Boy Scout Eagle projects help strengthen our community

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Mesa United Way is a long-time supporter of Boy Scout troops in Mesa, where scouting has deep roots in the community that go back many generations. One of the many positive values that Scouts learn and practice is community service. In a recent three-month period alone, 23 Mesa Boy Scouts performed service projects to earn the rank of Eagle.

These service projects are immensely beneficial to our community – in particular the charitable organizations that rely on volunteers to assist people in need. Scouts earning their Eagle rank typically recruit fellow Scouts, friends, family members and neighbors to help with their service projects, which can range from food and clothing drives to significant construction projects. The 23 Mesa Scouts and their volunteer recruits performed an impressive 3,156 service hours.

Here are some of the service projects they successfully completed:

- One Eagle Project organized a backpack drive and a hygiene drive, which resulted in over 120 backpacks and 200 items that were donated to this community.

- Another project to benefit Mesa communities is where a neighborhood near Southern Ave and Harris Avenue was cleaned up and had a common wall painted for an Eagle Project.

- Helen's Hope Chest, an organization that provides clothing and hygiene items to foster and kinship families. was chosen as the non-profit organization to benefit from two Eagle Scout projects this quarter. The first project was to collect school supplies and the other collected dental hygiene products.

- A New Leaf, which serves families and individuals in crisis, was chosen by three Eagle Scouts to be the beneficiary of their Eagle Projects. One project involved the collection of non-perishable food items, while the other used volunteers to collect cases of water bottles. A third Eagle Scout candidate led a drive to collect toys for homeless children served by A New Leaf.

- Newborns in Need was organized to care for sick and needy babies and their families. The Mesa chapter of this organization was supplied quilts and diapers as a result of one Eagle Project.

- Feed My Starving Children is an organization whose mission is closely related and was also the beneficiary of another Eagle Scout Project.

- Two Eagle projects were performed for Save the Family. One Scout recruited volunteers and together they collected school supplies and made kits that were donated to this organization. Another Eagle Scout and his volunteers cleaned up, prepared and painted the home of an at-risk family served by this organization.

 - Several Mesa and East Valley schools benefitted from Eagle projects. Cases of water bottles and healthy snacks were collected for economically disadvantaged students of Sun Valley High School. One Eagle Project recruited volunteers to build fourteen items for students who need help with motor skills at a Mesa Public School. In addition, wooden foot stools were built for the school for another Eagle Project.  Towers and walls were built for use in the marching band field shows at Desert Ridge High School. Playground equipment was built for Meridian Elementary School. The concrete benches at Carson Junior High School received a much-needed new coat of paint. The summer school teachers at Porter Elementary School not only received volunteer hours to assist them, but the Eagle Project also helped to create activities for those students attending.

 - The city of Mesa was the direct beneficiary of three Eagle Projects. One Eagle Scout candidate made a promotional video encouraging light rail use for Valley Metro. Another led a team of volunteers to paint house numbers on curbs. A third project involved cleaning and repainting many of the fire hydrants in Mesa.