Article audio is made possible by CAST11 Prescott Podcast Network. A Talking Glass Media production.
Celebrate the best things about your neighborhood at a fun, free event featuring your favorite people – your neighbors!
We’re having a big breakfast party at the Fiesta Ramada at Kiwanis Park on Saturday, March 26, in celebration of Tempe’s neighborhoods and the fantastic people who make Tempe extra special. Get all the details at tempe.gov/neighborhoodcelebration.
People from throughout Tempe have nominated their favorite neighbors, nonprofits, and businesses for a variety of awards. Here are this year’s winners.
Winners: Neighborhood Awards
Chuck Malpede Neighbor of the Year
The Chuck Malpede Neighbor of the Year Award recognizes outstanding service, active involvement and positive contributions to the community over a sustained period of 10 years or more.
Bike Saviours has helped rebuild, redistribute and give new life and love to thousands of bicycles since 2006. They donate bikes to recent immigrants and nonprofits from throughout Tempe, teach people how to maintain or build bikes and volunteer at local events.
Neighbor of the Year
Judy Belkis, Raintree Estates Neighborhood Association
From spearheading clothing and hygiene drives to providing assistance with special needs teachers, Judy does it all. During the height of the pandemic, Judy helped neighbors to get tested and vaccinated for COVID-19, checked on ailing neighbors and more.
Neighborhood of the Year
Warner Ranch HOA GAIN Night event, Brooke Bogart
Brooke has organized the Warner Ranch G.A.I.N. (Getting Arizona Involved in Neighborhoods) event since 2016 and even covers the cost of the party through her real estate business and primary loan officer, Nate Marino. The event is extensive, with activities like bounce houses, pickleball lessons, live music, rescue animals, art, food trucks and gymnastics and karate demonstrations.
Neighborhood Event of the Year
Sunday Feeds, Austin Davis
Through Sunday Feeds, every Sunday, volunteers gather with attendees to serve food and offer resources to those experiencing homelessness. Austin, a current ASU student and Tempe resident, wanted to create a weekly safe haven for people to gather and check in with one another while getting the help they need.
Brick Road Coffee, owners Gabe Hagen and Jesse Shank
Brick Road Coffee opened at the tail end of 2021, amidst the pandemic, and quickly became a neighborhood staple. Brick Road Coffee is a safe, sober space that openly welcomes the LGBTQ+ and sober/recovery communities. They have supported several Valley charities with events, like their “Queermas” tree that collected gifts for LGBTQ+ youth and young adults, their red ribbon campaign for the Aunt Rita’s Aids Walk and more. They also organized a “Coffee with the Candidate” series to connect residents to those running for elected office.
Neighborhood Awards Recognition: Arts and Culture Awards
Travis Furnald – lead singer, Japhy’s Descent
Travis’ efforts to nourish Tempe’s live music heritage prove his energetic spirit. Beyond his work with Japhy’s Descent, he’s hosted more than 12 years of open mics, helped to coordinate music festivals, community events and more.
Mary Ann Kwilosz – Tempe History Society volunteer
Mary Ann’s legacy of volunteerism spans more than 40 years with the Tempe History Society, showing Tempe’s historic houses and helping with Hayden Ferry Days, Tempe 150 Celebration, organizing lunch talks and more.
Matt Dickson – Drawing instructor, New School for the Arts
Matt has not only been an instructor at New School for the Arts and Academics for 15 years, he offers drawing classes to the community. He has curated one of the largest collections of street murals in the Greater Phoenix Area.
Carly Conder – Founder and artistic director for CONDER / dance
Carly is a celebrated performer, educator, choreographer and producer whose contributions generate creative opportunities for artists in Arizona and performance excellence for audiences. Conder /dance Breaking Ground festivals and master classes and Tiny Dance events help focus attention on dance in Arizona.
Neighborhood Awards Winners: Sustainability and Resilience
Beth Dietz and John Penry – Community Climate Livability Project
Beth and John formed the Community Climate Livability Project (CCLiP) to bring community members together to get the word out about how they and others can take actions to address the causes of climate change. These include using renewable energy, conserving water and avoiding carbon emissions in transportation.
Elizabeth represented high school students in the city’s Climate Action Plan process. She also successfully championed an initiative to honor Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the American Farm Workers’ Movement with Dolores Huerta Day in Tempe.
Drink Me Tea Room, owner Melissa Harlan
Drink Me Tea Room is a gluten-free, plant-based afternoon Tea Room where guests enjoy allergen-friendly confections, organic teas and local spirits. The business focuses on sustainable practices. All food waste and paper products are composted and they use biodegradable natural cleaning projects.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity pushes the envelope not only in exploring less wasteful ways of building but doing it while addressing the affordable housing crisis and shaping best practices for future scaling and impact. The nonprofit successfully used an emerging building technique to 3D print an affordable house.
Neighborhood Awards Winners: Water Conservation Awards
Water Wise Landscape – Resident
Sonja Branch – Shafer Residence
Sonja is a very low water user, while also maintaining a desert lush outdoor landscape. She sustains several trees, shrubs, wildflowers and plants with the re-use of gray water and by contouring her landscape to harvest the rainwater in the soil.
Water Wise Landscape – Business
Jones Studio demonstrates excellent horticulture maintenance and design standards. Their office building is designed to capture over 19,000 gallons of rainwater annually, which is used to water its landscape plants.
Neighborhood Awards Winners: Dolores Huerta Scholarships
Dolores Huerta Day, which takes place on April 10 annually, celebrates the civil rights leader who has fought for labor rights and social justice for more than 50 years. Seniors at Tempe high schools compete for $1,000 scholarships based on community organizing, leadership development, civic engagement or policy advocacy. The scholarship is sponsored by Chicanos Por La Causa.
This year’s winners are Sadie Goldman (left) and MiMi Harris (right.)
Read more stories from the Phoenix Area on Signals A Z.com.