Arizona ASC Association Helps Children in Foster Care Members assemble care packages BY ALI LEGROS-MURPHY

At the Arizona Ambula- tory Surgery Center Asso- ciation’s (AASCA) annual meeting this year, mem- bers from around the state

came together to learn, network and give back. “Two years ago, AASCA’s Confer- ence Committee proposed that we find a way to serve others and to incorporate it into our annual meeting,” says Lynn Dugan, president of AASCA. “The Board loved the idea. We made the com- mitment that not only would we provide top-notch educational opportunities to our members, we would also incorpo- rate a service project that would allow for the participation of our attendees and vendors.” In 2017, AASCA’s project was Operation Gratitude. That year, its members put together 2,000 care packages delivered to deployed ser- vice men and women. This year’s project was conducted with Arizona Helping Hands—an organization that provides dream kits for children who are being placed in foster care for the first time and moving into new homes with only the clothes they are wear- ing. The care packages contain toilet- ries, stuffed animals, toothbrushes, shampoo, lotion, hairbrushes and more. AASCA’s members and ven- dor partners donated all the items. “Our quote for this year was from Mahatma Gandhi: ‘The best way to find yourself is in the service of oth- ers,’” Dugan says.

In all, the association’s members assembled 2,400 dream kits. The packed bags filled several trucks.


(Top) AASCA members convened at Marriott’s Camelback Inn in Scottsdale, Arizona, for their annual meeting this year in June.

(Left)During their meeting, members of AASCA put together 2,400 dream kits for foster children in the state.

(Right) Dream kits assembled by AASCA members filled several trucks provided by Arizona Helping Hands.

Arizona Helping Hands has been

providing essential items for the children in Arizona’s foster care sys- tem for more than 20 years. Paul and Kathy Donaldson opened the organi- zation in 1998 under a simple prem- ise: “Do one good deed a day and do not take credit for it.” This was a pledge that Kathy Donaldson made to her dying sister Patty Neroni. The Donaldsons established Ari-

zona Helping Hands to help them perform their good deeds, which have been innumerable over many years of service to Arizonans as they continue to pursue their mission of


one child, one dream, one family at a time. Arizona Helping Hands rou- tinely provides beds, school sup- plies, clothing, toiletries and, in spe- cial instances, birthday presents or dream kits to foster children and fos- ter families in Arizona. In 2017, Ari- zona Helping Hands provided 2,908 children in foster care with a safe place to sleep and 1,782 with birth- day dream packages. “We see every day the trauma caused to children who end up in the foster care system,” says incoming AASCA President Kim Vandeven. “It is important for us to give back to help

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