Metamorphosis at South Mountain

Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, Phoenix South Mountain

Chad Ingram, Meagan Hawk, Major Guy Hwk, Lt. Loreen Petzing and Rachel Utrera along with the music school participants and instructors [Photo by Denise Hawk]

One day in the not too distant future, the Phoenix South Mountain Corps Community Center will change its name, becoming The Salvation Army Phoenix South Mountain Ray and Joan Kroc Center. Corps Officers Majors Guy and Denise Hawk, and Assistant Corps Officer Lt. Loreen Petzing, are the leaders, taking care of present needs and preparing for the future.

Since 1968, the center—located in the heart of South Mountain—has served the community, reaching out to people of all ages, with a special focus on youth. The current facility sits on 12 acres and is approximately 43,000 sq. ft. Its metamorphosis—the transformation to a 130,000 sq. ft. Kroc center—is unique. Unlike other Kroc centers that are built from scratch, the South Mountain location will enlarge and enhance existing programs and introduce new ones—a testament to the impact of The Salvation Army in this community and its potential to reach out to even more people.

Southwest Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Doug Danielson said: “For 40 years, the South Mountain Corps Community Center has provided programming to meet the spiritual, physical, educational and social needs of the people of the South Mountain area. With the completion of the Phoenix Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center at South Mountain, scheduled for the first half of 2012, the program will be able to expand tremendously to meet the growing needs of these people with whom the Army has a long and honored tradition of service. Young people that participated in the programming of the center over many years, are now returning as adults to assist with the development of the Kroc center, giving back to their community in gratitude for what was given to them.”

The Phoenix South Mountain Kroc Center will embody the best of The Salvation Army’s service and mission focus for the 21st century: promoting wellness, encouraging excellence, building character, inspiring faith, and maintaining commitment to community. It will offer something for everyone through education, recreation, worship and the arts in an environment of safety and trust.

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KROC think tank

They came from all over the West—some 30 professionals convened for a one-day “think tank” program meeting for the future Phoenix Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. Under the leadership of Majors Guy and Denise Hawk and facilitated by Sports Management, one of the consultants on the project, the participants spent an entire day dreaming of programs that support the five tiers of the center’s mission—spiritual (congregational life), the arts, education, sports, and wellness.

At the center’s groundbreaking held earlier this year, then Territorial Commander Commissioner Philip Swyers announced that over $11 million had been raised for the center, through the support of more than 700 donors—surpassing the interim goal of 70 percent of the overall $15 million community goal.

The center is bringing more than 400 jobs to South Phoenix—50 percent of these jobs are in the depressed building industry. When it opens in late fall 2011, the Kroc Center will provide more than 195 full and part-time positions.

The Salvation Army’s current facility in South Phoenix opened in 1968 on 12 acres, with about 43,000 sq. ft. The new center will be about 130,000 sq. ft., with additional sports utility fields, and will offer services and programs for people of all ages, focusing on the arts, education, spiritual guidance and wellness.

Phoenix KROC is Building Up and Enlisting Soldiers!

As the bulldozers noisily break up earth and the concrete is poured for a brand new, state of the art KROC Center at the Phoenix South Mountain Corps Community Center, the work continues as normal. In fact, it is flourishing! Even though part of the building is missing, last month the South Mountain Corps enrolled eighteen new Junior Soldiers from the surrounding community. These children were not waiting for a water slide or a climbing wall to get involved. They wanted to dedicate their lives to God right away. Though in a transition phase, the Corps was glad to bring them in.

Most of the new Junior Soldiers are from a local school where the South Mountain Corps has a steady presence. Taking a whole Saturday, usually a precious day to a school child, the kids came over to the Corps and received lessons, played games, memorized Bible verses, and learned everything they needed to know to become a Junior Soldier in The Salvation Army. After excitedly showing off their uniforms during a Sunday ceremony in front of the church, the kids were officially enrolled by Commissioner Knaggs at the Southwest united soldier’s meeting. As these kids seek to live their newly learned Promise, it is evident that the Lord is working in the lives of young people at Phoenix South Mountain, even when everything is being torn up around them!

Community kids enjoy free instrumental instruction

More than 30 young people from the Phoenix community spent five weeks in an intensive music school at The Salvation Army Phoenix South Mountain Corps Community Center this past summer. Classes included theory, rhythm, vocal choir, strings, piano, percussion and brass. Students presented a final concert on a Sunday morning. Special guest that weekend was Chad Ingram, director of the Salem Kroc Center music program, who testified to the power of music as a positive force in his life. “It brought me stability in a time when everything around me as a young teenager seemed to be disruptive and ever-changing,” Ingram said. Majors Guy and Denise Hawk had been Ingram’s corps officers in Riverside (Calif.) and enrolled him as both a junior and senior soldier.

Many of the participants’ families attended the final concert. “I’m so proud of my daughter. She has accomplished a lot in such a short time and loves the guitar,” said Trisha Tamalius, mother of Devin, one of the student musicians.

Junior band ministry

The saying, “There is no junior Holy Spirit,” is taken seriously by the youth at the Phoenix South Mountain Corps. Every month, the corps bandmaster, retired Major Joe Utrera, packs up the instruments and his junior band members to conduct their monthly worship ministry at La Estancia convalescent senior residence.

“It’s important that the young people know that they have a testimony to share. One way to share it is by using their talent,” said Utrera. The band often plays old hymns familiar to most of the residents, along with leading a prayer and offering a short devotional thought.

Every year, the corps’ junior band participates in many community events, including the annual Thanksgiving feast and Easter parade.

Microsoft hosts a party

Microsoft is a huge company—and when it comes to gift giving, they give big as well.

The Microsoft store at the Fashion Square Scottsdale Mall hosted a party, inviting young people from the Phoenix South Mountain Corps to come to the store for a full day of fun and giveaways. The kids were able to get their hands on all of the latest games and gadgets. They spent the entire day at the store, enjoying refreshments and anticipating the grand prize drawing. The lucky ticket holder, Rachel Luna, went home with a brand new computer, printer and plenty of Microsoft programs.

The store employees were very supportive, engaging the kids and teaching them the importance of Internet safety.

A great time was had by all.

Educational opportunity

High school is tough enough when you’re a teenager, but try going back when you’re in your 40s!

That’s what Mauricio did. He came to the U.S. with a degree in computers from Mexico City. But when he applied for a job in the states he learned that his education was not valid—he needed a high school diploma.

He was in luck because the Phoenix South Mountain Corps Community Center had just launched a GED completion program. Partnered with students and staff from Arizona State University, The Salvation Army helped five adults of different ages and backgrounds successfully complete a five-month course designed for those wishing to complete their high school equivalency certification. As an added incentive to finish the course, South Mountain Advisory Board Chair Ted McClue sponsored the students, paying for the expensive final exam.

Compiled by Karen Gleason from material submitted by Major Denise Hawk and Matthew Downs


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