A ThunderCares Saturday

It was that time of year again. The day that T-Birds take the town and make it a little bit better than it was before. Also known as ThunderCares. For those that don’t know, ThunderCares was started 7 years ago by students on campus and the TSG to find a productive way to give back to the society that has given them the place they love: Thunderbird.

This Spring’s ThunderCares recorded a massive turnout with nearly a 140 students turning up all through Saturday to volunteer across 10 projects. They varied from working with animals at Sun Valley Life to organizing thrift shops at the Arizona Humane Society; directing runners at the Red Neck Run to attending and caring for the Japanese Garden.

At the Arizona Humane Society Thrift Shop, located about 15 miles from Thunderbird, Casey Sutton led students to the Thrift Shop. No, this is no Top 40 song, but a warehouse that is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for people to buy used clothes at a lower prices. The volunteers’ task was to segregate the clothes, which arrive at the store in large bags. After sorting, students placed them on hangers and divided them as clothes for children, men and women. Within 3 hours T-birds had unpacked 20 bags and created 7 racks of clothes. Stained and the torn clothes were separated and put in a recycle bin. It was a mini T-bird world with the space being given solely to T-birds and making them feel good about having done their part for folks who can’t afford clothes.

Over at the Red Neck Run at Westgate Entertainment Center, a bunch of 22 T-birds were in for much cheering and directing. Led by Anuj Mody & Santiago Peralta, volunteers were paired up and moved to different locations on a 5k and 10k run route so that they could direct people the right way and assist other volunteers and police personnel in making sure the event ran without a hitch. Students were rewarded for their efforts by round the clock music and the amusing outfits of the runners who went all out in embodying all sorts of cliches of a typical “Redneck”. It was heartening to the T-birds as runners acknowledged their volunteerism and thanked them for their efforts as they ran by.

The Japanese Gardens began with an early morning rise to meet at 7am in Downtown Phoenix. Professor Zerio and student leader, Sabah Hussain, led about ten students in a morning tending to the pristine gardens started by the Sister Cities initiative. Properly designed and build by the Japanese, the garden is now maintained by two city employees and the reliable volunteers that come every Saturday morning prior to it’s opening at 10am. The garden also offers monthly tea sessions to the community to help calm and center the surrounding Phoenicians. The Thunderbird group helped to rake leaves, fertilize beds, and trim trees all through the garden. It was truly a peaceful and rewarding experience!

ThunderCares can never go by without a much deserved hat-tip to the TSG Community Outreach Chair, the project co-ordinators and the TSG itself, but the biggest kudos has to go out to every student that ditched their books, papers and cases for a few hours, to make a difference.


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