Thundercares, our St. Patrick’s day contribution to the community

gtdSaturday, March 17th marked not only the famous green holiday known as St. Patrick’s Day, but also the return of another green event, ThunderCares Spring 2012.  Despite start times as early as 6:10 AM, more than 100 volunteers from the Thunderbird community volunteered their time and effort at the and the Field Works event – Kiss Me, I’m Irish Run/Walk for prostate cancer, International Rescue Committee, Japanese Gardens, UMOM New Day Centers and City of Glendale – Xeriscape Demonstration Garden! Overall organization and supervision handled by our TSG  Community outreach chair, Andres Osorio and his second tri rep David Snowden.

A brief overview of what occurred at each Thundercare project.

Kiss Me Im Irish, Project Leader: Ashwathy Sreenivasan

imagejpeg_2On a glorious St. Patrick’s Day, a bunch of Thunderbirds set out to provide their service to the community. I was the project leader for the Kiss me I’m Irish run that was held in support of prostate cancer. I had a committed team who were required to meet at the commons at 6:10 a.m. as we had to depart at 6:25 a.m. and report at the marathon check-in for the race to begin. Although we did have a few kick-off hassles, calling students and waking them up to turn up on time (including the leader i.e. myself in fact), distributing the oversized T-Shirts as always, sending people with their assigned car pools, it was a great,  hearty, collaborated team effort to make this Thundercares project highly constructive, valuable and fun. This run became an asset that would be treasured forever in the hearts of all the Thunderbirds who associated with it!

After the initial hick-ups, we arrived on time. We were requested to be the course monitors along the route that the participants would be running on and we picked up the road signs that we had to hold to direct them. Among the 28 students who were volunteering for this project, we had one brave man,Djoudie who agreed to be the Leprechaun for the event, entertaining the kids, ladies andkissmeimirishfamilies for pictures, for a hug and an encouragement to the runners. You could not have missed his act at the occasion. He was on high demand till the end.

One of the most fascinating and inspiring experiences of having helped with Kiss Me I’m Irish run was the sight of people from all walks of life – walking for this one cause – Prostate  Cancer. Elderly men and women running the 17k race, young mothers pushing their babies on the strollers and running, children, people running with their pets, some dressed in the most bold and bright costumes; was a unique conglomeration. A midst all these interesting participants was our own Thunderbird, Yuan Zhu, an Ms student who ran the 17k race and won 1st place in his age group and 6th place overall. On the whole, it was a baronial start to our St. Patrick’s Day, helping the community we live in. Thank you to my splendid team for making this bandwagon by Thundercares extremely successful and leave back a buoyant day to cherish for a lifetime.

Japanese Gardens, Project Leader: Jade Tantidilokkul                                                                                                         

thundercares10 Thunderbird volunteers gathered up in the early morning of St. Patrick’s day at the Japanese Friendship Garden located at the heart of Phoenix.  All of us were wearing green ThunderCares t-shirt signifying St. Patty’s day celebration. Michael, who was the volunteer coordinator at the Garden came to welcome us in front of the garden. He began by giving us a brief on tasks that he wanted us to help with and gave us an insightful tour around the garden. It was a very serene landscape. To all of us, the garden felt like an oasis in the desert! After the tour, it’s time to start the work. We started off by removing all the (really big) weeds, clearing up the area by the pond, and cleaning the pathway. After a full hour of fun and enjoyable tasks, we finished right in time for the opening of the garden at 10 o’clock. Kinjal and Andres came to visit us at the end to celebrate the success of ThunderCares- Japanese Garden project and took a picture with us and Michael. We ended our morning with a light brunch and local ground coffee to reenergize ourselves at a nearby cafe recommended by Michael’s colleague. It was an amazing day for all of us!

International Rescue Committee, Project Leader: Anisha Vinny

A group of 10 T-birds had the opportunity to volunteer at the ‘Resettlement Shop’ in Phoenix hosted by the International Rescue Committee.

On the morning of Saturday, March 17th at 8:30 am our team of 10 (each in our ThunderCares t-shirt) drove 18 miles to the ‘Resettlement Shop’.  The International Rescue Committee is committed431128_384340431584888_220931531259113_1415400_1927599253_n to responding to the world’s worst crises and helps people to survive and rebuild lives. The Resettlement Shop is one step in this direction.  It is a venue for IRC clients to browse through donated items and take home anything they want for free.

On arrival at the Shop at 9:00 am, we were helped by Brittany and Elise from the IRC to help understand the tasks that needed to be done. We split up into task forces! One that helped to sort inventory, another team functioned as personal shopping guides to the customers and a few of us even went door to door to deliver special care packages for the customers (who were from Somalia, Eritrea, Iraq and Cuba). Once all the tasks were done, we gathered around as a group to share stories of our morning’s experiences.

After a morning of hardwork, we ended ThunderCares with lunch and some of us headed to the Net Impact St. Patrick’s Day event.

Special thanks to Brittany Martin who was our contact from the planning phase and helped us organize this event!

UMOM: Project Leader, Darshan Shah

419935_384340511584880_220931531259113_1415402_392884009_nIt was St. Patrick’s Day, and a team of 15 Thunderbirds was set out on a mission to give back to the community by breaking the cycle of homelessness. I, Darshan Shah, was the project leader for the UMOM project at Thunder Cares. We gathered on campus at 9:00am where David Snowden was reading with the t-shirts. Our entire team was well on time and set to take up the job. We reached the destination by 9:55am where Mr. Steve, the project manager was ready to welcome us at the reception. He then took us for a tour inside the campus. We were thrilled to see the number of facilities provided by the organization for the homeless children and parents. 429795_384340738251524_220931531259113_1415412_1566653046_n

Our project included more of manual labor in the community garden such as laying landscape pavers, moving gravel from one part of the property to the garden area and some painting. All the volunteers were enthusiastic about contributing to these different small projects. Ms. Pansy, the project coordinator was very helpful and organized to make sure all of us were having a great time. During our progress, we had Kinjal Gandhi and Andres Osorio, who have been visiting all the projects since early morning to capture pictures and videos and also make sure things were going well. Finally, after 2.5 hrs of hard work, we successfully completed our task and were set to leave. Few of our Tbirds volunteered and expressed their gratitude to the Thunderbird community by being a part of the UMOM. Overall, it was a great experience for all of us and we were happy to give our bit to the community.

Once again, ThunderCares proved to be a great way for the T-Bird community to demonstrate their leadership and commitment to a caring and sustainable world.  We hope to see you join us next Tri!

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