

We are again looking to you, our volunteers and donors, to assist us in anyway possible. There are some specific projects where we could use some expertise and advice. Please spread the word and let us know if you or others are interested in helping us make this vision a reality. 

We are looking for help and expertise in the following areas and volunteers for any project:
  • A/C - someone to look at the evap coolers on the buildings and advise us on repairs or replacement. Also looking for a donated A/C or evap if needed. 
  • Windows - the house is missing several windows.
  • Landscape, grass and plants
  • Yard clean up 
  • Stucco for the exterior
  • Drywall 
  • Interior and exterior painting
  • Fence materials and installation
  • Playground equipment
  • Someone to pour concrete
If you or anyone you know can assist, please email or call Mary. Together we can rehab this property and optimize our potential to help even more families in need! 

Stay tuned for updates on the progress of this project!

Phoenix Children's Project:  602 955 2228

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Welcome to Summer, Soon it's Back to School!

Education costs money, but then so does ignorance.  ~Claus Moser

In Arizona, one in five children lives in poverty. A good education is the key to changing and enriching the lives of our youth. As summer begins, Phoenix Children's Project is already planning for back to school. 

We need your help to assist a local child living in poverty get off to a good start in the coming school year, and you can help no matter what your budget. Our goal is help 175 children, and there are multiple ways you can show your support: 

  • Become a child sponsor and provide new items to the child (Sponsorship Levels below)
  • Make any size monetary donation using PayPal on our website, or mail a check 
  • Help deliver backpacks on Saturday, July 28
  • Help us shop for uniforms and shoes with the donations we raise

Sponsorship Levels:

Copper: A package of socks and/or a package of underwear (Approximately $5-10)

Bronze: A pair of shoes (Approximately $20)

Silver: One uniform and a pair of shoes (Approximately $35)

GoldOne uniform, a pair of shoes, a package of socks and underwear (Approximately $50)

Please do not hesitate to step up and assist, as we would like to have all of our children sponsored by July 14 in order to complete the shopping. 

Please email Mary at to get started or make your donations on our website. 

Sisters from Family #56 show off their new backpacks from last year's Back 2 School Drive

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Winning isn't Everything..but it Helps!

No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another. Thank you. 

~Author Unknown

Many people do not realize that Phoenix Children’s Project is run solely by volunteers and all of the monetary support is received by caring donors like you and local companies. Phoenix Children’s Project is grateful to have such a wonderful sponsorship network, but it is also a balancing act for Mary Frieling, since the funding and donation support has been raised solely by her efforts.

So when Mary heard about the Spirit and Word contest for local charities late last year, her ears perked up…especially because the winning charities would win $10,000. Since PCP does not have an operating budget like all big name charities, $10,000 is paramount to an organization our size.

Mary was in her car that morning last year when she heard the announcement on the local phoenix radio show, Beth and Friends, on KEZ 99.9. The Spirit and Word Award was started by the late Bill Austin, formerly of Beth and Bill. Before he passed in 2010, he donated the money to Spirit and Word, a non-denominational spiritual resource. To date they have donated $80,000 to Phoenix charities.

When Mary got to her office, she immediately signed up for the contest on-line, and then sent an email to her distribution list, urging our network to nominate Phoenix Children’s Project. Over the course of the contest, at least 3,000 local charities were nominated, and Mary’s email had started a chain reaction of support for PCP.

The judges of the contest had a tough task ahead of them, but they narrowed the list down  to the top five charities nominated. Although PCP did not receive the most votes or nominations, the proposals they received were remarkably written and full of love. There were about twenty nominations, and some from our families who have internet access. One recipient of PCP support described our organization and Mary Frieling as lifesaving.

Although, PCP didn’t have the most votes, it had the most meaningful nominations, and we were selected as winners! Thank you everyone who helped make this happen. Your words and votes were instrumental in helping us, not only to win the money, but also to gain more exposure in our community.

The prize money was used to help purchase a property that will be used as an additional facility. We will need everyone’s help once again to get it up and running, but we know we can count on you. This new project will require a lot of time, hard work and vision, but we know we can do it with the help of you, our wonderful volunteers and donors.  Thank you again, for all you do, your efforts touch the lives of so many.

Stay tuned for more details about the new project!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Adversity and Resilience

Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.  ~ Bern William

During times of major disappointment, it’s natural to feel anger, stress and sadness… to the point of wallowing in self-pity. It’s natural, but completely unhealthy. As adults, we know that emotional resilience is the best way to “bounce back” from devastating circumstances, and make the most of the hand we’ve been dealt. We also know how difficult this can sometimes be, which is why I’m awed by how much I can learn from the resiliency I sometimes see in young people.

While most of the families in Phoenix Children’s Project illustrate perseverance and flexibility, one family in particular stands out as a prime example of the kind of resilience we all could benefit from in times of adversity. Five years ago, the father in family #31 was electrocuted and died while fixing a ceiling fan. He dropped dead in front of all of his kids. It was an excruciatingly tough period for the family. Margaret, the 27-year-old grieving widow, was left to raise their six kids on her own.

Instead of letting the tragedy keep her down and further traumatize the children’s lives, she pressed on and did what she could to give the children a happy home, working the graveyard shift as an airport parking attendant. She had to wake the children in the middle of the night and take them to her mother’s house, and then pick them up in the morning before school. It was a tough routine, but they did it. 

Today, Margaret is remarried, working the day shift, and the oldest kids, Max, Juan and Lupe, are doing outstanding in school; all three of them made the honor roll. Next year, they will be entering the fourth, fifth and seventh grades.

We are proud to say that the boys are going to summer camp this year. St Joseph’s Youth Camp gave us a 50% discount, and the Knights of Columbus St. Thomas More, Council 12856 is paying the rest. Max, Juan and Lupe will spend a week in Morman Lake, near Flagstaff and they will get to enjoy kayaking, fishing, hiking, and everything else a young boy hopes for at that age.

We are pleased to be able to send the boys to camp, encourage them to do their best, and show that positive things can happen, even in the face of adversity. Max, Juan and Lupe have shown what it means to draw from your inner strength and overcome. They are the epitome of resilience.

After hearing this story of how these kids bounced back from a significant misfortune during their formative years, I have to remind myself that when things are challenging, there is always hope for what lies ahead. 

Lupe, 9
Juan, 10
Max, 12

Friday, June 1, 2012

How it all Began...

You must be the change you want to see in the world.  ~Mahatma Gandhi 

Phoenix Children’s Project assists children living below poverty level in Phoenix, AZ. Currently there are 350 families and 1,000 children enrolled in our programs. 

So how did it get started?

Probably an orchestrated effort that included many people and community leaders, who spent a lot of time conceptualizing and executing the plan, right?

Phoenix Children’s Project serves many of the youth in our community, but this was not a result of an effort by a large team, and there was no intricately designed plan. It is a genuine grassroots charity that started with one act of kindness.

In 1997, Mary Frieling took two kids, Lilly and Larry, back-to-school shopping as a part of a Boys and Girls Clubs volunteer event. She drove Lilly and Larry home and was shocked to see the dilapidated house in which their grandparents were raising them. Mary was upset to see they lived in squalor, and it stuck with her after she left.

When she went back to visit the children she brought them food, clothes, and other necessities. She even took the kids trick-or-treating on Halloween. She couldn’t help but treat the family as her own.  When neighboring families took notice of the support Mary provided Lilly and Larry, they asked her for help. So she did, out of her own pocket and donations. These first few acts of kindness led to more.

Soon, Mary was providing assistance to 50 families. Her dedication to the mothers and children was so grand that she recruited friends, family, and even her employers to help with donations of food boxes, children’s clothes, money, and other supplies. Over the following years, her reach spanned 100 families.

A friend suggested that Mary start a non-profit group and start raising some serious money and really help these kids.  And thus, Mary purchased the Non Profit Kit for Dummies, and in 2004, Phoenix Children’s Project was officially born.

Thank you Mary, for seeing something that wasn’t right in the world, and for taking action. You are an inspiration to the families, to the children, and especially to your community. Because of your vision and  deeds, you have reached so many families, and potentially changed the future for numerous children. Your legacy will not be forgotten nor taken for granted.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Welcome to our Blog!

Welcome to the Phoenix Children's Project blog! There are so many success stories, announcements, news and needs to inform you of, that we had to create an entirely new channel to share them with you!

We are also in the midst of launching our monthly newsletter, which will be distributed via email. We are hoping to use the blog to provide more detailed information and include resources to those stories for you. Think of the blog as your one-stop-shop for consistent news and updates. You will also have an opportunity to share the stories and you are highly encouraged to comment. Press the "Subscribe" button below and you will receive automatic updates. 

I am a first time blogger, but I am so inspired by the work that you (the volunteer and sponsor) do, that I want to do something to give back to you, by highlighting your accomplishments in our community and in the lives of others. If you have blog ideas, interests, resources or an experience to share, please email me with your information and I will work with you to create a story to publish. I'm open to recommendations and feedback and can't wait to hear from you. This blogging project won't work without you!

I'm so excited to be a part of Phoenix Children's Project, and I hope that all of your stories will inspire each other. You certainly inspire me.