Thunderbirds volunteer to help community organizations
Volunteers from Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Ariz., worked at the Phoenix Zoo, a Habitat for Humanity construction site, an inner-city middle school, and the Children’s Angel Foundation during the summer 2008 edition of ThunderCares Day July 26.
The projects were organized by the Thunderbird Student Government Community Outreach Committee for the day of service and are held three times a year. More than 40 students and staff members divided into teams at sunrise and went to work.
“Making a living is important,” said community outreach chairman Joseph Vias. “But making a difference is a bigger concern for Thunderbirds.”
Andrew Borches, an MBA student from Virginia, had the job of disassembling the tattered bed used by the zoo’s 150-pound Andean bears, Willy and Rio. As Borches removed woven fire hose straps from a framework of logs, zoo guests peered into the exhibit looking for bears.
“No bears today,” Borches said. “Just Thunderbirds.”
Across the Valley in Surprise, another team of Thunderbirds laid tar paper on the roof of a home under construction for a single mother and her three children, ages 11 to 15.
Currently, the Banda family lives in a one-bedroom apartment with a small kitchen and living room. The mother sleeps in the living room, the youngest child sleeps in a closet, and the two older children share the bedroom.
When Habitat for Humanity finishes the house near 83rd Avenue and Cactus Road, the property will be financed through an affordable loan and sold to the Banda family at no profit.
Michael Lindsay, a student leader from Phoenix who helped coordinate the day of service, put on his work gloves and grabbed a hammer as classmates climbed a ladder onto the roof. Lindsay said Thunderbird attracts business students from around the world with an interest in developing global citizenship.
“Business needs nonprofit, and nonprofit needs business,” Lindsay said. “To be successful, you can’t have one without the other.”
Habitat for Humanity volunteers each get a chance to sign their names and write messages on the houses where they work. Charles Reeves took a felt tip marker and thought for a few seconds before adding a few words to the home’s frame.
“May you always do for others, and may others do for you,” he wrote above his name.
A ThunderCares project at a third site involved sorting back-to-school clothing donations at Phoenix Preparatory Academy. More than 96 percent of students at the middle school near Chase Field in downtown Phoenix are minority, and many qualify for free and reduced-price meals.
Thunderbird volunteers also sorted donations in Phoenix at the Children’s Angel Foundation, the fundraising arm for all Hacienda Healthcare facilities and programs. The foundation pays for patients of low-income families to go on excursions, purchases specialized equipment not covered by health care plans and obtains toys, games and clothes for patients.
“Everybody is looking to make a difference,” Vias said at Thunderbird Commons, where he coordinated the volunteers and passed out bright orange T-shirts. “You can’t just be interested in business without helping the people. And you can’t just be interested in helping the people without building the infrastructure. You need a combination of both.”