Celebrating 11 Years of Giving, Verde Valley Sanctuary Back-to-School Supplies

Twice Nice Community Enterprise Director, Barry Maketansky and Jennie Underwood, Director of Outreach, Legal Advocacy, and the Youth Empowerment Services program wait with anticipation for the 11th annual gift of back-to-school supplies for client families of the Verde Valley Sanctuary.

What a delight when Sally arrives with her vehicle filled to the brim with 110 new backpacks and 110 sets of school supplies! These backpacks are for boys and girls in kindergarten through high school. Sally came representing her teammate and twin sister, Sandy. Everyone is smiling!

Sally Van Zwol and Sandy Van Zwol-Anderson, both retired teachers residing in Phoenix, bargain shop in July when the back-to-school sales happen at Target, Walmart, Costco  and Amazon. This year’s bounty came at the cost of $3,000. Each year, the gift is bigger than the last. Staff open the boxes with delight: backpacks, scissors, colored folders, 3-ring binders, paper, markers, pens, pencils, colored pencils, glue, white board markers.

Jennie’s vehicle is loaded up for a special delivery to the Verde Valley Sanctuary Shelter, Outreach Center, and Legal Advocacy Center. At the start of each school year, children and teens served by the Verde Valley Sanctuary go to school with the essential supplies that are key to academic success. 

This annual gift is in memory of Sedona resident, Lisa Olivia Weber Grondin, who was the victim of a domestic violence murder-suicide on September 20, 2009. Sandy and Sally went to Glendale High School with Lisa’s parents Jake and Leann Weber, and they became lifelong friends.

On April 27, 2010, Verde Valley Sanctuary’s Twice Nice Thriftique in Sedona dedicated their library to Lisa Weber to keep her memory alive. Lisa was a gifted mother who gave endlessly to her children in love, fun, and discipline — she loved to dance and sing with her children and singing in the car was a ritual — she showed them their world around them. Lisa Weber gave so much of herself to this world, and those who knew and loved Lisa carry on her legacy.

The Verde Valley Sanctuary is blessed by generous donors, like Sally and Sandy, who care to make a meaningful difference every year for the many lives impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

Verde Valley Sanctuary’s mission is to decrease the harm of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking and help prevent additional abuses. For more information or to make a donation, contact Community Development Director Tracey McConnell at (928) 282-2755, development@verdevalleysanctuary.org.

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