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As Work Progresses, Time Out for Fundraising for House of Refuge

The latest update on the Class of 2019’s efforts to renovate the Community Center at House of Refuge has a ribbon cutting in its sights. Class leader Phillip Young credits the wealth of talent in the class and among their contacts for the progress and quality of work. While a specific date has not been set, it’s likely the end of March/beginning of April will be the target.

“We’re currently ahead of schedule, and are well underway in hanging and mudding drywall in the center,” Young said. “We’ve really been blessed with talent in this class — Jared Malone is our architect and general contractor, Christine Lance’s husband George has experience in the trades, Andrea Bruggeman’s husband is a handyman — all of these are extremely valuable in completing this project with quality and expertise.”

Young also has experience as a painting contractor, and he said that all along the way, people have been receptive to helping the class out. “As soon as we say it’s for the House of Refuge, the response is, ‘Sure – what can we do to help?'” he said.

Of course, money is a resource that is essential to any successful project, and the Class of 2019 organized a fundraiser Saturday, February 23 at Eastmark’s Handlebar Diner. Guests of honor were Police Chief Ramon Battista, Fire Chief Mary Cameli and 6th District Councilman Kevin Thompson. Although a chilly evening for the outdoor venue, spirits were warm and a 50/50 raffle and silent raffles  helped the event to net more than $1,000 toward supplies and labor to complete the project.


House of Refuge Fundraiser: Dining with Dignitaries

The Class of 2019 has been making amazing progress on their project for the House of Refuge in Mesa’s east valley. The nonprofit assists homeless families in crisis with transitional housing and supportive services to lead them to self-sufficiency. Theclass is focused on renovating their community center.

Their efforts need funding, so we’re hoping you’ll join us for a private, intimate dinner, at East Mark’s Handlebar Diner on Saturday, February 23rd, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Meet and mingle with Mesa’s Fire Chief Mary Cameli, Mesa’s Chief of Police, Ramon Batista, and Councilman Kevin Thompson of Mesa’s District 6, to benefit the House of Refuge.

Get more Information and buy tickets, which can place you at the same table as the honored guests,  on Eventbrite.

Ticket prices Includes a complete dinner (Appetizers, entrée, 3 sides, non-alcoholic beverage and dessert) Participate in a silent auction and raffle at the Dinner.

Learn more about the class project here!

Annual Christmas Party Details Announced

Mesa Leadership Training and Development

We’re excited to announce our annual Holiday Party will again take place at the Mesa Arts Center, providing an intimate venue to reconnect with alumni, current class members and friends. This year, plan on joining us on Wednesday November 28 from 6 – 8 pm in the MAC’s Brown Sculpture Courtyard, in the lower level.

This year’s theme is “An Evening With the Stars” and promises to be an enjoyable evening to put you in the spirit for the upcoming Holiday season!

All alumni and one guest are invited provided you RSVP to Shannon Heinze.

Class of 2019 Project, First Fundraiser Announced

Every year, each graduating class proclaims it’s the “best ever,” and the class of 2019 is working hard to gain their place for such a title.

House of Refuge Mesa

Already well underway at selecting House of Refuge as the focus of the annual class project, the class also announced its first fundraiser to supplement their individual and collective efforts to raise money. The goal will be to fund the renovation of one of the buildings on the House of Refuge campus as a Community Center, accordingto Project Leader Phillip Young with University of Phoenix. He explained that the project requirements, class talent and planned work on the site were a perfect storm to execute the project.

“We really hit the jackpot,” he stated. “We have in our class an architect (Jared Malone). But we also are coinciding this project with planned updates to the building’s sewer lines. In addition, the buildings are all constructed with their load bearing walls to the exterior, which really allows us to open up the space.”

Mesa Leadership fundraisingThe first organized fundraiser will be held Saturday, December 1 from 7:30am – 12pm at New Life Assembly of God, 314 W. University Drive in Mesa. Donations of goods are welcome by contacting the Class of 2019.

As walls will be torn down, they will also upgrade the plumbing inside, and provide amenities that are ADA compliant. Current fundraising goals are $15,000 from the class , but they are also hoping for in-kind donations from places like Home Depot to provide needed supplies.

Additional details and contact information can be found on the Class of 2019 website.


Your Chance to Get Involved in Making a Difference in Mesa

Two annual events that focus on improving the City of Mesa, neighborhood to neighborhood, are returning at the end of October, and Mesa Leadership is hoping to make its presence known.

So many of our alumni say that the best part of their experience in Mesa Leadership was in realizing just how many nonprofit organizations impacted the City in varied and amazing ways. Each year on the 4th Saturday of October (the 27th of this month), cities across the nation like Mesa celebrate Make a Difference Day. If you would like more information, contact Bryan Goodwin, Citywide Volunteer Program Coordinator at 480-644-3705 or

Even better, we are forming a Mesa Leadership team to take on a local project; when you sign up together and you will be joined by over 1500 volunteers in more than 50 Love Your Block projects across the City of Mesa. Examples of service projects include painting walls and curb numbers; cleaning up parks, alleys and canals; distributing neighborhood resource bags and helping residents who need assistance with painting and landscaping. Two of our new class members have agreed to be the point people in forming the team, so if you would like Mesa Leadership to make a strong showing, please contact Philip Young at, or Andrea Blazier at Thanks to both of these classmates for stepping up!

The second event, held on the same day (October 27) is Latino Town Hall. The Mesa Mesa Association of Hispanic CitizensAssociation of Hispanic Citizens presents the Latino Town Hall annually. Please don’t let the title mislead you – EVERYONE is welcome to attend the Saturday, October 27 event, with workshops, speakers and the opportunity to learn more about your community and grow. The Mesa Latino Town Hall is a one-of-a-kind event in the East Valley that has received in-kind and financial support from a cross section of organizations in our community including, but not limited to, Mesa Community College, Mesa Public Schools, City of Mesa, SRP, Mesa Arts  Center, The Arizona Republic, among others.

Tickets can be purchased online and cover the 7 a.m. – noon schedule of events. You may also reach out to Lucy Lopez at with any questions or to obtain tickets. If you choose to attend, PLEASE share your thoughts and your photos with us – we’d love to share it in a future newsletter!

The positive impact you have on your community is up to YOU! We hope to see you there!

Ribbon Cutting Planned for Mesa Veterans Resource Center

Mesa Leadership Class of 2018’s project to be unveiled Friday April 27

After many months of planning, collaboration with the City of Mesa, Mesa Community College and the Veterans Resource Center, the Reflection Garden project is ready for its debut. A ribbon cutting has been scheduled for Friday, April 27. The Center is located at 165 N Centennial Way, Suite 101.

An Open House will also be held at 7:30 to 9:30 am, with the Ribbon Cutting at 8:00 am.

The class of 2018 of the Mesa Leadership Training and Development program decided on this space to landscape and improve to provide a quiet space for veterans to find a moment of peace during stressful times. It’s also a place where comrades can sit together and share moments of conversation.

“It’s been an honor in so many ways to be a part of this,”  said Brian Lawson, MVRC Director. “I’m proud of Mesa Leadership as an alumni, and chair of Recruitment in bringing together a fantastic group of students who took on this project and ran with it. To also experience it as the Director and witness what it will bring to our veterans’ overall experience is all the more rewarding. We truly live in an amazing community.”

Mesa Veterans Resource Center help veterans with a centralized location in Mesa that offers one-stop resources in a safe environment with whatever issues our veterans may have. They assist with employment, soft skills training, resume assistance, benefits claims, health care, transportation, workshops, homelessness and mental health to name a few.

“We owe so much to these men and women who have served us, and it’s heartwarming to see the community and Mesa Leadership serve them,” Lawson added.

A New Year in Mesa Leadership is Coming – Will You be a Part of It?

Applications for Mesa Leadership Training and Development’s class of 2019 have been open, but sometimes it takes more than just reading a description on paper to understand the impact taking part in a class can have.

So, we’re excited to announce TWO opportunities to learn more about what’s involved with Mesa Leadership! Monday, April 30 and Wednesday, May 2 are our Open House days at the Mesa Veterans Resource Center from 6-7pm. Bring your questions – there will be alumni, board members and likely a few ready-to-graduate students on hand to give you the answers.

We’d like to boast a little…government leaders, educational leaders, nonprofits and law enforcement officials have all grown through the experience of Mesa Leadership. You will learn a ton about the City of Mesa and its partners. Even if you’ve called the city home for decades, many will tell you it’s an eye-opening experience that has led them to opportunities simply by meeting these leaders through tours or by in-class presentations.

Of course, there’s homework….but it’s what makes the classes so special. We mentioned we’ll be meeting you at the Mesa Veteran’s Resource Center, which is a great location, but it’s also the scene of the latest class project. Read more about it. Imagine what the collaborative efforts of a class that includes YOU can bring to Mesa!

Actually, don’t just imagine it. Do it – we look forward to meeting you Monday or Wednesday! Got questions? Contact recruitment chair Brian Lawson at for any questions on the application prior to the event.

You can also get a glimpse of what a class (this one is from our 2017 graduates) enjoys throughout its 9-month term here:

2019 Leadership: Will You be a Part of It?

Applications are now available for Mesa Leadership Class of 2019

Alumni have called their experiences in Mesa Leadership classes as an excellent Mesa Leadership Mary Cameliopportunity to get to know Mesa more deeply, and make an impact on the community they love so well. They have collectively impacted the Boys and Girls Club, Mesa Arts Academy and other schools, and currently will be changing the lives of Veterans at Mesa Veteran’s Resource Center.

What will your impact be….your legacy? You may never know until you take the bold step to apply for the 2019 Mesa Leadership Training and Development class. Applications are now available, and we encourage you to make the decision early. Deadline for the class applications is May 15, but we hope you take the time to carefully consider what you would like to learn from the class, as well as what talents you will bring to the group, and apply early.

If you’re not sure, you are encouraged to explore our website, visit us on Facebook, or contact us with any questions. Our alumni of 700+ includes council members, Vice Mayors, CEOs, state officials and other heads of companies. We’d love to welcome you into such an awesome company of community and corporate leaders.

Raising a Glass to Raise Funds for Veterans Resource Center

Four Peaks Brewing Co. steps up in a big way to help Mesa Leadership’s Class of 2018

The Mesa Leadership Class of 2018 has been making their mark with their spirit of cooperation and unity, and this has carried into the planning for their class project, which involves a Reflection Garden at the Mesa Veteran’s Resource Center. So far, the class has raised $15,000 to landscape and pave the garden, which is designed to be a place of quiet for veterans who may be struggling, or just in need of calm and peace.

The class approached Arizona’s own Four Peaks Brewing Co., which responded with a generous offer to help fund the project. Now through February 19, Four Peaks will donate $1 toward the Reflection Garden when you buy a pint of Pitchfork Pale Ale, at any of their locations in the Valley, up to $5,000.

Mesa Leadership Four Peaks

The Veterans Reflection Garden is a plaza that will be located adjacent to the Mesa Veterans Resource Center at 165 N. Centennial Way in Mesa. The garden will also provide a space for veterans groups to gather, host events and increase public awareness of veterans’ issues.

“When we heard the garden was in need of funds, we knew we had to help,” the company said in their blog. “So we’re ‘pitching in’ the best way we know how: By selling beer. From January 19 to February 19, we’re donating $1 from every pint of Pitchfork Pale Ale sold at bars across the Valley—up to a maximum of $5,000—to the project.

“Supporting our veterans through the creation of this garden was a no-brainer for us,” said Four Peaks founder and head brewer Andy Ingram, whose father served in the U.S. Air Force. “Whether they’re friends or family, everyone knows a veteran who deserves a space like this to relax.”

In addition, there will be a happy hour celebration at Four Peaks’ 8th Street brewpub at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19.  They will be hosting the class and other volunteers and donors who’ve collaborated  to help make the reflection garden a reality. The public is also invited to attend, and thank this group for their efforts.

Want to donate to the project but prefer to skip the suds? No problem. Just visit the Veterans Resource Center donation website.

Welcome to the 2017 Class

The 2017 Mesa Leadership Class is filled with talented, energetic citizens. I know they’ll have a fantastic year and do great things for our community.

Jared Archambault
Mara Benson
Polly Bonnett
Larry Burke
Sare Burke
Justin Cardwell
Lori Chaplin
Lindsay Deitch
Jennifer Dennison
Sabine Ellis
Talona Felix
Kelly Hammer
Wallace Haws
Nicholas Kenny
Denise Konkol
Justin Krehbiel
Tracy Langston
Dustin Loehr
Deb McLean
Danny Ray
Ivan Smith
Marilyn Stromsness
Leanne Thomson
Terry Valerio
Dan Walker
John Zielonka