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As hurricane Florence approaches, follow these tips to keep your family safe

Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall on the East Coast by Friday morning. While you prepare to evacuate or shelter in place, here are some helpful safety tips from your temporary housing source. 

      

If you are advised or ordered to evacuate

·         Follow all directions and orders from local officials and leave immediately when instructed to do so.

·         Bring emergency supplies, including: a first aid kit, medicine, food, water, formula and diapers, toiletries, cell phones, radios, and batteries.

·         Take extra cash and copies of important papers such as insurance policies.

·         Pack blankets, sleeping bags, books, and games.

·         Unplug appliances, turn off utilities such as electricity and the main water valve.

·         Lock the windows and doors of your home.

·         Don't forget about your pets! Pack their food, beds, a toy and any meds. 

 

If you are not told to evacuate

·         STAY AT HOME! Leave the roads available for those who must evacuate. If you absolutely must leave your home, NEVER drive through floodwaters. Turn around, don't drown.

·         Clean your bathtub with bleach and fill it with water for washing and flushing (not drinking).

·         Set your refrigerator to maximum cold and keep it closed.

·         Turn off your utilities if told to do so by local officials.

 

During the storm

·         Go to an interior room and stay away from windows and doors, even though they're covered.

·         During very strong winds, lie under something sturdy.

·         Do not go outside, including during passage of the eye of the hurricane.

 

 

CRS is tracking and preparing for Hurricane Florence. Our Catastrophe team is ready to assist both insurance adjusters and policyholders with immediate emergency hotel and housing assistance.

  • We are fully staffed 24/7/365 for immediate assistance.
  • Timely deployment of CRS employees on-site to support adjusters and policyholders.
  • Priority booking with major hotel chains for needs of adjusters and policyholders.
  • Competitive pricing on homes, condos, townhomes, apartments, mobile homes and travel trailers.
  • Capability to provide temporary office trailers for carriers.
  • One point of contact for adjusters and policyholders to minimize confusion.
  • Internal weather tracking so we know where the storm is heading.  
 

800-968-0848    |    request@crsth.com    |   www.crsth.com

 
 

Source(s):

https://weather.com/safety/hurricane/news/hurricanes-safety-during-20120330

https://www.crsth.com/services/catastrophe/

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Home Essentials: How to nail your basic toolkit 

Are you a new homeowner, or maybe new to a temporary home? In either case, you’ll want to have a basic toolkit for minor home repairs. Imagine having to shell out big bucks to a handyman every time you want to hang a picture or adjust squeaky door? So not cool.

The best gift I received when I moved into my first apartment was a stocked toolbox from my dad. Not the housewarming gift I was hoping for, but in the following months and after it’s weekly use, I was in total appreciation of his foresight.

 

So, where to start?

Get yourself to the hardware store, grab a cart and let’s get shopping. Building a good toolkit usually happens over time because it can be costly, but you should start out with some essentials. For about $60, you can build a starter kit. Here are the must-haves:

• Claw Hammer • Screwdriver Set • Adjustable Crescent Wrench • Channellock Pliers • Tape Measure • Level • Carpenter Pencils and Sharpener

Make sure to keep your core set of tools in a toolbox or bag at all times.

 

Ready to add more?

Within six months to a year, you may be ready to expand your toolkit. With a few added tools, you’ll have the means to put up shelves, paint a room, change door locks and more. The estimated cost for adding the below tools will be around $200.

• Utility Knife and Blades • Ratchet Set • Cordless Drill and Drill Bits • Manual Saw Set: Hacksaw and Wood Saw • Stud Finder • Basic Painting Set • Flash Light

 

Having so much fun that you want to try more?

Most hardware stores, especially large national chains like Home Depot and Lowe’s, both host classes and workshops designed to help new homeowners get comfortable with doing their own work around the house, making their own improvements, and fixing their own problems without spending a ton of money on contractors or specialists. For example, Home Depot’s weekly workshops will show you how to do things like install decorative molding, install tile flooring, properly paint interior walls, and more—all things you may never have had to do as a renter.

Lowe’s also has a how-to project center with walkthroughs for common household projects:  Take me there

 
Sources: https://www.fix.com/blog/diy-home-repair-kit/ https://lifehacker.com/where-can-i-learn-home-improvement-skills-1535195959
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Spring ahead and lose an hour of sleep. Whose idea was this?

Do we love to spring ahead or hate it? In a year filled with 8,760 hours, why do we think it’s such a big deal? It’s just 0.01141552511415525% of a year.

Aside from what you may have heard over your lifetime, farmers are not to blame and it was not created by Benjamin Franklin. Daylight saving time was actually first instituted by Germany on May 1, 1916 in an effort to conserve fuel during World War I.

Do we still need it today? U.S. states are starting to decide on an individual basis. The Florida Senate just approved a bill that once they spring ahead on March 11, 2018, they could remain there. The approval means the bill will go to the governor’s desk, but it doesn’t mean the “spring forward” clock change Sunday at 2 a.m. will put the state on permanent daylight saving time.

Currently, states can opt out of daylight saving time to stay on standard time, but cannot make daylight saving time permanent. So, it will be interesting to see what transpires in the coming weeks.

Most areas of the United States observe daylight saving time (DST), the exceptions being Arizona, Hawaii, and the overseas territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands.

Whether you love it or hate, know that it’s a good time to do a few inexpensive, routine updates in and around your home.

1 - Replace the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries.

These alarms save lives! For just a few dollars and minutes of your time, you can economically and quickly replace the batteries and know your family is safer.

2 - Prepare a storm kit for your home and car.

This can be a lifesaver in a power outage or if you get stranded in your car in bad weather. Make sure you have a long-lasting LED flashlight, a reflective vest for walking at night, non-perishable snacks, water and a warm blanket. Go to www.ready.gov/build-a-kit for more detailed kit information.

3 - Check your sump pump.

Spring often brings rain so make sure your sump pump is draining properly. Do not wait until a major snow thaw or rainstorm to find out that the pump’s motor is shot and you have 4” of water in your basement. It’s also a good idea to invest in a backup battery in the event of a power outage.

4 - Inspect the exterior of your home.

Did you just get through a harsh winter? Take a walk around the outside of the house: Are there cracks in the concrete? Is the driveway in good condition? Check the roof for signs of loose or broken shingles. Look up at the chimney for signs of wear. Check the facade and foundation for cracks or signs of water pooling.

5 - Change your clocks.

If you have any clocks in your home that run on batteries, make sure to set them ahead one hour before you head to bed. If you have an older model car like me, make sure to change the clock on your dash as well. Then when you wake it you’ll be on the right track.

As for keeping your body on track, you know that it’s coming, so maybe hop into bed an hour early on Saturday night.

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When decorating your permanent home, embrace big, bold color.

So, you’re preparing to move from your temporary digs back into your permanent home. Congratulations! It’s a much-anticipated event that you’ve been thinking about for a while. If you plan on decorating or painting, why not try something new?

Use color!! Don’t opt out and live in a bland beige and boring world. Humans are more comfortable in spaces with color than in those without. A beige world is underwhelming and understimulating—and that’s stressful.

Small but Mighty

If you’re a little apprehensive and not sure just where to apply your color splash, pick a smaller room and start there. A powder room, foyer or accent wall are the perfect canvas for your first foray into the wonderful world of color.

If you decide to jump in and paint yourself, great! You’ll enjoy the satisfaction of seeing your masterpiece sooner since the smaller area will be completed more quickly.

Where to start?

Once you’ve chosen where to paint, now it’s time to choose the color. Do you have a favorite hue you’d like to see on the walls of your home? Head to the paint store or home warehouse and grab a few swatches. (They are FREE, so grab as many as you’d like). Tape the swatches on the wall that you’re going to paint. Make sure to look at the swatches at various times of day as they will change as the lighting does.

Having trouble making a decision because the paint swatch is so small? Purchase a pint of your chosen color for less than $5 each. Using a brush, paint part of the wall in a larger area to help you decide if you like the color.

Moody Hues

Extensive research on “color psychology” has revealed the special “powers” of particular colors. When making your selection, consider the mood of the room and what feelings you want to evoke.

GREEN > Seeing the color green has been linked to more creative thinking—so greens are good options for home offices, art studios, etc.

RED > Having a red surface in view provides a burst of strength, so reds are good choices for home gym areas, etc. Seeing red has been linked to impaired analytical reasoning, though, making it a bad option for offices.

VIOLET > People link a grayish violet with sophistication, so it can be a good selection for places where you’re trying to make the “right” impression.

YELLOW > Using yellow in a home can be problematic. Many people dislike the color, so if you have a lot of yellow rooms in your home or a yellow front door, you may be advised to repaint to get the best price for your home should you sell. An exception: Many people use yellow in kitchens—with no negative sales repercussions. Yellow may be accepted in kitchens because warm colors stimulate our appetite.

BLUE > People are more likely to tell you that blue is their favorite color than any other shade. That makes it a safe choice. Seeing blue also brings thoughts of trustworthiness to mind; always a good thing.

Be bold and brave and don’t shy away from color. At the end of the day, if you hate the hue you’ve chosen, it’s a simple fix to just paint over it.

 

Sources:

www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/color/10-tips-for-picking-paint-colors www.psychologytoday.com/blog/people-places-and-things/201504/the-surprising-effect-color-your-mind-and-mood https://freshome.com/room-color-and-how-it-affects-your-mood
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Safety tips for during and after a blizzard.

Winter storms can pack a devastating punch bringing not only snow and ice, but by dangerously low temperatures, severe wind gusts, and flooding. These blasting storms can also cause power outages that last for days. They can make roads and walkways extremely dangerous or impassable and close or limit critical community services such as public transportation, child care, health programs, and schools. Injuries and deaths may occur from exposure, dangerous road conditions, and carbon monoxide poisoning and other conditions. We want you to take extra care of yourself and your family during this time. Below are a few safety tips on what to do during and after a major winter storm.

During Blizzards and Extreme Cold

  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule and your route; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
  • If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
  • Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
  • Wear a hat and cover your mouth with a scarf to reduce heat loss.

After Blizzards and Extreme Cold

  • If your home loses power or heat for more than a few hours or if you do not have adequate supplies to stay warm in your home overnight, you may want to go to a designated public shelter if you can get there safely. Text SHELTER + your ZIP CODE to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (e.g., SHELTER20472)
  • Bring any personal items that you would need to spend the night (such as toiletries, medicines). Take precautions when traveling to the shelter. Dress warmly in layers, wear boots, mittens, and a hat.
  • Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

Cold-related Illness

  • Frostbite is a serious condition that’s caused by exposure to extremely cold temperatures.
    • a white or grayish-yellow skin area
    • skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
    • numbness
    • If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care.
  • Hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature, is a dangerous condition that can occur when a person is exposed to extremely cold temperatures.  Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposures to very cold temperatures. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it’s produced. Lengthy exposures will eventually use up your body’s stored energy, which leads to lower body temperature.
    • Warnings signs of hypothermia:
    • Adults: shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech drowsiness
    • Infants:  bright red, cold skin, very low energy. If you notice any of these signs, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95° F, the situation is an emergency—get medical attention immediately.

Carbon Monoxide

Caution: Each year, an average of 430 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, and there are more than 20,000 visits to the emergency room with more than 4,000 hospitalizations. Carbon monoxide-related deaths are highest during colder months. These deaths are likely due to increased use of gas-powered furnaces and alternative heating, cooking, and power sources used inappropriately indoors during power outages.
  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal¬ burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Keep these devices at least 20 feet from doors, windows, and vents.
  • The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock, and fire.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
  • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
  • Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrives to assist you.
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Important wildfire relocation information.

Important wildfire relocation   Experiencing a wildfire can be devastating. Not to mention having to evacuate and not knowing how the wildfire will impact your home, and life for that matter. In our world, we often see and hear of this alongside the first responders and those on the frontlines. While the initial concern is the safety of all involved, secondly, the need to get families temporarily relocated becomes of utmost and dire importance.   Emergency relocation can be a stressful and chaotic scenario. A family needs an immediate place to live while busy claims professionals are tasked to do so quickly. They may often rely on temporary relocation providers to handle and source housing options, especially during a catastrophic event and when there are many policyholders and families to look out for.   Options for temporary relocation after a wildfire can include immediate emergency hotel stays, short and/or long-term housing, commercial property or a fully equipped travel trailer on or near the affected property. The latter can ease the burden of being far away from home and can allow for the homeowner(s) to oversee any construction.   In the event where a large area has been affected, experienced temporary housing companies can deliver these emergency relocation solutions during high-demand times when options may otherwise seem limited. Among other expectations, a relocation provider can use an extensive database of like, kind and quality options no matter the lifestyle; a single homeowner, couple, entire family or business owner.   Providers should also offer a one-stop shop. This will free up the insurance adjuster to focus on handling the claim portion and focus more so on the claim itself. A few options to look for in a temporary housing company:  
  • A knowledgeable service team on hand with 24-hour availability.
  • A point of contact for each stage of the relocation.
  • Access to multiple inventories in different markets.
  • Full coordination of move in, move out and management of services.
  • Flexible billing options and invoicing for claims professionals who may handle multiple accounts.
  • Creative relocation solutions. Does the family need to continue to care for livestock? Are there medical needs? Is there a need for a more high-end solution or a solution for a business owner?
  • Longevity of a provider. A company that has many years in the industry has likely assisted in many catastrophes, large or small.
  There are numerous ways to handle a relocation. While no two are alike, outstanding customer service and provider knowledge should remain consistent.   For immediate assistance and to obtain housing from wildfire damage or loss, provide CRS with your insurance information and claim number (if one has been given to you) and let us handle the rest.  

If you do not have insurance and need housing and rental assistance information:

  Find a disaster recovery center near you - You can text DRC and a zip code to 43362 (4FEMA) to locate a Disaster Recovery Center in your area. https://egateway.fema.gov/ESF6/DRCLocator     Contact your state emergency management agency - https://www.fema.gov/emergency-management-agencies     Locate FEMA participating hotels - femaevachotels.com    
Please reach out for more information or if we can answer any of your questions. We are here to help.
Our thoughts are with you, please stay safe!
 

Adjusters please visit the CRS portal, Call us at 800-968-0848 or email a request to request@crsth.com to submit a housing request on behalf of your policholder.

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Are the upcoming holidays getting you stressed? You can still be jolly and say “No-No-No” this holiday season.

Is thinking about December and the end of the year holidays starting to get you stressed? Join the club!

But, let’s take a step back and maybe not join that ridiculous group. We can make our very own holiday magic by saying “no” more this holiday season. Sound harsh? We don’t need to go full on Grinch, but it might just be worth your while.

Here’s a few things you can, and possibly should, say “no” to this upcoming holiday season.

George Pratt, PhD Psychologist at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla in California

Over-spending

Choose presence over presents. Give and receive gifts with love and gratitude this season but remember that love isn’t inside the box. You can’t prove how much you love someone by giving them a present.

Lack of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season. Try setting a budget this December, and don’t spend more than you’ve planned. It’s okay to tell your child that a certain toy costs too much. Be smart and don’t buy gifts that you’ll spend next year trying to pay off.

Over-committing

As your calendar gets a little crammed between now and the end of the year, decide what really matters to you. Spend time each morning or evening and take a good look at your day. What’s important? What’s not? Just because you have empty space on your calendar doesn’t mean you need to fill it with appointments and obligations.

Don’t say no because you’re so busy. Say no because you don’t want to be so busy. Especially in this busier season of work and holidays, down time is more important than ever. Put on your coziest jammies, make some tea and grab a book and enjoy YOUR time.

Over-indulging

Think about if you really need that 2nd plate or 3rd cocktail. Remember how miserable you were after Thanksgiving dinner? Instead of abandoning the things you know are good for you in the name of enjoying the holiday season, dig in deeper. Sleep 7-8 hours a night and spend more time nourishing your body, heart and soul.

Taking care of yourself should be at the top of your list. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else.

It’s in the quiet moments, and in the white space that you are open to magic. Create that for yourself. Make room for magic, comfort and joy.


 

Sources:

www.bemorewithless.com

www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/tc/quick-tips-reducing-holiday-stress-get-started#1

www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20306655,00.html#stick-with-your-daily-routine

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Fall’s transformation is here, how will you change?

The first day of fall is Friday, September 22

As the leaves begin to fall and the heat of summer fades, we naturally begin to think about how we need to prepare for the changing season. Do we start to replace summer clothes for sweaters, pants, and boots? Is it time to think about putting down the storm windows? When do we move the shovel and salt closer to the garage door?

These are all great questions and items on many people’s lists. But how else can we better prepare ourselves for what else might be coming next?

 

Disasters don’t plan ahead, but you can

As we prepare for fall, we also come to the end of National Preparedness Month (September 2017). We hope that you have thoughtfully taken steps to prepare yourself, your family and your home for potential natural disasters and national emergencies. With the devastation we’ve recently seen with Hurricane’s Harvey and Irma, and the recent earthquakes in Mexico, we know that disaster can strike at any time and any where.

Here’s a checklist to help guide you in making a plan for you and your family:

www.ready.gov/make-a-plan

 

The importance of property insurance

Homeowners insurance not only protects your home, which may very well be your largest investment, but gives you a sense of security. The general assumption is that whatever happens to your home is covered. In actuality, typical perils (causes of property destruction) that are generally not covered are flood damage, earthquake, mold, acts of war and parts of the property in disrepair (including worn-out plumbing, electrical wiring, air conditioners, heating units and roofing). A few of these can be added as separate policies.

Educate yourself on what your policy does and, more importantly, does not cover.

 

Home health

It’s also important to consider your home and how to prepare it for the upcoming colder seasons. Here’s a helpful Home Fall Checklist from our friends at Better Homes & Gardens:

www.bhg.com/home-improvement

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How to keep your home safe while on vacation

The kids are out of school, you’ve got time of work and it’s time to pack for your summer family getaway. You’re all set to go, but is your house ready for you to be away on vacation?

A house or apartment left empty while you’re traveling is a tempting target for criminals. It’s imperative that before you go, take a few key steps to keep your home safe and sound while vacationing. These basic preventative measures, which take just minutes of preparation, can work wonders to help you keep your home safe from power surges, broken pipes, home invasions and more.

— Unplug anything that doesn’t need to stay plugged in, including televisions and computers, to protect them against power surges. This will help you save money as well; many appliances draw energy even when they’re turned off.

— Ask a friend or neighbor to stop by the house randomly (to avoid a pattern or anticipated time) to remove boxes from the doorstep, check the mail, pick up any delivered newspapers and take notices and fliers from the door. Ask them to park in your driveway if they live close by, and  make sure they have all your correct contact information.

You can also place a hold on your mail online at USPS.

house key chain

— Don’t tip off criminals on the web by announcing on social media that you will be leaving your house unattended for two weeks. If the temptation to post is unavoidable, ensure that all possible security measures are in place on all social sites.

— Consider shutting off the water to your washing machine, dishwasher, and toilets if you’re going to be away from the house for longer than a week. This can help prevent nasty, and potentially expensive, shocks when you return.

Another option is to install wireless leak sensors in flood-prone areas like your basement, laundry room, or bathroom, to notify you of leaks before significant damage is done.

— Keep expensive and irreplaceable items such as old family photos, artwork, electronics, and stamp collections off the ground in case of water damage. Store them up on shelves and/or in waterproof containers.

— If you have outdoor furniture, bring glass tables, chairs, and umbrellas inside to avoid wind/storm damage to yard items or the exterior of your home.

— Schedule random light timers throughout your home. This will give the appearance that someone is there and will help to deter burglars and vandals.

— Remove your spare key, that plastic rock isn’t fooling anyone. If a criminal figures out you’re away on vacation, it’s likely that he or she will check your porch for a spare key.

Most importantly, make sure you look all doors and windows before heading off to paradise. Once you've taken these few precautions, travel safe and enjoy your time away, knowing that you're home is fully prepared for you to be gone for a while.

_____

Sources:

http://www.philly.com/philly/business/real_estate/20160724_Vacationing__Tips_for_keeping_the_house_safe_while_you_re_gone.html

Keep Your Home Safe on Vacation: 9 Essential Tips

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Running for Playworks, Because Play Works!

When is the last time you put down your phone or iPad for a few hours and went outside to play, or to volunteer?

At least once a quarter, we at CRS Temporary Housing make it a priority to find a worthy cause to donate our time and treasure to. We call our special

group of volunteers CRS Helping Hands. Employees are encouraged to participate, along with their families, to help these community groups in a myriad of ways.

Playworks Arizona

On Saturday, April 8th, 65 CRS employees and their families, participated in the 5th Annual Run The Runway in Scottsdale, AZ. This one-of-a-kind morning run benefited Playworks Arizona, the only nonprofit organization in the country to send trained, full-time coaches to low-income, urban schools, where they transform recess and play into a positive experience that helps kids and teachers get the most out of every learning opportunity.

The beauty of this annual event is that 100% of race proceeds go to Playworks. Those funds are used to expand their reach to Arizona schools in desperate need of recess and the learning of conflict resolution to help end bullying.

www.playworks.org/communities/arizona  

CRS Helping hands at the Andre House, Larkspur Elementary and St. Mary's Food Bank

CRS Helping hands at the Andre House, Larkspur Elementary and St. Mary's Food Bank

Here are just a few volunteer events that we have participated over the past year:

 

Andre House 

CRS Helping Hands volunteers spent a day in December at the André House, a ministry to the homeless and poor populations of the Phoenix area. Volunteers sorted donated clothing, helped guests select free apparel from the Andre House Clothing Closet and prepared a full dinner for 600 people.

www.andrehouse.org

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Back to School Drive

In August, our school supplies drive collected over 2,000 items for nearby Larkspur Elementary School in Phoenix. That gift of supplies, along with a financial donation, helped to jump-start the 2016 school year for the students at Larkspur.

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St. Mary’s Food Bank  

CRS Helping Hands June event was packing emergency food boxes with non-perishable items, sorting food and repacking bulk produce. Our efforts greatly helped St. Mary’s goal to provide more than 250,000 meals each day to those in our community who need their help the most.

www.firstfoodbank.org

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AZ Humane Society

Over a weekend in April, members of CRS Helping Hands helped make blankets for the sweet fur babies at the Arizona Humane Society and even gave a few forever homes.

www.azhumane.org

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What have you done lately?

Take a moment to think about you love to do and how you can share your time and passion to help someone in need. Whatever your motivation, whether to share a skill, get to know a community or to learn something new, know that both you and the recipient will benefit from your gracious actions. National volunteer week is coming up April 23 – 29, so get out there and make a difference!



www.playworks.org/communities/arizona

www.runtherunwayaz.com

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