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United Way urges teens to volunteer

PHOENIX -- Summer is a great time for kids to learn the importance of volunteering.

Janet Garcia is the Vice President of Community Impact for the Valley of the Sun United Way. She recently spoke with some teenaged volunteers.

"I asked them if they enjoyed what they were doing, and their response was 'Well it's a lot better than sitting at home being bored,'" Garcia said.

Volunteering can make kids realize that they can make a difference in other people's lives.

Garcia said if the parents join in, it can be quality family time.

"When parents volunteer together, it's a great bonding opportunity," Garcia said. "The kids see their parents modeling and it can be a whole lot of fun."

Garcia said the Valley of the Sun United Way has a great way for teens to volunteer this summer by reading to smaller children.

"On our website, we have our million minutes volunteer reading challenge," Garcia said. "You can go on there and find places to read and sign up to log your minutes and help us reach our million minute goal."

The goal is to have teens and other volunteers read to smaller children for one million minutes this summer.

You can volunteer for the program at Valley of the Sun United Way.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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