People With Special Needs Drive This Thrift Store

PHOENIX (January 30, 2018) – Most thrift stores have a sameness to them: they sell used clothing, furniture, books and kitchen items and the like. The workers you meet in these shops are generally volunteers and very nice, and the stores most often raise funds supporting not-for-profit organizations. This would be your typical thrift store in the Phoenix market.

However, there is a store which offers something different. Flerish Design and Resale is a thrift store, too, but the workers who greet you at the door have special needs. The store is one of the training centers for the Civitan Foundation, which provides a variety of vocational, recreational and educational services for the developmentally disabled.

At Flerimember Cathy Bernardo and coach Modena Barclay - FLERISH REV 2sh, located at 12621 N. Cave Creek Road in Phoenix, Civitan “members” have job coaches which help them with tasks. These tasks may include instruction on how to properly take inventory, fold and hang clothing, where to put items, as well as how to properly greet a customer and being timed in how long it takes to carry out some of these tasks. In addition, while the members are working at Flerish they are being paid by Civitan.

A major part of the Civitan Foundation’s mission is to provide the highest level of vocational skills, matched to each participant’s individual goals and aspirations. Programs are structured to showcase the member’s talents, while they earn fair compensation for the skills they have worked hard to learn. Currently, there are more than 140 weekly shifts of Civitan members working at Flerish.

Civitan strives to develop programs which help developmentally disabled individuals build confidence and life skills to enrich their lives and live more independently. Other vocational programs offered through Civitan include: Janitorial and custodial, fleet vehicle interior and exterior cleaning, light grounds keeping, clerical and reception, and food services and catering.

Flerish Design and Resale may be like most other thrift outlets by connecting community donated goods with sustainable shoppers, but we’re different. Not only does this store help fund Civitan programs, it also provides and promotes employment opportunities for people with special needs.

Learn more about the programs and services of the Civitan Foundation, as well as Flerish Design and Resale at


Civitan Receives Grant From Walmart for Summer Meals Program

Arizona non-profits receive $170,000 from Walmart Foundation

Grants support local organizations working to address hunger, homelessness, veterans’ services & related issues in their communities

 PHOENIX, Arizona (Feb. 6, 2018) – Today, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation proudly announce the donation of $170,000 to six charitable organizations across Arizona. These grants recognize and support local non-profit groups working to meet the needs of the underserved and positively impact Arizona communities.

“As one of Arizona’s largest private employers, we consider it our responsibility to give back to our communities – and that includes supporting outstanding philanthropic organizations working hard every day to make Arizona a better place,” said Paula Ginnett, Walmart vice president and regional manager in Arizona. “We are grateful to these groups for dedicating their time and talent to worthy causes that create opportunity and improve quality of life for our friends and neighbors. Walmart will continue to be a proud partner in their efforts.”

The recipients of Walmart State Giving grants include three organizations in the greater Phoenix area.

  • Civitan Foundation, Inc., based in north Phoenix, is a nonprofit that provides innovative programs and services aimed at educating and empowering Arizonans with developmental disabilities. Civitan’s $30,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation will help support its Hunger Relief and Transitional Employment program, which delivers free, USDA-approved meals and snacks to low-income children in north Phoenix during the summer, while providing career training and employment to individuals with developmental disabilities.

“Thanks to this generous grant from Walmart, Civitan is able to expand our culinary program for our members and increase the number of meals we can provide to children who often go hungry when school is not in session,” said Dawn Trapp, CEO, Civitan Foundation.

  • Military Assistance Mission’s receipt of $40,000 will help support the organization’s GI Gap Grant – a program that was created to financially assist active duty and Reserve service members as they transition into college or a trade school after military service.

“It is important to Military Assistance Mission that Arizona heroes can focus on the next chapter of their lives, versus worrying about how they’re going to pay for basic needs or feed their families,” said Margy Bons, CEO, Military Assistance Mission. “We are pleased to partner with Walmart in helping our service members further their education as they transition to civilian life. Their commitment and patriotism will benefit generations to come.”

  • Operation Welcome Home AZ has received $25,000 to support Welcome Home Veterans Park, a 7.7 acre park located in the Town of Gilbert which will serve as a place of reflection, healing and inspiration to veterans, their families and the community.

“We are so grateful for Walmart’s generosity. Their contribution will help veterans and their families get the resources they need for healing,” said Lisa Rigler, President of Operation Welcome Home. “There is no better way to teach youth gratitude and patriotism than to introduce them to a Veteran. Operation Welcome Home Veteran’s Park is a remarkable opportunity for us to connect the community to our Veterans and to begin to understand the price of freedom.  This site will be hallowed ground for every American.”

The Walmart Foundation supports organizations by awarding grants that have a long-lasting, positive impact on communities across the U.S. This most recent round of grants brings the total amount in awarded to Arizona non-profits by the Walmart Foundation in 2017 to $630,000.

In 2016, Walmart stores, Sam’s Clubs and the Walmart Foundation awarded $28 million in cash and in-kind donations to Arizona charities, including 15 million pounds of food donated to local food banks, which is the equivalent of 12.5 million meals. For additional information on Walmart’s economic impact in Arizona, please visit

 About Philanthropy at Walmart 

By using our strengths to help others, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation create opportunities for people to live better every day. We have stores in 28 countries, employing more than 2.2 million associates and doing business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. We are helping people live better by accelerating upward job mobility and economic development for the retail workforce; addressing hunger and making healthier, more sustainably-grown food a reality; and building strong communities where we operate and inspiring our associates to give back. Whether it is helping to lead the fight against hunger in the United States with $2 billion in cash and in-kind donations or supporting Women’s Economic Empowerment through a series of grants totaling $10 million to the Women in Factories training program in Bangladesh, China, India and Central America, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are not only working to tackle key social issues, we are also collaborating with others to inspire solutions for long-lasting systemic change. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit



What Started as an Idea Continues to Grow After 50 Years

PHOENIX (December 28, 2017) – When a small group of dedicated volunteers had an idea to build an accessible residential summer camp for children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities becomes a reality it is sometimes hard to believe that that dream would last one year, let alone 50. As parents and volunteers, they were driven by the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to experience the unique joy of summer camp – regardless of their abilities.  “Camp Civitan” created one of the first year-round camping experiences in Arizona.

In 1968,CM3B0255 the vision to create a summer experience of adventure for individuals who are often forgotten or shielded from the same adventures many families take for granted was started. Today, the 15-acre wheelchair accessible Camp Civitan in Williams, Arizona is one of the largest year-round camps of its kind in the nation and spawned additional programs and services for the developmentally disabled.

The Civitan Foundation, a non-profit 501 c (3) headquartered in Phoenix, grew from the experiences of Camp Civitan and is now a leading voice in Arizona in providing unmatched, innovative services to individuals with special needs. Serving nearly 1,200 children and adults with disabilities throughout Arizona, we’ve expanded our program to encompass educational and vocational activities. This expansion was to meet the direct needs of each one of our families and their loved ones.

In addition to Camp Civitan, the Foundation now includes other locations and services to provide job and life-skill training for members to grow independently, socialize with peers and practice self-sufficiency.  The Civitan Village, located near 42nd Street and Cactus Road in Phoenix is a multi-disciplinary day program, vocational training site and employment center. Members at the village participate in daily programs which include the arts, culinary, yoga/movement, goals training, theater and media. The programs at the village are designed to promote creativity and help foster healthy, long-lasting relationships.

Flerish Design and Resale is Civitan’s thrift store on 12621-25 North Cave Creek Road. The store provides 70 paid shifts weekly for members learning all aspects of retail sales. Within the store we house our “Art Gallery” where members who have trained with a third-generation Arizonan artist are showing and selling their one of a kind fine art. Civitan also operates a boutique and resale store in Williams AZ, Civitan on 66, also providing the local members an employment opportunity.

The Respite Ranch, a home like setting on almost an acre, located near our main campus, provides the much-needed respite and reprieve from constant care-giving, or as a last minute option during times of critical need. This service is available 365 days a year.

In addition to the facilities offering training and work opportunities for the Civitan Foundation members, we also provide home and community based services. Our staff provide individualized services to families and caregivers of loved ones with special needs living at home. We also have day-training programs in Williams and Maricopa.

What drove the parents and volunteers to start a camp for the disabled 50 years ago is still the fire that drives us today. As Civitan moves forward, our goals are to continue exploring new opportunities to improve the quality of life for our members.

About Dawn Trapp:

Dawn TrappAfter serving the organization for countless years in a volunteer capacity, in 2001 Dawn Trapp founded and was elected the first Executive Director of what is now known as the Civitan Foundation, Inc. Since that time, Dawn has transformed Civitan from a single-service, single-location volunteer organization to a multi-faceted enterprise which offers countless programs and services to individuals with developmental disabilities throughout the state of Arizona.


Camp Spring Schedule 2018


Appalachian Man

Gary Parkinson decided to hike the Appalachian trail all the way from Georgia to Main, and is sponsoring Civitan Foundation as well as many other foundations for special needs kids. If anyone is interested in following his journey, you can visit for his hiking posts. Even more exciting than his charity hike, Civitan’s Media group “the Hub” took point on designing the marketing materials for Gary. From a produced video, to logo design and web work, Civitan clients were involved the whole time. Executive Dawn Trapp had this to say about the opportunity for Civitan media:
“Civitan is very excited to have the opportunity to partner and help Gary with this dream of hiking the AT. We were first introduced to Gary through our past board president Frank Nightingale, during the one of the annual Grand Canyon Rim to Rim adventure, where many of the hikers spend the night after at Camp Civitan for a night of great fun, food and storytelling, so Gary has experienced the warm and welcoming feeling at our special needs camp first hand.
When Gary came to us with his plans, we jumped right in to help, with our newly created client media team and offered our talents in web-site and graphic design and video production. This has been a great experience for our clients to be involved and have the chance to display their creative talents, and our first attempt in a “real” job final creation product in our media HUB.
As the months and miles past, we will be here in Arizona supporting and cheering Gary on! As he helps us in raising funds for scholarships enabling more individuals to also attend and enjoy respite camps.”

Rebuilding Together and Choice Hotels International Team Up to Give Facelift to Outdoor Space of a Phoenix Nonprofit

Original article appears on Rebuilding Together.

More than 100 volunteers to revitalize garden and outdoor space for Civitan Foundation, which provides education and employment training to people with developmental disabilitiesPainting and smiles

WASHINGTON, February 12, 2014 – Rebuilding Together, a national nonprofit, is working with Choice Hotels International to renovate the garden and outdoor space at the Civitan Foundation, Inc., an organization that offers a year-round camp, life skills training and employment opportunities for individuals with developmental and physical disabilities.

Rebuilding Together Valley of the Sun and Choice Hotels volunteers will provide free critical repairs to the recreation and garden space of Civitan’s newest facility, Civitan Village. Volunteers will install new wooden stairs and deck, landscape the grounds, and paint a new masonry wall.

“Rebuilding Together and Choice Hotels International are working together to provide the Civitan Foundation with a functional outdoor space, which will not only improve the lives of the program participants, but also will serve as a development tool allowing these individuals work to establish their personal life goals,” said Charley Shimanski, President and CEO of Rebuilding Together. “We appreciate the support of Choice Hotels International and its employee volunteers to make this community as well as others around the nation safe and healthy.”

The Civitan Foundation’s Day Training Program provides an opportunity for personal independence based on the principle of ‘community helping community.’ Individuals work towards their own goals through guidance on daily living skills, education, positive social interaction, money management, exercise, nutrition, computer skills, arts and crafts and self-care. The program will also offer volunteer and employment opportunities through partner organizations.

“Our associates want to take real action and show how serious we are about supporting those in need; so we’re giving them the day away from the office to do just that,” said Steve Joyce, president and CEO of Choice Hotels International.


About Rebuilding Together:
Rebuilding Together is a Safe and Healthy Housing organization that believes Community Starts at Home. Our focus provides critical repairs, accessibility modifications and energy efficient upgrades to low-income homes and community centers at no cost to service recipients. Our impact extends beyond the individuals served to revitalize and stabilize vulnerable neighborhoods and communities across the country. Our 187 local affiliates complete more than 10,000 rebuild projects a year thanks to the efforts of 100,000 volunteers from corporate partners, skilled trades professionals and everyday good citizens. Join us- visit

About Choice Hotels:
Choice Hotels International, Inc. franchises more than 6,300 hotels, representing more than 500,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 30 other countries and territories. As of September 30, 2013, 371 hotels, representing more than 29,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States. Additionally, 84 hotels, representing approximately 7,200 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in more than 15 other countries and territories. The company’s Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn brands, as well as its Ascend Hotel Collection membership program, serve guests worldwide. All hotels are independently owned and operated.

Choice Hotels International offers the Choice Privileges rewards program. With more than 19 million members worldwide, is one of the fastest growing hotel loyalty programs in the travel industry.

Additional corporate information can be found on the Choice Hotels International, Inc. web site, which may be accessed at

Choice Hotels, Choice Hotels International, Choice Privileges, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn, and Ascend Hotel Collection are proprietary trademarks and service marks of Choice Hotels International Inc.

Propelling a Partnership, “Pushing” Towards Change

Propelling a PartnershipFor the past two years, the Civitan Foundation, Inc. has been honored to partner with Push America charities to build a new, fully-accessible outdoor amphitheater at our Camp Civitan facility in Williams, AZ. Each year, over 50 male volunteers sacrificed their time and effort to give Camp Civitan’s facilities a “push” towards progress.

During the second consecutive Give-A-Push weekend Push America has granted to the Civitan Foundation, Inc., the men of Pi Kappa Phi built a costume room to complement the outdoor amphitheater and stage constructed during 2010’s GAP weekend. In addition to this facility, the volunteers completed construction of the new field house, laid mortar for the foundation of a new maintenance shed, contributed to the installation of the solar system and planted trees around camp. At the end of a hard day’s work, the men of Pi Kappa Phi joined Civitan clients around the campfire for an evening of singing, friendship and fun.

Founded in 1977 by the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, Push America strives to instill lifelong service in its members and enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities. Through their Give-A-Push grant program, Push America provided the Civitan Foundation, Inc. with $5,000 in 2010 and 2011 for building materials and supplies, as well as over 50 volunteers for a weekend of labor. We at the Civitan Foundation, Inc., as well as the clients we serve, could not be more grateful for their continued and generous support.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes for Civitan Thrift Store

Civitan Thrift & Trading CoTime may change it, but it’s certainly hard to trace where the time has gone. After seven wonderful years in their original location, the Camp Civitan Thrift Store is revamping, reorganizing, and relocating.

Civitan Thrift and Trading Co., as the shop is now named, opened its doors to the public January 29th from its new location on the main drag. Located at 129 W. Route 66, the shop boasts more space, more variety, and a new specialized clothing brand unique to Civitan. Civitan hopes that the shop will cater to both locals and tourists, providing a veritable gold mine of authentic, gently used western themed items. The company’s new clothing brand hopes to do just that, in fact. The “Western Worn” brand, designed to uncover the real cowboy in you, will be attached to hard to find vintage western wear and accessories.

In addition to the new brand, the Thrift and Trading Co. has a wide variety of treasures sure to suit anyone’s taste. From end tables to costume jewelry, jeans to wedding dresses, antique train memorabilia, and Route 66 artifacts, you’ll browse for hours as you search for your next great find.

If their merchandise isn’t enough to entice you, the smiling faces of the special needs clients that greet you from behind the counter will remind you that your dollars will contribute to a valuable cause. All proceeds from the Civitan Thrift and Trading Co. go directly to support the Civitan Foundation, Inc., an organization dedicated to providing vital services to individuals with developmental disabilities. According to Executive Director Dawn Trapp, clients from the organization’s Williams-based day program will work in the shop during the week as well.

In addition to checking out the new wares in the shop, you can support Civitan Foundation’s cause through the donation of your gently used items. “We value the support we’ve consistently received from the community of Williams,” Trapp said, “and we look forward to becoming an even greater contributor to town culture and commerce.”

The new thrift shop will be open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with plans to extend evening hours to 9 p.m. in the future.


Over 3,000 Meals Served to Youth Through Summer Food Service Program
Summer Youth Food ProgramPeople say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Here at the Civitan Foundation, we think lunch is pretty important too. That’s why we signed up as a sponsor with the Summer Food Service Program to provide breakfast and lunch daily to the underserved youth in Williams. Meals were prepared fresh each day at our Camp Civitan facility, located roughly five miles north of Williams, and then distributed at the town’s youth center. Over the course of the summer, Civitan was able to serve over 3,000 meals!
Camp Civitan, a beloved 15-acre handicap-accessible camp for adults and children with developmental disabilities, plays host to over 750 individuals each year. Staff and campers alike feel blessed to call Williams our home for even a few days out of the year. The Summer Food Service Program uniquely allowed us to serve our community, while offering job skill and food and nutrition training to our clients. Campers are presented with daily food and nutrition education throughout the summer camp sessions, designed to inform and encourage them regarding healthy food and fitness practices. In addition, new campers were selected each week to help assemble the meals for the Summer Food program, with the help and supervision of volunteers and staff members.
This program provided Camp Civitan with the opportunity to give back to the community that gives so much, both to our organization as well as countless others. Williams helps make Camp Civitan a “home away from home” for so many individuals, and this was our opportunity to begin to return the favor.

Putters, Golf Balls, and Flags, OH MY!

Camp Civitan Introduces Accessible Miniature Golf Course

Williams, AZ—Camp Civitan was proud to announce the grand opening of their brand new accessible miniature golf course at the start of the 2011 Summer camping session. Plans for the project have been underway since 2008, making the completion of the long-awaited course exceptionally gratifying.

With this new facility, campers participated in miniature golf at least twice a week, in addition to the many regular camp programs already offered at Camp Civitan. Campers also had the unique opportunity to receive training tips and techniques from a local PGA Golf Professional, Brandon Evans. Evans, who is a native of Williams, obtained a degree in Agribusiness: Professional Golf Management from Arizona State University. For 6 years during and after the completion of his ASU and PGA education, Evans served as an Assistant PGA Golf Professional at Elephant Rocks Golf Course in Williams, AZ. In addition, Evans played professionally for 1 year while at Elephant Rocks, and 2 years prior on various mini tours throughout the west coast as well as many PGA Southwest Sanctioned Events.
With Brandon’s help, campers learned how to grip a club correctly, line up their shot, and the proper mechanics behind their swing. This experience led to many memorable moments, both for Evans and the campers. “On multiple occasions at their miniature golf course a camper has made a hole in one with their very first shot ever. The smiles that accompanies these moments are priceless,” Evans stated, “with this population the sense of self gratification is immense.” In addition to weekly instruction and play, field trips to the local golf course were offered during the final two camp sessions. This trip allowed campers to experience golf on a larger scale, and put their newly acquired skills to the test.
Evans, who hopes to remain a part of the program as long as he remains in the Williams area, is particularly looking forward to the next phase of Civitan’s plans for the facility. Civitan has plans to install a full swing area, once they have obtained adequate funds and support. “I am looking forward to the completion of this phase so that the campers can begin discovering more of the game of golf,” Evans said.
Civitan is blessed with a supportive community, and this program was a testament to that fact. The Camp Civitan Miniature Golf Course was made possible through several generous donors, including Thunderbirds Charities, National Alliance of Accessible Golf, City of Peoria, Padre Murphy’s, Old Pueblo Civitan Club, Metro Civitan Club and Phoenix Breakfast Civitan Club.
Since 1968, Civitan Foundation, Inc. has been dedicated to providing our community an accessible, safe and affordable environment while delivering superior life experiences to enhance the quality of life to individuals with developmental disabilities of all ages. It is our goal to provide accessible recreation and educational experiences to people of all abilities. Our flagship program, Camp Civitan in Williams, AZ, provides this targeted population a chance to play and learn together, enjoying the great outdoors, while providing much needed respite for caregivers and families.

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