My journey started around 2007, just before the burst of the economic bubble that financially devastated the Phoenix metropolitan area that we live in, and with it trickled down the unfortunate debilitating environmental consequences to neighborhoods in which we live. Less city services meant either take personal ownership and find volunteers to help refurbish an already older degrading neighborhood, or live with blight and the bad things that follow when living in an undesirable area. Foreclosures were rampant, properties were abandoned and many properties became less cared for rentals. I always instilled upon my children the need to give back and volunteered with them to help uplift our local community by pitching in with neighborhood clean ups and revitalization projects and trying to find ways to connect with our neighbors that may not speak the same language, but have the same values.

My focus shifted around 2013 to my son's high school band organization - the band director was wonderful, the program was promising, but the funding was just not there. Funding for AZ public schools after the recession were and still are hovering around the bottom in the U.S. and charter schools being all the rage of the state government are getting tax breaks and benefits. Getting involved with the band's nonprofit organization to raise the money needed to keep the program afloat and thriving became my mission, and in doing so introduced me to likeminded people that also have the dedication and passion to give their time to make sure the students have the opportunity to benefit from all the positive elements of an education in music and the beneficial life skills that come with it.

Once this chapter closes, I am sure there will be other causes to champion. The need is so great and the causes so many. But I know one thing for certain - it will be my mission to do whatever I can to be an instrument for the change I want to see in this world, generated from a place of kindness, compassion and respect for one another.