Bring together two groups that are known for helping others and you have the makings of a productive work force.
Payson Community Kids and Rotary International joined forces last Friday, with an assist from the Town of Payson, to paint, clean up, fix up and weed some 20 homes and lots in Payson whose owners were unable for one reason or another to perform the work themselves.
The Rotary International volunteers were in town attending the four-day District 5510 Conference at the Tonto Apache Recreation Center. The event attracted some 250 Rotarians plus spouses and families from 43 clubs in the district.
Each year, the Rotarians spend a day on clean-up projects in the town that is hosting the conference. This is the first year the event has been held in Payson.
By linking up with Marcy Rogers' kids, the two groups mustered a combined work force of 40, and when the day was done some seven tons of trash and clippings had been collected.
"You usually don't see that kind of coordination between service groups and a town," Rogers said. "It takes that small-town attitude to make something like this happen."
The town engineering department donated a dump truck and backloader to the effort, and paint and other materials were purchased with a $1,000 gift from Wal-Mart for home-rehabilitation projects.
Payson Community Kids is sponsored by the town's Community Development Department where Rogers is redevelopment/housing coordinator.
The clean-up/fix-up day is just one of a variety of events with which Rogers' group has been involved.
Payson Community Kids have also adopted three streets under the town's Adopt-a-Street program.
The group has been keeping Bonita Street clean for three years, and just added Malibu and Rumsey streets to their list.
The previous weekend, Payson Community Kids held a history day, paid for from the proceeds of a racing bike raffle.
"We toured the Rim Country Museum, had lunch, and then had the drawing for the bicycle," Rogers said. "It was won by Fran and Al Cahalan, who donated it back to us so we can raffle it off again."
Highlight of the day was a visit by Chuck Jackman, a member of the Hashknife Pony Express, who showed up with his horse in full Pony Express regalia. The group wrapped up the day by touring the Business Showcase sponsored by the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Payson Community Kids will also be working at the Payson Aerofair May 11 and visiting the Payson Art League's Spring 2002 Show and Sale the following day.
"The kids know so many artists because they have come to our classes to teach," Rogers said. "We take flowers to the artists at the show, and the kids get to talk to them about art."
Some 50 children, ranging in age from 18 months to 14 years currently belong to Payson Community Kids. About half that number attends meetings and classes on Tuesday evenings, with another 20 going to church with Rogers on Sundays.
Surprisingly, it is the clean-up events that are most popular with the group.
"When we do a clean-up, we usually get all 50 kids out," Rogers said. "They really like to participate and they all volunteer."
The group can always put tax-deductible cash donations, made under its new tax exempt status, to good use.
Right now, Payson Community Kids meets at Payson Town Hall or Rogers' home, but they are fast outgrowing both facilities.
"We'd like, one day, to have a home of our own," Rogers said.
How you can help
Through Payson Community Kids, some 50 children with special needs help each other to rise above their circumstances. The group can always use more help.
Donations of clothing, bicycles, toiletries and food can be dropped off at the Community Development building at town hall.
Checks made out to Payson Community Kids can also be dropped off or mailed to Marcy Rogers, Payson Town Hall, 303 N. Beeline Highway, Payson 85541. And, of course, volunteers are always needed.
For more information on how you can help, call Rogers at 474-5242, extension 2269.