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Tucson firms dive in for needy kids

Citizen Staff

A local group home was struggling to find the money to fix its pool, then Jim Weber got involved.



Sometimes good old-fashion neighborly cooperation can accomplish what bureaucracies and government agencies can’t.

Such is the case at the Arizona Children’s Home, a nonprofit agency that takes in children with nowhere else to go, from state and other agencies.

Several volunteers have been giving their time, expertise, effort and the materials to restore the home’s swimming pool so the children living there can have a place to cool off during the hot Tucson summer.

It started when Jim Weber, the owner of Classic Pools, was so moved by the plight of the children there he decided he had to do something to help.

“We got called out there. They had all sorts of problems. They contracted with us to fix up the pool. We were trying to keep the thing going. There was some money issues. We got to talking about the kids and that pool is one of their highlights. We wrote a proposal for them at cost. There were some things they couldn’t get done with the grant money they had,” he said.

Given the home’s money situation, Weber felt he had to figure out a way to get the pool fixed.

“I was sitting at my desk thinking about what to do to help these kids out. Almost every buddy of mine I called was willing to help out. We are going to save them thousands of dollars so they can save their money for other stuff.

“Those kids out there have been through so much, we wanted to do something to help. I was really happy to be able to do something for them. These kids need it. The horror stories these kids have been through, they need something in their lives. It’s wrenching, what these kids went through. My heart bleeds for them. We can always make more money but to be able to do something like this, it is just a little bit of time and a little bit of money. It makes a difference,” he said.

The people who work for and with the home are overwhelmed by the generosity of Weber and friends.

“As a nonprofit agency, whatever we get in kind is very much appreciated,” said Tina Haigh, the director of marketing and communications for Arizona’s Children Associations, which runs the home.

“For Jim to be able to offer the time and the equipment was amazing. All of the children and families we serve are in crisis. We try to give them good things. The pool is one and it was in dire need of repair. The people that come to us need help. Jim was in the right place at the right time. We are always looking for businesses that will take on a community project. It’s wonderful and it is a good example.”

Jim Stewart of Stewart Plastering was one of the buddies Weber contacted.

“Jim called me up and asked me to help. We were just glad to help out. We are glad to be able to give back to the community. It’s good thing to do.”

Leon Tremmel, director of facilities and support services for the home, was equally impressed by the efforts of the volunteers.

“Jim Weber has just been excellent, he has spearheaded the effort. A big part of our kids recreational activity in the summer is the pool, which was in bad shape. Now, it’s going to be a really beautiful pool. A lot of the children we deal with come from really tough backgrounds, people who see them want to help. I know that has been important for Jim.”

Chris Peterson of Apache Pools is another volunteer who readily agreed to help out as did his sons Christopher, 23, and Nicholas, 18.

“Anything to help kids,” Peterson said. “Those kids have nothing. Me and my two sons went and volunteered our labor. My sons were more than willing to help. They’ve had a pretty good childhood and they thought it was a good cause. We are more than happy to be able to give them a hand. Anything to help those kids get a better chance at life. If you can help one it is worth everything.”

Glin Whitehead, the home’s director of inpatient services, says the swimming pool is an important part of the children’s treatment.

“It is sort of a dream for the kids,” Whitehead said of the new pool. “It’s relaxation. It’s therapeutic. It helps take away the anger and allow the kids to be kids.”

Whitehead is also grateful to Weber and the other volunteers for helping the children and providing positive role models.

“We are always appreciate donors. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. It allows us to be able to provide the necessary treatment for the kids. People with good values can pass it on to our kids. The kids do appreciate it. We need many more donors like Jim. To see someone out here helping them is worth a million dollars to these kids.”


Donations to the Arizona Children’s Home made be made online at www.arizonaschildren.org or by calling (800) 944-7611 Ext. 166.


CUTLINE: Aaron Wlicox of Classic Pools Inc. replaces some of the pool plumbing.

CUTLINE: Workers with Classic Pools paint on the cool deck at the Arizona Children’s Home, a nonprofit group home for kids.

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