The History of Arrowhead-West Phoenix, Arizona, Alumnae Club
As the population of Phoenix continued to spread westward, it was decided that a second Pi Beta Phi alumnae club could be founded. The Arrowhead-West Phoenix, Arizona, Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club was chartered on November 4, 2000. Seven women attended the chartering ceremony. These seven women were Stacy Accomazzo, Gerralyn DeMayo, Cecelia Hendrickson, Anne Levig, Carol Skinner, Judith Stern and Kay Trammell. Of these seven women, Anne Levig and Cecelia Hendrickson are still members today. 31 Pi Beta Phi members soon joined the club and are considered charter members. Of these 31 women, ten women are still members of the club 16 years later! These ten women have been the backbone of the club as they established close friendships, served many philanthropies, created new projects and made the Arrowhead-West Phoenix, Arizona, Alumnae Club the strong club that it is today.
This club has sent a representative member to each national convention. These conventions re-energize the members to continue to strive to strengthen their club and to reach out to the communities in which they live. The members of the club work hard at projects but also have great fun together. There have been meetings with costumes, famous Christmas sweaters, Game Days, Fashion Parody Fashion Show and Dr. Seuss Birthdays. Functions have been held with husbands included. Founders' Day and Panhellenic luncheons are still held. A very popular event is sharing the Monmouth Duo gatherings with the Kappa Kappa Gamma alumnae members.
The Arrowhead-West Phoenix, Arizona, Alumnae Club celebrated the alumnae club’s 15-year anniversary in 2016. The club will continue to add new members, work together to build a strong club and remember to cherish the gift of friendship with the club’s Pi Beta Phi sisters.
Not surprisingly, literacy has been an important focus of the Arrowhead-West Phoenix, Arizona, Alumnae Club. The club first worked with the Head Start program of young children, and then Links to Literacy was adopted. Many volunteer hours were spent at the schools. The Arrowhead-West Phoenix, Arizona, Alumnae Club still has a strong literacy tie to the local elementary schools.
As part of the national Pi Beta Phi Literacy initiative, the club is sponsoring a Little Free Library (LFL) for the Thompson Ranch Community in El Mirage. The LFL movement began in 2009 with the mission “to promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and build a sense of community as they share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.” The guiding principle of the LFL is, “Take a book, read a book, return a book.”
The LFL was installed in late October, 2016, in the Thompson Ranch subdivision just north of Thompson Ranch Elementary School in El Mirage. The LFL is stocked with books for all ages contributed by alumnae club members. Members take turns monitoring the LFL and restocking books as needed. It is the club’s hope that the residents of this community will expand their reading horizons and they will introduce all ages from very young children to older adults to the joy of reading.
The club has organized some amazing projects to support the club’s local community, including gathering contributions for a West Valley food bank, supporting the Victim Advocate Unit of the Surprise, Arizona Police Department, gaining approval to set up a Little Free Library in a local neighborhood and creating Angel Caps+. At the club’s November, 2015 meeting, they collected over 100 pounds of food to donate to the new Valley View Community Food Bank, which supports communities in the West Valley.
For the second year, the club has gathered a multitude of Teddy bears and other species of stuffed animals, children’s socks, snacks and juice boxes to donate to the Victim Advocate Unit of the Surprise, Arizona Police Department. This unit provides emotional support to victims and may refer them to counseling agencies or support groups. They watch children as detectives interview their family members and also provide victims with food, clothing and other items. The Unit functions during a sensitive time in children’s lives, and the entire Arrowhead-West Phoenix, Arizona, Alumnae Club was eager to give “Bear Hugs” to help them support these children.
The club’s Angel Caps+ project has been highly successful. In January of 2016, Sun City West was chilly outside, but it was “sunny” inside Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center! With loving hands and warm hearts, the club’s members donated baskets full of hand-knit baby caps, booties, receiving blankets, onesies and diapers for newborns. This project was successfully coordinated by club members and hospital volunteer coordinators. The second phase of Angel Caps+ was a March project where club members decorated baseball caps to add to 50 additional knitted baby caps for Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Grateful children will wear the ball caps following treatment at the hospital. Tiny babies go home with a treasure knitted by a Pi Beta Phi Angel.
Angel Tea is the club’s yearly fundraiser to support literacy and other philanthropic efforts throughout the year. The alumnae members encourage all local Pi Phis to attend and invite their friends to join in a wonderful High Tea while supporting literacy, Angel Caps+, the Food Bank and Bear Hugs.
Arrowhead-West Phoenix, Arizona, Alumnae Club has been able to identify great needs in the club’s local area and has found the programs where the club’s contribution can help alleviate some of these needs. In a very small way they are each helping to make a difference. Because of this, there has been wonderful enthusiasm and support from all the club’s members, community leaders and local media.
Awards and Club Recognition
- Club of Excellence (2005, 2007)
- Club of Superior Performance (2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
- Excellence in Community Service (2015)
- Excellence in Communication (2005, 2008)
- Regional Literacy (2005)
- Spirit Award (2015)
Emma Harper Turner Award
- Anne Siren Levig, Region Six (2014)
Evelyn Peters Kyle Angel Award
- Kathie Erickson Bridges, Region Six (2013)
- Emily Robinson Kunde, Region Six (2008)