Promoting Lifelong Adventures for the Developmentally Disabled since 1968
The mission of the Civitan Foundation, Inc. is to provide the Arizona community an accessible, safe and affordable environment while delivering superior life experiences to enhance the quality of life for developmentally disabled individuals of all ages.
The Civitan Foundation, Inc. was established in 1968 in Williams, Arizona as Camp Civitan by a group of dedicated volunteers who wanted to serve individuals with disabilities. Parents and volunteers were driven by the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to experience the unique joy of summer camp – regardless of their abilities.
Camp Civitan continues to be a very beloved program, offering week-long camp sessions throughout the summer, and weekend adventures the balance of the year. More than 750 youths and adults make the annual pilgrimage to Williams, Arizona, which has become a Civitan Mecca, to retreat among the cool pines and participate in a variety of enriching and recreational activities that promote positive self-esteem and expression, teamwork, socialization and healthy living. Along with individual enrichment, camp provides a multitude of exciting once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as marching in the Williams Fourth of July Parade, or traveling to see the Grand Canyon, one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World. They believe that the benefits of a traditional week-long camp experience provide a much-needed respite to families and caregivers and also allows campers to blossom and grow, away from home and family routines. This experience cannot be duplicated in an urban environment.
In 2003, the Civitan Foundation, Inc. brought its programming to the greater Phoenix area in response to an ever-increasing demand for quality, Valley-based programs for individuals with developmental disabilities. Dawn Trapp was hired as its first executive director to lead this new endeavor. She continues to lead Civitan today as its CEO. Under Trapp’s guidance, programming has expanded to include multiple day treatment and training locations for adults and teens; weekly social events; a thriving adaptive food and nutrition program; home and community based services; the Civitan Learning Center; pre-vocational education and employment services and a growing youth volunteer program.
Civitan participants also give back to the community by participating in fundraisers. They recently entered two student teams in the Arizona Private Security Professionals’ Association Annual Bowling Tournament to raise money to assist the families of fallen private security officers who are killed in the line of duty.
July of 2013 brought the most ambitious undertaking of Civitan thus far with the unveiling of its dream maker, Civitan Village. The intent of the village is to remove barriers and open new doors of opportunities for those with disabilities through out-of-the- box program approaches that afford participants real-life experiences. With expert guidance, participants are able to achieve independence, sustainability and entrepreneurship. They are able to fulfill their dream of having a job or maybe building a business, but ultimately a place to come each day with a purpose.
The recently renovated 9100 sq. ft. center at 12635 N. 42nd Street, has the capacity to offer more than 100 adults with disabilities the chance to participate in several different adventures.
A live media department called the Hub, which offers hands-on digital film-making, radio broadcasting, graphic design, website building, social media and “Voices of the Village,” the new Civitan newspaper, which launched last month. Many other day programs around the Valley provide programming where participants may watch movies. At this village, the participants make movies.
A fully licensed commercial culinary kitchen, Civitan Cook-er-y, which is a culinary career and hands-on training center that collaborates with the Arizona Department of Education’s Summer Food Service Program. Together they plan, prepare and deliver more than 25,000 nutritious meals during the summer to hungry community youth at multiple locations. The Cook-er-y also partners with local businesses and other nonprofits to provide nutritious, catered meals and beautiful holiday gift baskets.
A performing stage and arts studio and gallery play an essential role in the lives of participants by promoting self-expression and communication. Civitan showcases and teaches many modalities of the arts. The gallery features amazing masterpieces, everything from recycled to fine art, all for purchase. Those that have the hidden talents to experience life on a live stage, desire to act or do standup comedy are provided a venue and exposure to the performing arts; always focusing on the essential role it plays in building confidence and self-esteem.
SPORTS & HEALTH
They also promote a healthy lifestyle and provide positive peer interactions through inclusiveness in adaptive sporting events. Yoga and Zumba dance fill the room with high energy, building the quality of life and positive health and wellness that tend to be daily concerns of our population. It is their goal to help participants have the opportunities to adopt and maintain healthier habits.
Under Trapp’s focused leadership Civitan Village has been able to ensure these real-life experiences. Employment opportunities are possible every day through community program partnerships such as: Rebuilding Together, Thunderbirds’ Charities and the Arizona Diamondbacks Charities, to name a few. This also includes the hundreds of volunteers who commit their time to making a difference in their community, creating a real people-helping-people model. When you walk into the village you can feel the warmth and true sense of community emanating from its core. It’s a place where both staff and participants want to be.
Civitan is a Latin word meaning builders of good citizenship. Civitan’s vision ebbs and flows with the fulfillment of existing needs and the challenge of meeting new needs in the local community, creating a nurturing environment that provides the support people can count on.
Their number one priority is to remain focused on meeting the needs of, and growing with, their families.
To learn more about Civitan Foundation and the programs it offers, please visit http://www.civitanfoundationaz.org or contact them at (602) 953-2944.