All posts by Kelli Donley
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Restoring Hope..

November 18, 2014 No Comments 7

It’s 7pm on a warm school night in Phoenix. Teenagers, some with backpacks full of homework, others with hands full of snacks, stream into a nondescript building in the central corridor. Their conversations and laughter carry. It’s common teenage stuff: boy bands, high school gossip, crushes, the stress of school work. Yet they are gathering, as teens have for decades, not to eat pizza or go bowling but to be the ear for others who may be in trouble. Teen Lifeline, created in 1986 by a local behavioral health provider, took more than 12,600 calls last year—with most coming from Arizona kids. The calls are answered by peers—teen volunteers who have completed extensive training before taking their first call. “Our goal is to help inform the caller,” says Nikki Kontz, clinical director for the organization. “If they are considering running away and living on the streets, we discuss the legal consequences so they make informed decisions. We are helping callers understand they aren’t living in a vacuum; there are consequences to decisions. We want the caller to understand the larger issue and empower to make the healthiest decision. We also always encourage seeking help from a healthy adult in their life. Sometimes this is the parent, sometimes not.” Teen Lifeline took more than 12,600 calls last year—with most coming from Arizona kids. One quarter of the calls received deal specifically with suicide or self-injury. However, Kontz says, all calls are considered suicide prevention because of their mission to help callers make good choices. Kontz is passionate about her work at Teen Lifeline—and for good reason. “My sophomore year in high school, I lost a close friend to suicide,” she says. “I saw the devastation it caused in our social circle. I went to a Catholic school and the way of handling it wasn’t effective or empathetic. Luckily, I...

It’s 7pm on a warm school night in Phoenix. Teenagers, some with backpacks full of homework, others with hands full of snacks, stream into a nondescript building in the central corridor. Their conversations and laughter carry. It’s common teenage stuff: boy bands, high school gossip, crushes, the stress of school work. Yet they are gathering, as teens have for decades, not to eat pizza or go bowling but to be the ear for others who may be in trouble. Teen Lifeline, created in 1986 by a local behavioral health provider, took more than 12,600 calls last year—with most coming from Arizona kids. The calls are answered by peers—teen volunteers who have completed extensive training before taking their first call. “Our goal is to help inform the caller,” says Nikki Kontz, clinical director for the organization. “If they are considering running away and living on the streets, we discuss the legal consequences so they make informed decisions. We are helping callers understand they aren’t living in a vacuum; there are consequences to decisions. We want the caller to understand the larger issue and empower to make the healthiest decision. We also always encourage seeking help from a healthy adult in their life. Sometimes this is...

It’s 7pm on a warm school night in Phoenix. Teenagers, some with backpacks full of homework, others with hands full of snacks, stream into a nondescript building in the central corridor. Their conversations and laughter carry. It’s common teenage stuff: boy bands, high school gossip, crushes, the stress of school work. Yet they are gathering, as teens have for decades, not to eat pizza or go bowling but to be the ear for others who may be in trouble. Teen Lifeline, created in 1986 by a local behavioral health provider, took more than 12,600 calls last year—with most coming from Arizona kids. The...

It’s 7pm on a warm school night in Phoenix. Teenagers, some with backpacks full of homework, others with hands full of snacks, stream into a nondescript building in the central corridor. Their conversations and laughter carry. It’s common teenage stuff: boy bands, high school gossip, crushes, the stress of school work. Yet...

It’s 7pm on a warm school night in Phoenix. Teenagers, some with backpacks full of homework, others with hands full of snacks, stream into a...

It’s 7pm on a warm school night in Phoenix. Teenagers, some with backpacks full of homework, others with hands full of snacks, stream into a nondescript building in the central corridor. Their conversations and laughter carry. It’s common teenage stuff: boy bands, high school gossip, crushes, the stress of school work. Yet they are gathering, as teens have for decades, not to eat pizza or go bowling but to be the ear for others who may be in trouble. Teen Lifeline, created in 1986 by a local behavioral health provider, took more than 12,600 calls last year—with most coming from Arizona kids. The...

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A Charitable Lifeline..

August 26, 2014 1 Comment 9

“It felt too good to be true,” says Jennie Duvernay, a Phoenix librarian. “I mean, I’d just given the donation in December and there it was on my tax return. All $200.” Duvernay participated in Arizona’s Charitable Tax Credit Law (ARS43-108) in 2013 after hearing about the program through a friend’s post on social media. “I felt a little guilty that it was so easy. It was just a temporary loan to the organization,” she says. Duvernay, who has 14 nieces and nephews, researched school districts in poorer neighborhoods of Phoenix to benefit from her donation. The state’s tax credit allows individuals to give up to $200 to qualifying organizations annually. The donation, as of 2013, no longer needs to be itemized. Additionally, the donation counts toward federal taxes— although not as a credit. Married couples can give up to $400 per organization. When filing single or married there is a cap of donating to three qualifying organizations (listed here) per year to receive the full tax credit on your state taxes. This system is a no-brainer for those who want to help the community. “I gave $200 to the school district, and got $200 back a bit later,” Duvernay describes. “This year I need to find other organizations to support too. This system is a no-brainer for those who want to help the community.” Her one complaint about the process? When researching the school districts, the wealthier districts appeared at the top of Internet searches. The poorer districts often didn’t have the ability to accept an online donation. This angered Duvernay. “That made me cringe,” she says. “I felt like the rich could easily get richer. I wanted to help the kids who needed it most.” After contacting the school she wanted to support, she ended up sending a check. According to officials at the Arizona Department...

“It felt too good to be true,” says Jennie Duvernay, a Phoenix librarian. “I mean, I’d just given the donation in December and there it was on my tax return. All $200.” Duvernay participated in Arizona’s Charitable Tax Credit Law (ARS43-108) in 2013 after hearing about the program through a friend’s post on social media. “I felt a little guilty that it was so easy. It was just a temporary loan to the organization,” she says. Duvernay, who has 14 nieces and nephews, researched school districts in poorer neighborhoods of Phoenix to benefit from her donation. The state’s tax credit allows individuals to give up to $200 to qualifying organizations annually. The donation, as of 2013, no longer needs to be itemized. Additionally, the donation counts toward federal taxes— although not as a credit. Married couples can give up to $400 per organization. When filing single or married there is a cap of donating to three qualifying organizations (listed here) per year to receive the full tax credit on your state taxes. This system is a no-brainer for those who want to help the community. “I gave $200 to the school district, and got $200 back a bit later,” Duvernay describes. “This year I need...

“It felt too good to be true,” says Jennie Duvernay, a Phoenix librarian. “I mean, I’d just given the donation in December and there it was on my tax return. All $200.” Duvernay participated in Arizona’s Charitable Tax Credit Law (ARS43-108) in 2013 after hearing about the program through a friend’s post on social media. “I felt a little guilty that it was so easy. It was just a temporary loan to the organization,” she says. Duvernay, who has 14 nieces and nephews, researched school districts in poorer neighborhoods of Phoenix to benefit from her donation. The state’s tax credit allows individuals to...

“It felt too good to be true,” says Jennie Duvernay, a Phoenix librarian. “I mean, I’d just given the donation in December and there it was on my tax return. All $200.” Duvernay participated in Arizona’s Charitable Tax Credit Law (ARS43-108) in 2013 after hearing about the program through a friend’s...

“It felt too good to be true,” says Jennie Duvernay, a Phoenix librarian. “I mean, I’d just given the donation in December and there it...

“It felt too good to be true,” says Jennie Duvernay, a Phoenix librarian. “I mean, I’d just given the donation in December and there it was on my tax return. All $200.” Duvernay participated in Arizona’s Charitable Tax Credit Law (ARS43-108) in 2013 after hearing about the program through a friend’s post on social media. “I felt a little guilty that it was so easy. It was just a temporary loan to the organization,” she says. Duvernay, who has 14 nieces and nephews, researched school districts in poorer neighborhoods of Phoenix to benefit from her donation. The state’s tax credit allows individuals to...

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7 Ways to Ensure Food Security in Our Community..

July 22, 2014 2 Comments 5

The other day I received a newsletter from the Association of Arizona Food Banks. The statistics listed rattled me—a reminder that it is good to use the tiny bit of soap box power I have to discuss this increasingly serious social issue. One in five Arizona adults is hungry, and the rate is even higher for kids—one in four. In other words, they do not know where their next meal will come from. This means some 1.17 million people in our state are living meal-to-meal. Seniors. Babies. The working poor. That’s a lot of folks, and it is easy to be overwhelmed. A few simple ways you can help with food security in your community— regardless of where you live: 1. Find a local food bank and volunteer. Do what they need most. Maybe it is marketing, or sorting shelves. Maybe you are a great writer and can help with grants. 2. When you grocery shop, make a habit of buying an extra jar of peanut butter and can of tuna. These are inexpensive staples that are always in need. 3. See if your state hunger association has a tax credit program. In Arizona, you can donate up to $400 to AAFB and get the full amount back toward your state taxes. So, you give $400 to them and the state essentially matches it. Win/win. 4. Plant a garden. Find a place to donate a bit of your harvest. Produce is a luxury for families used to eating out of food boxes. 5. Consider keeping staples in your car to distribute, in lieu of money for homeless folks. These bags may include a bottle of water and a granola bar. 6. When you go out to eat, box up half of your meal for the guy sitting on the corner. Or—take it home and don’t be wasteful. Only...

The other day I received a newsletter from the Association of Arizona Food Banks. The statistics listed rattled me—a reminder that it is good to use the tiny bit of soap box power I have to discuss this increasingly serious social issue. One in five Arizona adults is hungry, and the rate is even higher for kids—one in four. In other words, they do not know where their next meal will come from. This means some 1.17 million people in our state are living meal-to-meal. Seniors. Babies. The working poor. That’s a lot of folks, and it is easy to be overwhelmed. A few simple ways you can help with food security in your community— regardless of where you live: 1. Find a local food bank and volunteer. Do what they need most. Maybe it is marketing, or sorting shelves. Maybe you are a great writer and can help with grants. 2. When you grocery shop, make a habit of buying an extra jar of peanut butter and can of tuna. These are inexpensive staples that are always in need. 3. See if your state hunger association has a tax credit program. In Arizona, you can donate up to $400 to AAFB and get the...

The other day I received a newsletter from the Association of Arizona Food Banks. The statistics listed rattled me—a reminder that it is good to use the tiny bit of soap box power I have to discuss this increasingly serious social issue. One in five Arizona adults is hungry, and the rate is even higher for kids—one in four. In other words, they do not know where their next meal will come from. This means some 1.17 million people in our state are living meal-to-meal. Seniors. Babies. The working poor. That’s a lot of folks, and it is easy to be overwhelmed....

The other day I received a newsletter from the Association of Arizona Food Banks. The statistics listed rattled me—a reminder that it is good to use the tiny bit of soap box power I have to discuss this increasingly serious social issue. One in five Arizona adults is hungry, and the...

The other day I received a newsletter from the Association of Arizona Food Banks. The statistics listed rattled me—a reminder that it is good to...

The other day I received a newsletter from the Association of Arizona Food Banks. The statistics listed rattled me—a reminder that it is good to use the tiny bit of soap box power I have to discuss this increasingly serious social issue. One in five Arizona adults is hungry, and the rate is even higher for kids—one in four. In other words, they do not know where their next meal will come from. This means some 1.17 million people in our state are living meal-to-meal. Seniors. Babies. The working poor. That’s a lot of folks, and it is easy to be overwhelmed....

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