Friendly House 2016 Holiday Newsletter

The Spirit of Giving – honoring service, dedication and hard work

Friendly House is one of Arizona’s pioneer social services agencies, established in 1920, to assist immigrants in acquiring citizenship, education and literacy skills necessary to acculturate into the United States.  Today, Friendly House serves over 12,500 Arizona families – at work, school and home, and at all stages of life. 


Friendly House is dedicated to its mission of empowering Arizona communities through education and human services via three core service channels – Adult Education, & Workforce Development, Elementary Education, and Family & Human Services.


As we reflect on 2016, we are grateful to our clients for their trust, we are grateful to our donors and partners for their confidence and we are grateful for the opportunity to serve our community with integrity, respect and dedication.


As you reflect on 2016, I ask that you consider an end-of-year gift to Friendly House.  Your dollars will provide a school uniform for a deserving student of Academia del Pueblo, an English as a second language course to a single mother, or job placement services for a struggling family.  Go to and make a donation today.


It is through your generosity that we make a difference and touch people’s lives.


Together with the Friendly House Board of Directors and staff, we wish you and yours much joy and peace this holiday season.

Friendy House Celebrates 81 Years of Tradition 


The 81st annual Friendly House Tamale Dinner & Festival was held on December 10 & 11.  A long-standing tradition for Friendly House, this event attracted over 10,000 people who enjoyed food, fun, music and holiday traditions. 


This year, exciting enhancements were made to this traditional event by expanding festival activities and entertainment in partnership with Food City.  Families experienced lively performances, holiday treats, a dedicated Kids Zone and plenty of food (especially tamales). 


A special Tamale Dinner was held the evening of Saturday, December 10 to thank Friendly House supporters and to showcase the impact of Friendly House programs and services.  Over 300 people celebrated a beautiful holiday evening filled with music, food and the celebration of commitment to the community.


Special recognition to presenting sponsor Food City, premiere sponsor APS, gold sponsors Cox Communications and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona as well as many other generous contributors who supported this annual event.


The 81st annual Friendly House Tamale Dinner & Festival was a success thanks to the dedication of our sponsors, Board of Directors and staff.  Everyone came together to continue the legacy of service that Friendly House has built for almost 100 years.

Program Highlights

Adult Education

ESL – Giving Thanks


The ELAA (English Language Acquisition for Adults) group, inspired by the Thanksgiving holiday, created wonderful posters reflecting what they are thankful for.


Deana Sha, ELAA pre-lit instructor, organized Thanksgiving activities combining several learning approaches to build students’ skills for success.  Students worked independently and shared time with fellow classmates while gaining skills such as planning, organization, development and work presentations.


Activities included:

  • Categorizing items and associating them by shapes and colors

  • Aspects of civic were included by giving students an understanding of the meaning of Thanksgiving; to be grateful and aware of all life’s gifts.

GED – Civics & Advocacy

The GED Career Pathways students currently enrolled in the I-BEST program are in a race against time.  Beginning January, 2017 the official GED test will include a fifth subject (aside from Math, Science, Social Studies, and English), now Civics will be added as part of the official GED test.  The Civics test consists of the 100 questions citizenship applicants need to learn in order to become U.S. citizens. Out of these 100 questions, students will have to pass at least 60 of them.


Civics is leading to advocacy.  In teacher Hugh Wolf’s Service Learning class, a class with the objective to engage students in the community by volunteering or advocating, they are establishing an ambassador project to serve as advocates  for Adult Education before Arizona State Legislators. The plan is for students to meet and greet legislators and to promote awareness of the importance of Adult Education programs and the vital need for them in the community.


Workforce Development – Youth programs receive $2 million in Federal Grant Awards

Friendly House Workforce Department was awarded the Pathways to Justice Careers Grant by the U.S. Department of Labor in the amount of $1,000,000.  This project will serve 250 youth ages 16 to 21 who have been court involved or at risk of involvement with the justice system.  The program will provide case management services, career exploration in the fields of justice and emergency services, exposure to the world of work and mentoring. 


In addition, the Friendly House Workforce Department was also awarded the YouthBuild grant in the amount of $911,494 to serve 56 disadvantaged and disconnected youth ages 16-24 in the Glendale area. This program will offer academic classes that will include high school equivalence courses (GED) as well as academic support.   Participants will also receive hands-on occupational training from experienced industry certified Estrella Community College/Southwest Skill Center instructors in the field of Construction.  They will also have the opportunity to build a house in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and contribute to the community.   


Family & Human Services

College and Career Readiness – College Preparations

The fall semester for most high school students is filled with standardized testing and college applications.  Our students worked hard and we focused on helping them through the process.


  • Planned and executed 12 FAFSA workshops assisting seniors and parents with college admissions and completion of the FAFSA.

  • Registered almost 50 students for the University of Arizona field trip.  It was a great team effort, and we are currently planning a trip to Northern Arizona University later this month.  These trips assist students in understanding the college application process, familiarizing them with a campus setting and encouraging them to apply and attend college.

  • Fifteen (15) students participated in a 12-week ACT College Prep Summer Program.  They took their exam in October.  Early scores are looking good!




Last year, the Friendly House Homecare Program served approximately 190 individuals and provided 15,667 service hours.  Our wonderful homecare employees are some of the most dedicated and hardworking people we have at Friendly House.  They provide excellent housekeeping and personal care services to the most vulnerable in our community, the elderly and physically disabled.


This year, we have expanded our service area to include the east valley.  We have received dozens of new clients and are on track to increase the number of clients served this fiscal year by 30%.

Parent Education and Drug Prevention – Strengthening families 

This program strengthens family bonds and improves family management, interaction and communication, while providing parents with the skills to talk with their children about alcohol and drug use.


The evidence-based Guiding Good Choices curriculum gives parents proven tools, strategies, and resources to prevent and reduce underage drinking and drug use through sessions that are highly interactive and include role-playing, discussions, and family meetings.


In the last three years, we have served a total of 2,252 parents/caregivers in Phoenix (South Central, West). Outreach to 101 new sites is currently underway.

  • 83% parents received workshops in Spanish

  • 17% parents received workshops in English


This year, we have been renewed and awarded the Arizona Parents Commission on Drug Education and Prevention Grant which has allowed us to expand our services to Glendale, South Central, North East, East, and West Valley’s.  We have currently served 454 parent/caregivers this year.

We are humbled by the appreciation of our clients…..

“Thank you very much for all the teachings. I can practice new things with my children. Knowing is a good thing because I have more information and the motivation to practice it. Thank you!”

-Sandra S.


“Thank you very much for all the help. I wish I had done this sooner, but I know that it is never too late to learn and that everything can be accomplished through communication and support. Thank you!”   

-Guadalupe V.


Elementary Education – Academia del Pueblo (AdP)

Academia del Pueblo students make school history by competing in its first ever S.T.E.M. competition as an after-school science team. 

The STEM league is provided through the Canyon Athletic Association (CAA), which is the largest charter school sports league in Arizona.  Students competed in the Lego Master Build competition, which consisted of building the longest free standing bridge from table to table. At one point during the competition, AdP students had the longest measured bridge, but one block fell off, causing it to collapse during the scoring process. AdP finished in the top four of the competition and represented the school as the first competitive science team at Academia del Pueblo. The next competition will be in the area of robotics. Go Eagles!


Veterans Art Project – thank you Mayor Stanton


Academia del Pueblo joined Mayor Greg Stanton and took part in the Veteran’s Art project hosted by the Sonoran League of Arts.  Student AdP were selected to make tiles the represented the impact veterans have made in Arizona.  We are extremely proud of our students and the partnership with the Mayor’s office.


New Bus – free and safe transportation

Academia del Pueblo is proud to be a public charter school that offers equal access to all students.  One of the ways that we ensure all students have the opportunity to attend AdP is by providing free transportation for our families.  For years, AdP has been running bus routes in a five-mile radius of the school so that students have a safe and consistent conduit between home and school.  In October, we added to our fleet a brand new 90-passenger bus.  This investment will continue to allow us to offer full access to our quality academic program to children in South Central Phoenix.


Free iPads boost student learning


Ms. Fraser’s first grade students are bowling down their math facts on the carpet!  Since receiving their free iPads through Apple and the ConnectEd Technology Grant in September, students are embracing technology.  Their participation and engagement in this fun yet educational activity is one example of how students and teachers are taking learning on the iPad into various spaces and comfort levels for students.


Public School Tax Credit – Support Academia del Pueblo 

(I’d like to ask Michael at the Academia to provide a short paragraph that we can insert here)




With the holiday season upon us, we want to wish you and your family health and happiness today and always.  Friendly House is dedicated to those most in need.  It is through your support and generosity that we serve.


Friendly House Staff

INSERt picture of Staff- Holiday dress from tamale dinner