During the Thanksgiving holiday, we all get hungry—but not just for turkey and pies. We get hungry to give back to our community. Gilbert is a town known for kindness; so much so, that in April we even renamed the town “Kindness, USA" for one week. Around the city, there are many wonderful organizations looking to do good for those less fortunate, from helping feed the homeless to finding homes for cute and cuddly creatures. These organizations are doing what it takes to make a difference in our town.
The thought of getting involved can be daunting. Often times, we forget about those with less in their lives, or sometimes we just do not know what we can do to make a difference. Here are a few of our favorite charities and nonprofits from around Gilbert. We hope you will spend some time this holiday season learning a little bit more about them.
Whether you decide to volunteer with Kindness Konnectors, go see a show by the Actor's Youth Theatre, or maybe have your own way to help others in need, there are so many ways to give back and spread the joy this holiday season.
1. Friends for Life Animal Rescue
Friends for Life is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit limited intake, no-kill animal rescue organization that focuses on rescuing stray cats and dogs from the streets and rural areas of our communities, providing them with medical attention and placing them with adoptive families. Friends for Life receives no government funding and is powered by a dedicated group of volunteers. In addition to rescue and adoption services, Friends for Life offers a low-cost spay and neuter program to qualifying low-income families as well as education programs for both volunteers and the public. AZFriends.org
2. Actor’s Youth Theatre
Actor's Youth Theatre is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit performing arts organization with the mission of educating, entertaining and enriching the lives of individuals in the community. AYT provides opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to develop acting, dancing, musical and technical talents through comprehensive performing art workshops, classes, programs, community outreach, performance opportunities and the presentation of theater productions. AYT maintains a high standard of excellence while providing participants with a safe, inclusive atmosphere and a learning environment dedicated to implementing positive self-discipline. While encouraging creativity, AYT cultivates opportunities to learn all facets of theater and performance for lifelong growth and appreciation of the arts. AYTAZ.org
3. Empowerment Through Sports
Empowerment Through Sports' mission is to "EMPOWER" the lives of participants and their families. The organization aspires to be a cornerstone of support in helping shape the lives of the young participants and their families through the medium of sports. ETS strives to "change the face of sports, one kid at a time" and to build health, confidence and character into all the lives it encounters. The focal point of ETS is on faith, family and community. and behaviors needed to cause positive experiences for kids and parents.
From 2009 to 2015, ETS hosted youth recreational programs for children ages 6 to 14 and has fostered healthy interactions with thousands of families from across the Valley of the Sun. Since the last ETS sanctioned recreational opportunity in 2015, it has since shifted its focus from offering sports programs directly to supporting youth through sports registration scholarships, school preparation (backpack drives) and community outreach (Holiday Toy Drive). The organization prides itself on being able to bridge the gap and assist families in harnessing the benefits of sports interaction and community involvement. EMTSports.com
4. Boost a Foster Family
Boost a Foster Family is thankful for all families stepping up to take in kin being removed from abusive or neglectful homes. It is truly a joy and privilege to support these grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and older siblings whose lives get turned upside down after receiving that call from DCS asking if they will take in these children in need. Boost a Foster Family provides safety items for its homes as well as fees for required services (like physicals, rabies shots and registrations for dogs, and CPR/First Aid classes). It is a QFCO for the Arizona Tax credit. BoostAFosterFamily.org
5. Kindness Konnectors
“It’s not about pretending darkness and negativity don’t exist; it’s about recognizing that they do and making the choice to be the light despite it.”
The individuals behind Kindness Konnectors understand the value of even the smallest act of kindness.
As a group, they seek out ways to bring joy, compassion, laughter and warmth to others within our community and accomplish their goals by partnering with generous local corporate citizens for support.
Some recent examples of Kindness Konnectors activities include serving the homeless alongside the Aris Foundation and assisting the residents at a memory care facility to make pretty flower bouquets to brighten their rooms. KindnessKonnectors.com
6. House of Refuge
House of Refuge is a faith-based nonprofit organization located on 20 acres in Southeast Mesa. Their community includes a neighborhood of 88 two-bedroom homes for families experiencing homelessness. House of Refuge offers these families comprehensive wraparound services including case management and assistance with employment and education. Residents also have access to the Donation Center, which provides food boxes, furniture and other home furnishings for families. By providing a home and comprehensive wraparound services, House of Refuge helps these families overcome homelessness, become self-sufficient and move to sustainable housing. HouseOfRefuge.org
7. HD SOUTH – Home of the Gilbert Historical Museum
HD SOUTH is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It is housed in the original elementary school in Gilbert. The building is the oldest one still standing in Gilbert and the only one on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of the museums in surrounding communities are owned and operated by their municipality and are guaranteed funding year after year; not so with HD SOUTH. As such, the organization has had to take a hard look at its activities over the last few years and how it fits into the community of Gilbert. Because of the rapid pace that Gilbert has grown, there is a lack of arts and culture in Gilbert. So in 2017, the Gilbert Historical Museum expanded its mission to include not just history but all arts and culture. So the name Gilbert Historical Museum didn’t fit anymore. Because of the importance of its location at the southern end of the Heritage District, the name HD SOUTH was chosen as the new name. HDSouth.org