Branch Meeting – January 2020
STEM – Fulton Elementary Robotics Club
Lori Ruff, Robotics Coach, Chandler Unified School District Community Education
Although the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) studies has been discussed for a number of years, girls still often face challenges to overcome barriers in public schools in STEM fields. Lori Ruff is the Robotics coach for CUSD Community Education. A retired engineer with 28 years’ experience, she now teaches Intro to Robotics and Competition Robotics to students in grades 4-8. She also coaches competitive elementary, middle school and high school robotics teams through her educational robotics company.
With a goal of inspiring girls’ interest in STEM studies, Ruff coaches her students’ participation in competitive robotics challenges that build confidence while promoting technical, presentation and communication and teamwork skills.
As the first generation in her family to go to college, Ruff worked hard at her studies and career. Her varied experiences taught her “being an engineer is fun.” So when the Fulton principal wanted to offer more hands-on science with a focus on robotics, Ruff stepped up to the challenge of structuring the program to share that fun while teaching valuable skills that build confidence.
Ruff’s first group of 16 had just four girls. “About half of college-educated people are women, but only one-quarter of those are in STEM fields,” Ruff noted. “I work to inspire girls’ interest in STEM. The girls I am teaching now are going to be the problem-solvers of their generation.”
Participants learn about gears, friction and simple machines as they design and build motorized devices as competition entries in local, regional and national robotics contests. Last year one of her teams brought home an award from a national competition.
“If you have a STEM background, talk to your local schools and get involved,” Ruff urged. “Be role models. Girls today need that.”
Branch Meeting- November, 2019
Reimagined–Women’s Health Interventions
Ada Anaeme, PT, MHS, Director for Rehabilitation
Dignity Health – Arizona East Valley Hospitals
Physical Therapists use their musculoskeletal and educational skills to evaluate and treat female clients, and patients promoting and enhancing their pelvic health and quality of life (QOL) throughout the life span. Now a full-time administrative leader at Dignity Health’s Arizona Division , Ada Anaeme has gained more than 30 years of experience as a physical therapist in her native Nigeria, England and Michigan before moving to Arizona two years ago.
Anaeme believes that “at the center of patient care lies the patient, who should always be the absolute focus of attention,”by bringing attention to the role of physical therapy in treating a subject sometimes couched in embarrassment – women’s pelvic dysfunction ranging from incontinence and overactive bladder to pelvic pain, prolapsed organs and more.
Noting these problems can affect all ages of women (and men, too), Anaeme said “a lot of women struggle with it and it’s always hidden.” But with her attitude of “knowledge is power,” Anaeme aims to shed light on treatments for these “life-altering problems that can cause anxiety, depression and pain.”
Urging women to add physical therapy to the standard options of medication and sometimes surgery, she said physical therapists can pursue behavioral, education and physical solutions for pelvic floor issues. She passed along her advice for those suffering from these conditions:
“Don’t accept the problem as normal, tell your doctor about your pelvic floor issues, and ask to see a pelvic floor physical therapist.”
“PT is a non-invasive, conservative approach,”Anaeme said. “It’s low cost and low risk. Consider it as a first step, not a last resort.” –Report by Debra Austin
RESOURCE LIST: Female Pelvic Health & Dysfunction supplied by Ana Anaeme
The American Physical Therapy Association
Women’s Health Resource Directory
Section on Women’s Health
Arizona Physical Therapy Pelvic Floor Provider Directory
The International Pelvic Pain Society
The National Vulvodynia Association
US Pain Foundation
American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology
American Urogynecologic Society
National Association for Continence
National Lymphedema Network
International Continence Society
Branch Meeting-October, 2019
Chandler Unified School District Bond Issue — Explained
CUSD Chief Financial Officer
Due to illness, our scheduled speaker cancelled her presentation. Lana Berry, Chief Financial Officer, Chandler Unified School District , kindly stepped in at the last minute to discuss the 2019 Bond Issue, voters are currently considering to approve.
Berry started with a brief lesson on how public education is financed in Arizona. The Arizona Legislature includes in their yearly budget a certain dollar amount for education but funds are short or non-existent for Capital Improvements, thus the District needs to submit a Bond Override Issue for voters’ approval.
Chandler continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in Arizona and the second largest district in the state. CUSD is projected to add 300 students a year for the next several years to the current 45,000 students. In order to continue to provide an excellent education and maintain low teacher-pupil ratio, bond monies will be applied to additional classrooms, related furniture, technology and equipment. Proposed Capital Improvements outlined in a distributed Fact Sheet included: $225,500,000 for Construction, acquisition, additions and/or improvements to new and existing schools. $25,000,000 for Purchase of air conditioned buses. $31,750,000 for Purchase of technology, furniture, equipment and miscellaneous, school furnishings. $8,000,000 for Construction, acquisition, additions and/or improvement to new and existing administrative facilities including technology, furniture and equipment.
Berry shared the many academic accomplishments of the CUSD including a four-year graduation rate of 92.2% and answered many questions about education finances and administration issues in Arizona. The projected bond tax rate in fiscal year 2018-2019 will be approimately the same as last fiscal year .
Ballots were mailed October 9, last date to mail in ballot is October 31, and Election Day is November 5. The CUSD District Office located on 1525 W. Frye Road is a polling site.
Branch Meeting-April, 2019
The Impact of Humor and Joy in Our Lives
Dr. Nancy Yeaman
Psycholgist & Comedienne
Dr. Nancy Yeaman, a clinical psychologist of 30 years, is in private practice in the East Valley. She provides treatment for a variety of conditions including anxiety, depression, chronic pain and brain injury recovery using a strategic way to improve coping strategies and mood management skills. Yeaman strives to help people develop a more positive mood and outlook on life. She believes that “laughing more is living better.” Utilizing her skills as a comedienne and author, Yeaman has emphasized how laughter strategies will help people heal, realease endorphins, counteract anxiety and increase the immune system.
Yeaman encouraged us to have a ‘fun plan’ every week rather than wait for fun to happen spontaneously. She introduced us to a ‘silly’ bingo game in which members had to interview each other to fill in the squares to win silly prizes. Moving about the room, asking each other silly questions was a great mixer and relief from sitting quietly in our chairs.
Branch Meeting-March, 2019
Artistic & Education Outreach Programs
Michelle MacLennan, General Manager,
Chandler Center for the Arts
Chandler Center for the Arts, is located in on Arizona Avenue in Chandler, and is jointly owned by the City of Chandler and the Chandler Unified School District. The Chandler Center for the Arts functions dually as the home theater for Chandler High School and the arts center for the City of Chandler.
Michelle Mac Lennan joined the Chandler Center for the Arts in 1999 and became the General Manager in July of 2014. She also serves as the President of the Chandler Cultural Foundation. Michelle was recognized as a 2006 fellow with the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust which honors the top non-profit executives in Maricopa County. She is the immediate Past President for the Arizona Presenters Alliance a consortium of arts presenters that bring artistic programs to rural communities in Arizona. She was recognized by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of the 30 Outstanding Women in Business in 2016.
The Chandler Center of the Arts is celebrating its 30th Anniversary as the only collaborating organization model in the country in its joint function with Chandler Unified School District. 100,000 students have participated in the joint art program and over 1000 events have been offered to the public. A new project has been launched with a $106,000 grant to broaden the impact of the Center on the community. A survey of 11,000 past and current audiences changed the marketing focus from printed flyers to 77% digital and specific marketing by type. ‘Not everything to everybody’. These changes have resulted in a 45% increase in attendance. There will also be physical renovations in the property and greater promotion of learning and educational assessment of current programs. As transportation is difficult for Title I schools, the Center will go to the schools. The community is welcome to utilize the Center’s website ChandlerCenter.org to find out about these innovations, upcoming community events and volunteer opportunities.
International Dinner 2019
A Personal Reflection
by Margaret Noser
This writer attended the annual International Dinner on February 18, 2019, at Palo Verde Country Club with the expectations of a good meal, congenial conversation and an interesting speaker. Co-Chairs Marylou Remley and Pat Noack selected a menu offering three entrees giving diners a nice choice. Table seating and a good turnout of members and guests provided great social opportunities.
While the first two expectations were enjoyed as expected, I then found myself transported back into an undergraduate lecture hall in the 60’s as Colin Tetreault, ASU College of Sustainability, made his presentation on ‘Equality’. Tetreault used a relaxed speaking style of moving about the room and involving the audience, encouraging them to ask questions. However, he changed focus abruptly many times making it difficult to follow his reasoning: history of Phoenix, Haiti, past presidents’ impact, brief history of Arizona starting at the Civil War, air quality, equality directly related to income. Perhaps if I could have seen the slides projected high up on a side wall outside of my range of vision, I would have been able to track him better. The next day reviewing my written notes and preparing to write a news article, I realized I had nothing cohesive to report.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised by my ‘flashback; as Tetreault labels himself “Executive Hippie” on his business card!
Branch Meeting-January, 2019
Arizona’s Foster Children Get a Helping Hand
Dan Shufelt, CEO, Arizona Helping Hands
Arizona Helping Hands, a non-profit organization was formed in 1998, and has served tens of thousands of needy children; providing essential needs to boys and girls in foster care in Arizona. Besides basic needs, this largest Arizona program also fulfills birthday dreams and a Holiday Toy Drive.
Dan Shufelt, a long time resident of Arizona, has experienced great benefits through the satisfaction of helping others. His whole family including children and grandchildren have been involved and see the importance of charitable work. He is eager to share their experiences on “changing a life.”
Currently there are 15,000 Arizona children in the foster care system (birth to 21 years) served by: licensed foster homes, group homes, and family relatives. Although Helping Hands serves all of these groups, Shufelt shared many touching stories of grandparents finding themselves suddenly in positions of raising young children. Families come from all over the valley. In 2018, 3338 new children beds & cribs Including all bedding were distributed. Holiday Toy Drive’s first year served 50 children; in 2018, 6500 children. The Birthday Dreams program has grown to 2800 in 2018; an opportunity for a child to have a special day.
Helping Hands has corporate sponsors but the biggest support is the AZ Foster Children Tax Credit. Ninety cents of every dollar goes to services. In nine months they have reached 2/3 of their $3 Million Capitol Campaign goal allowing them to move into their new 18,000 sq.ft. warehouse facilities in November 2018.
Branch Meeting-November, 2018
Empowering Independent Living
Ann Marie McArthur, CEO, About Care
About Care is a non-profit organization that delivers compassionate support services using insured trained volunteers with special concern for elderly and physically challenged residents of Chandler, Gilbert and Queen Creek. About Care’s free support services include transportation, shopping and errands, respite care, case management, friendly visits, reassurance phone calls and minor home repairs.
Ann Marie McArthur, hired by About Care as the Executive Director/CEO in October, 2008, has lived in Chandler Arizona for more than 35 years. Prior to working at About Care she served as the Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of Arizona. McArthur explained that the goal is to encourage and enable independent living by assisting our neighbors to continue living in their homes with self-respect and independence. Of the 469 clients currently being served, 85% are women. Volunteers pick and choose the services they want that fit with their schedule.
Branch Meeting-October, 2018
AZCEND: Helping People Move from Crisis to Stability
AZCEND, founded in 1966, is a nonprofit that helps people move from crisis to stability and ultimately to prosperity through comprehensive services including a food bank, early literacy programs, and emergency assistance. Trinity Donovan has worked in nonprofit leadership positions for the past 19 years focusing on hunger and homelessness, early childhood, senior programs, financial stability, domestic violence, and youth development. Donovan also served two terms as a Council Member for the City of Chandler. A graduate of Chandler High School, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and a master’s degree in Sociology – both from Stanford University.
The AZCEND program has grown over the years in size and services offered to transform lives.
–Food Bank: Over 16,537 food boxes enough to feed 61,496 people for at least 3 days. Client participation on average is 4-6 times a year. Hunger impacts many aspects of people’s ability to work, to learn, to function.
–Meal Delivery: 68,361 meals served to senior centers in Chandler and Gilbert. Also home delivery which allows seniors to remain in their own homes.
–Childhood Literacy: Child/Parent programs for 3 to 5 year olds, meeting for two hours, twice a week. Coordination with other community programs such as STEM. Encourage parents to take additional classes in parenting.
–New expansion in Gilbert, bringing medical and financial services including thirteen funding sources to assist with rent and utilities to avoid homelessness. Case Managers are available to teach skills to manage unplanned events.
–Homeless Services: able to serve up to 25 men/women a dinner & a bed each night. Also helping clients find housing, get a lease and structure paying bills on time to encourage financial stability. The faster a client gets placed, the less likely to become long-term homeless.
–The organization is over 1000 volunteers strong providing 32,000 hours of service. Lots of reward as clients are ‘able to graduate’ into independence. Always need volunteers; more information go to AZCEND.org.
Branch Meeting – April, 2018
Water Management in Arizona
Arizona Department of Water Resources
Jeff Tannler’s responsibilities include water resource planning, policy development, water rights administration and staff oversight for the five Active Management Areas (AMAs statewide). Tannler began work with ADWR in 1988 in Tucson AMA office. Water is always an important issue in the desert, but water rights have been in the headlines almost daily. And as we found out in March, the Arizona Legislature is currently debating many ‘water rights’ bills.
Tannler shared a wealth of information and statistics on the complex condition of Arizona’s water. He reviewed the history of water conservation and control in Arizona; sources of water (groundwater, surface, reclaimed); and types of needs (rural, urban, tribal, wildlife). Uses of surface water includes municipal 21%, industrial 5%, agricultural 74%, tribal 32%, wildlife .6% . He also outlined the Groundwater Management Act which attempts to control severe groundwater depletion; set mandatory conservation requirements; develop an assured water supply program. Various factions with strong differences of opinion including adjourning states, at times has ended in state legislatures and the courts.
Branch Meeting – March, 2018
Making a Difference for Arizona’s Environment
Sandy Bahr, Director
Grand Canyon Chapter, Sierra Club
Sandy Bahr is an advocate for environmental protection and has worked actively on Arizona issues for the past twenty-seven years, both as a volunteer and as staff for various organizations. She is a familiar face at the Arizona legislature and state and federal agencies. In addition, she is responsible for conducting research, developing and implementing priority projects, fund-raising, budget development and supervising staff.
Bahr reported that water is key issue in the Arizona Legislature this year with a bill to weaken cultural resources and develop state control of the water program. Currently Arizona has five active water management areas with controls on use of ground water; however, outside those areas there is no control. For example Mohave County has huge issues on water use for agriculture including crops that are shipped to other countries. The battle between developers and farmers often ignores the needs of preserving water for rivers and wildlife.
Bahr encouraged members to speak out on environmental issues using their right to speak on legislative bills. She reviewed the process of a bill becoming a law and the frequent use of ‘striker bills’ in which committee hearings are eliminated and a previously ‘dead’ bill is passed without public comment unless citizens are ever vigilant .
International Dinner, 2018
American Citizenship: The Elusive Dream?
A full house of members and guests (including 20 husbands) experienced a stimulating evening on February 19, 2018, at the Palo Verde Dining Room for the annual International Affairs Event. Dinner was delicious, the decorations colorful and the featured speaker was outstanding.
Josh De La Ossa, spoke on “American Citizenship: The Elusive Dream?“, in a competent, non-partisan way about what is currently happening with the immigration issue, based on his own experience in this field as a lawyer. He carefully presented the history of immigration and its impact on current struggles and confusion. He also outlined the difference between regular immigration and the current refugee program which has its own set of problems. De La Ossa’s use of concrete examples made complicated issues easy to grasp, and cut through the rhetoric.
Kudos to the Committee of Holly DeVinck, Marcia Wagoner, Gail Jones and Sharon Gale, for organizing this very successful evening . As an additional bonus, Sharon Gale raised $200 for the Local Scholarship Fund with the sale of her colorful cards.
Branch Meeting -January, 2018
Women’s Health in the Trump Era
Jodi Liggett, VP for Public Affairs
Planned Parenthood Advocates
Jodi Liggett is Vice President for Public Affairs of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, a 501(c)4 for organizing, lobbying, election support and voter education. Liggett has been involved in Arizona goverment for years, and most recently served as senior policy advisor for Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. She has a continuing role as Chair of the Phoenix Women’s Commission. She has been a good friend of AAUW for many years.
Founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger was a nurse who endured jail time 101 years ago to ensure women’s reproductive rights. Contraception was illegal for much of our lives and required a ruling by U.S. Supreme Court even for a married couple to use it. Republicans used to believe in pregnancy prevention. Peggy and Barry Goldwater were supporters of birth control. Title X – family planning education through contraception was passed and promoted by President Richard Nixon.
However, for the past twenty years, Republicans have passed multiple restrictive laws to weaken Planned Parenthood and deny women the ability to make their own health decisions. Numerous Medicaid women in rural areas use Planned Parenthood for their complete health care because it is the only clinic available for miles yet several clinics in Indiana were closed due to elimination of state funding by then Gov. Mike Pence. Gov. Ducey prevented state employees from setting up automatic payroll donations to Planned Parenthood. Many laws are eventually ruled unconstitutional by the courts but the taxpayers pay the price… in attorney fees…$2 million in five years.
The Trump administration is actively attempting to repeal Title X; Trump appointees are pushing abstinence for family planning, which does not work particularly for the young. These attacks on women’s reproductive health resulted in 8000 new Planned Parenthood supporters in the first year of Donald Trump’s administration. Every supporter is needed as the attacks continue in states across the country.
Ways to Get Girls Involved in STEM Women have been involved in the sciences and engineering for decades but not always recognized in the public.
- Let Them Dream Need to encourage curiosity, Need to focus on science and math in the elementary grades.
- Teach Them How to Explore Kitchen science is often their first introduction to science (needing baking powder for cookies to rise)
- Experience It Together Show them that you are engaged because it is important.
- Start Early. Multiple experiences, repetition. Show them that this is “fun”