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Hope springs eternal at local nonprofit helping disenfranchised youth


Much of who we are — and in some cases what we can become — is largely defined by the situation we come to understand as normal as we develop from child to adulthood.

Some call this “the genetic lottery” while others say the American ideal of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” is the law of the land while members of the human race try to keep pace with where we all think we are supposed to be.

But what happens you want more for your child despite your lottery ticket or if your bootstraps don’t have any more holes to lace up?

For some, that’s where the Boys Hope Girls Hope of Arizona effort comes into play.

“Boys Hope Girls Hope of Arizona’s mission is to help academically capable and motivated children-in-need meet their full potential and become men and women for others by providing value-centered, family like homes, opportunities, and education through college,” said Amy Caffarello Boys Hope Girls Hope of Arizona executive director.

“BHGH is a true prevention and opportunity program. BHGH serves youth who have the ability and determination to be successful in school and in life, if provided the support, resources and opportunities to develop their potential.”

Boys Hope Girls Hope of Arizona is at 3443 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix.

The One of 18 affiliates across the United States and Latin America, Boys Hope Girls Hope of Arizona, a 501(c)3 organization, helps academically motivated middle and high school students rise above disadvantaged backgrounds and become successful in college and beyond, the mission statement reads.

Furthermore, the effort seeks to accomplish these goals for those who go through the program:

  • Academic excellence;
  • Service and community engagement;
  • Family-like settings to cultivate youth empowerment;
  • Long-term and comprehensive programming;
  • Faith-based values;
  • Voluntary participant commitment;

Ms. Caffarello points out a majority of those who are BHGH program scholars oftentimes carrying the dreams and aspirations of his or her family — sometimes their community .

“Over 90 percent of BHGH scholars are first generation college aspirants, come from low-income families and are ethnic minorities,” she explained. “100 percent of BHGH scholars graduate high school and 86 percent earn a college degree within six years.”

The Scottsdale Charros are ardent supporters of both public education and helping those in need whereas the group last fiscal year provided a $5,000 grant to go toward efforts at Boys Hope Girls Hope of Arizona.

“I love sponsoring organizations for Charro grants that I know first-hand,” said Scottsdale Charro Dave Westra.
“Especially those organizations that positively impact our youth.”

Mr. Westra explains he saw the meaningful work being done at the nonprofit with his own eyes.

“Two years ago, my wife, our youngest son, and I delivered dinner to the Boys Hope house,” he said.

“One of the BHGH staff members knew my wife and I graduated from USC and she wanted to introduce us to a student who had just received a full-ride scholarship from USC. We hit it off immediately, and my son and I invited him to dinner the following week. We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the student, and encouraging him to take a risk and attend a college out of state to pursue his dreams of making animated movies and video games.”

For 56 years the Scottsdale Charros have been in constant pursuit of improving the lives of Scottsdale residents while preserving the community’s ties to its western heritage.

Turns out, hundreds of thousands of children in Arizona are living in poverty, Ms. Caffarello says.

“There are an estimated 421,000 children in Arizona living in poverty,” she said. “Children living in poverty are five times more likely to drop out of school. Evidence shows students without a high school diploma suffer a multitude of lifelong consequences including lower earning potential and higher risk for incarceration. About 90 percent of low-income, first-generation college students do not graduate within six years.”

But Ms. Caffarello says support from groups like the Scottsdale Charros is vital to those looking to make a positive mark on the world.

“Funds from the Scottsdale Charros directly supports the programming, supplies, transportation, equipment and curriculum delivery in the BHGH Thunderbirds Charities Learning Center,” she said. “Here, youth are helped to complete a quality primary and secondary education while developing leadership and life skills, and are prepared to graduate high-school and then college.”

Ms. Caffarello explains community support is essential for Boys Hope Girls Hope of Arizona to help those who want to help themselves.

“Support from organizations like the Scottsdale Charros is essential for Boys Hope Girls Hope’s ability to operate,” she said. “BHGH is 100 percent privately funded and relies entirely on the community for the support and investments that make our program possible. We are grateful for the support of Scotttsdale Charros and proud to partner with them in helping the youth of our community prepare to be successful leaders.”

Go to bhghaz.org.

North Valley News Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at 623-445-2774 or at tthornton@newszap.com