Ben's Bells Project

Ben's Bells promote kindness and community.

Every Friday morning at 8:30 the Morning Mix teams up with the Ben's Bells Project to salute a person who betters Tucson! Each weekly recipient is "belled" (and joyfully celebrated!) as a unique individual who shares their kindness with our community. Visit bensbells.org or call 628-2829 to nominate a special person you feel should be recognized for their kindness and caring.

  • Meet Jayne Szyndlar, Family Advocate and Educational Assistant at Lulu Walker Elementary School, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Jayne was nominated by Lulu Walker Principle Michael McConnell for her work in organizing the Walker Adopt-a-family program, which serves over 25 families each year. Mrs. Szyndlar sees to it that each item on a child's Christmas Wish List is obtained and the overall needs of the families are met. Families receive food boxes, grocery gift cards, household items, blankets, clothes, cleaning supplies and, of course, presents. Every year she goes above and beyond the call of duty, this year even more so. Mrs. Szyndlar was able to get one family's apartment furnished with new beds, a desk and living room furniture. Micheal writes, "I am amazed at the lengths that she will go to take care of our families." Photo by Celeste Goguen of Jayne (holding Bell) with Michael (left of Jayne) and staff at Lulu Walker for a Ben's Belling.

  • Meet Jenny Carrillo, partner and consultant at Alexander Carrillo Consulting and Ben's Bells Board member, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Jenny was nominated by Laura Alexander, who writes: "Jenny Carrillo is my business partner and friend, and one of the kindest people I know. Every day she gives 100% of her considerable intellect and skills helping nonprofits in Tucson meet their missions. However, it is her recent act of kindness that motivates this nomination. Yesterday she bought flowers and a card and hand-delivered them to the Islamic Community Center on the U of A campus to let her Muslim neighbors know that "love wins." It is easy to get overwhelmed by the stories of hatred, fear and violence, and to forget that one act of kindness can mean so much. I'm so proud of her, and her actions yesterday are exactly what intentional kindness is about." Photo by Hanna Miller of Jenny Carrillo (right, holding Bell) with Jeannette Maré and Laura Alexander for a Ben's Belling

  • Meet Joe Farmer and Nicole Rullo, Head Boys and Head Girls’ Rincon/University High School Swim & Dive Coaches, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Joe and Nicole were nominated by the RUHS Swim Team Captains on behalf of the 2015 RUHS Swim Team for not only making the team better swimmers, but also strengthening their relationships with each other and between their two schools. Coach Farmer and Coach Rullo, both of whom teach at Rincon High School, a Kind Campus, are the head coaches of the combined Rincon High and University High Swim Team. Both coaches interact with each other, the team members and their competitors with a level of kindness and respect that is inspiring. They are able to take swimmers of all abilities, who come from two schools and diverse backgrounds, and bring them together to form a big swim family. They lead by example that, when you treat people fairly, and with enthusiasm, kindness, inclusiveness and respect, we can achieve great things individually and together. They teach their team that hard work and high expectations can exist without sacrificing kindness and good sportsmanship. Photo by Kyra Hotzman of Coach Joe and Nicole with RUHS Swim Team members

  • Meet Sheila Bowden, founder of The Friends of Fort Lowell Park and this week's Ben's Bellee. Sheila was nominated by Sandy Chan for her ongoing efforts at Fort Lowell Park, volunteering her time and energy to make the pond (Wildlife Oasis) at Fort Lowell Park a protected environment for wildlife and for the domesticated ducks and turtles abandoned at the park. Sheila organizes work days at the pond during which volunteers plant trees and shrubs, erect or repair the fencing which provides safe areas for the animals, as well as cleaning up areas in need. In 2014 the organization was given the Commissioners Award by the Tucson City Council for “improving Ft. Lowell Park experiences for the public through enhancement of wildlife habitation.” Because the park hosts numerous children’s baseball, football and soccer games throughout the year, her efforts to keep the trash picked up give the children and their families a beautiful and clean environment to enjoy while attending a game at the park. Photo by Celeste Goguen of Sheila (blue shirt, holding Bell) with Sandy (right of Shiela in white shirt) and volunteers for a Ben's Belling.

  • Meet Michele Vick, volunteer at the Sister Jose Women's Center and advocate for veterans in need, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Michele was nominated by Teresa Scotland, whose son, a veteran, was having a hard time, and she was in need of someone to talk with. Teresa had never met Michelle but her mother works with her at the women's shelter and told Michele about Teresa's struggles. Michele called Teresa, a worried mom, to ask how she could help, telling her she could call anytime. And when she did, at 4 am, and Michele helped in a way that was so compassionate and caring that Teresa is astounded still. Photo by Celeste Goguen of Michele (holding Bell) with Teresa (right of Michele) and staff and clients of Sister Jose Women's Center

  • Meet Marta Goodwin, performing arts teacher at Carrillo Magnet School, and her husband Bob Holl who are this week's Ben's Bellees. Marta and Bob were nominated by Nina Hickman and staff at Carrillo for their many acts of kindness in the community, but most notably, last year, Marta and Bob provided holiday items for a refugee family of six children, and this school year they took in family in need until a program was available for them. They continue to help the family, who is searching for an apartment. Their passion for helping those in need is apparent to all who meet them. Photo by Celeste Goguen of Marta and Bob (center, holding Bell) with Nina (center left) and staff at Carrillo for a Ben's Belling.

  • Meet Sumhith Aradhyula, senior at Catalina Foothills High School, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Sumhith was nominated by Satheesh Aradhyula and staff members at Catalina Foothills High School for the work he has done to raise money for local charities through the two non-profits he started. Sumhith heads Chess for Charity, which runs chess tournaments mostly for kids and donates all of the profits to local charities. Chess for Charity has raised over $3,500 for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona over the past three years. Sumhith also started Ragazona, which promotes charity through music. Ragazona organizes music concerts and donates all of the profits to local charities. He raised over $500 for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona through Ragazona. His kindness and desire to help others made a small but significant difference for the hungry in the Greater Tucson community. Photo by Celeste Goguen of Sumhith (center holding Bell) with his father Satheesh (far right) and faculty from Catalina Foothills High School for a Ben's Belling.

  • Meet Kelly Comstock, volunteer for Pima Animal Care Center (PACC), and this week's Ben's Bellee. Kelly was nominated by Mariana Parker for her important work at PACC through social media. Kelly started and now administers the PACC Pets Need You Facebook page, where she devotes many hours at PACC taking pictures to post of the dogs, and working to make positive changes for the homeless dogs in the shelter. Kelly devotes many hours each week to walking dogs, working with the socialization dogs, and many nights during the week Kelly is at PACC after closing time, just to make sure the dogs have a clean kennel with fresh bedding. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Kelly Comstock (holding Bell) with Marianna Parker (second from left) with PACC staff and volunteers for a Ben's Belling.

  • Meet Pat Hubbard, Community Outreach/Education Director for the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Pat was nominated by Barbara Brown for her 26 years working for the organization, which focuses on combating animal cruelty, building community relationships and educating our community on the importance of humane treatment of animals. Pat is involved in many projects including Pima Alliance for Animal Welfare, Trap/Neuter/Return, the Adopt Love Adopt Local mega adoption event, and Human-Animal Bond. In addition, Pat sits on the PACC Advisory Board and she is currently working on a 48-hour spay/neuter event in October that will help animals and their owners, animals waiting to be adopted at the shelters and with rescue groups, and feral cats. Photo by Kelly Huber of Jeannette Maré with Pat Hubbard (left with Bell) for a Ben's Belling.

  • Meet Lise, Camp and Kat, Team Members at Trader Joe's at Grant and Swan, and this week's Ben's Bellees. Lise, Camp, and Kat were nominated by Marilyn Bender for their help and kindness when her car broke down outside their store. They immediately stepped up and helped Marilyn by trying to jump start her car. When that didn't work, Kat and Lise helped her call a mechanic and arranged a tow truck. Since it was going to take 2 1/2 hours for the tow truck to come, Lise not only drove Marilyn home to wait, but she and Camp and Kat also gave Marilyn a beautiful bunch of flowers to cheer her up. Photo by Celeste Goguen of Lise, Camp and Kat (holding bells) with Marilyn (center back in blue shirt) and fellow team members and shoppers for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Lisa Hastreiter-Lamb, Director of Education at The Mini Time Machine, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Lisa was nominated by Benjamin Collinsworth for her driving passion that art and culture are assets of humanity to which all people deserve access, and her implementation of that passion. Lisa trains classes of docents, plans and implements family learning activities, develops summer programs for children, oversees community outreach and a host of other tasks. To each of these endeavors, Lisa brings her strong work ethic, considerable artistic talent, and magnificent kindness. Thanks to her far-reaching influence, Tucson continues to develop as a thinking arts community. Photo by Celeste Goguen of Lisa (sitting, center with Bell) with her staff and volunteers at the Mini Time Machine for a Ben's Belling.

  • Meet Stephen Paul Bryan (Paul), neighbor extraordinaire and this week's Ben's Bellee. Paul was nominated by his daughters and by Tambre Marshall and for his heroic action to help his elderly neighbor. When Stephen's daughter told him she heard someone yelling outside, he ran outside, finding his elderly neighbor covered in killer bees. After covering his arms and head, Paul ran to the neighbor, grabbed his ankles, and while being stung himself, pulled him away from the large swarm to a open area on the sidewalk. A fellow neighbor also ran over to help and alerted the authorities. Paul sustained 10 bee stings and had to be hospitalized briefly for an allergic reaction yet he continued to be an angel to his neighbor while in the hospital. Photo by Celeste Goguen of Paul (left, holding Bell) with his daughters, Tambre (center back) and family for a Ben's Belling.

  • Meet Su-Lin Trepanitis, member of the Tucson Downtown Lions Club, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Su-Lin was nominated by Richard Stevenson and the members of the Lions Club for her dedication to helping better the community by building a program of vision screening for children in Tucson area schools. Su-Lin visited all of the Lions Clubs in the area and raised money to buy equipment, enlisted and trained volunteers, set up the logistics of starting the program, and managed the teams doing the screenings. In the past two years the Lions, under Su-Lin's leadership, have screened over 11,000 school children, identifying those that are recommended to see an eye care professional, approximately 1,900 children. Photo by Celeste Goguen of Su-Lin (center, holding bell) with the Tucson Downtown Lions Club for a Ben's Belling.

  • Meet Marlene Calhoun and Dick Wadsworth, wonderful neighbors and this week's Ben's Bellees. Marlene and Dick were nominated by Ann Tracy-Lopez for all they do for their neighborhood to make it a wonderful place to live. This has included giving rides or picking up groceries for the disabled, hosting block parties, and inviting those without plans over for holidays. They willingly opened their home to neighbors for an extended stay due to an emergency when their homes were ruined from an accidental fire. And they do it all so quietly and never want anything in return. It’s these kind of quieter heroes, like Dick and Marlene, that make a difference in life and in Tucson. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Marlene (holding bell) and Dick (center) with Ann (left) with neighbors for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Bill Chacon, courageous by-stander, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Bill was nominated by Erica Saunders for his courage, confidence and general selflessness which saved her father’s life. Erica's father went into cardiac arrest while horseback riding with his family. Bill Chacon happened to be sitting on his in-laws porch at the time, around 50 yards from the area where Erica's father had been riding. Bill saw her father fall and not get up. Having just had CPR training, Bill did not hesitate and ran over to immediately begin chest compressions, which saved Erica's father's life. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Bill Chacon (holding Bell) with Erica Saunders and her family for a Ben's Belling.

  • Meet Kyle Maucher, head custodian at Laguna Elementary, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Kyle was nominated by KaiAnn Stamp for his true dedication to the students and staff of Laguna. Kyle is often seen talking with students, sharing a laugh with coworkers and helping out at school events, evenwhen he is off the clock. This year alone he has assisted with after school sports and designed and built a haunted house for the Fall Carnival. Whenever a staff member is sick he is the first to volunteer to help fulfill their responsibilities for the day. His generous spirit has blessed the students, teachers, staff, and the Flowing Wells community. Photo by Jeannette Maré of (left to right) Sharon Hawes, Laura Bawes, Kyle Maucher, Manny Thomas and Jackie Camacho for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet John "Kyoshi" Colmenero, leader of Red Nation Warriors and this week's Ben's Bellee. John "Kyoshi" was nominated by Clara Ortiz for the important work that he and his wife Karen do for the community through their program. The ultimate goal of the Red Nation Warriors is to keep teenagers off the streets and at the same time give the community different opportunities to overcome life-controlling issues and self-destructive behavior. To a few of the members, Kyoshi’s program is the last stop before imprisonment or homelessness. Others come to Kyoshi for health reasons, weight loss, self-esteem issues or when they need someone to talk to. The Juvenile Court System relies on his program as well, where sentenced youth spend time with the Red Nation Warriors and learn healthy behaviors by working out and training as a boxer or in karate. Photo by Jeannette Maré of John "Kyoshi" with his family and students for a Ben's Belling.

  • Meet Andi Hammonds, program manager of the Survivors of Torture program at the International Rescue Committee, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Andi was nominated by Kari Cadenhead for her tireless work for refugee women and their families. Andi helps refugees get settled and comfortable in their new environments, coordinates clothing donations, diaper drives, job interviews, and activities. Andi also provides for their mental health through programs that use sewing and crafting. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Andi Hammonds (center, holding Bell) with Kari Cadenhead (knelling front/center) and staff of IRC for a Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Coach Mario Ybarra and the Lady Falcons at Booth Fickett Magnet School, and this week's Ben's Bellees. Coach Mario and the basketball team were nominated by Tonya Haley, a school counselor who was moved by an email that the principal received. The email was from the mother of Jessica, the basketball team manager for Mansfield Middle School. Jessica has Down's Syndrome and at a game, she walked on the court where the Booth-Fickett team was warming up. Instead of being upset, Coach Mario told her to take her shots! The girls from the basketball team welcomed her, gave her high-fives, encouraged her, and cheered for her as if she was one of their own. Photo by Tonya Haley of Coach Mario with his family and the Lady Falcons

  • Meet Phyllis Stevick, volunteer coordinator for COPE's yearly holiday dinner, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Phyllis was nominated by Dr. Ronald Wheeland because over 40 years, Phyllis has organized, in conjunction with members of COPE, a free holiday dinner for the homeless. She assembles the volunteers to make and serve complete sit-down turkey dinners, has a local high school choir sing carols and gets donations of blankets, gift cards and other personal hygiene necessities for serving 200-300 homeless people. Now 90 years old, her energy and enthusiasm is undiminished. Photo by Celeste Goguen of Phyllis (center, holding Bell) with Dr. Ronald Wheeland and staff/volunteers from COPE for a Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Dr. Michael Allen, dentist, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Dr. Allen was nominated by Deborah Schneider-Richardson because of his kindness and generous spirit. He travels to Nogales every Monday to perform free dental work for patients in need. Furthermore, Deborah approached Dr. Allen for help for one of her students, Sonja, who had badly damaged her front teeth in an accident and had serious decay throughout her mouth. Her dental situation was causing her pain and interfering with her ability to study and find a job. Dr. Allen ended up repairing all of her teeth and within a week of getting her new smile, Sonja was able to get a new job. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Dr. Allen (holding Bell) with Deborah, family and staff for a Ben's Belling.

  • Meet Byron Brandon, Boy Scout leader and member of the Board of Directors for the OTT YMCA, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Byron was nominated by Amy & Jerry Divijak for his selfless attitude and devotion to helping others. Byron helps feed the homeless and less fortunate through various organizations including: St. Michael's Church, Casa Maria, Primavera, Gospel Rescue Mission, and Five Points. Byron is at the highest level of giving blood at The American Red Cross, has helped in the past at Habitat For Humanity and tutors math for middle school students at Christ Community Church. There is nothing he won't do to help someone in need. Photo by Jeannette Mare´ of Byron Brandon (holding Bell) with friends and family for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Robert Kridler, volunteer extraordinaire, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Robert was nominated by Pam Bridgmon for his dedication to service in our community. Whether it be driving seniors to appointments, delivering Mobile Meals for Eastside Neighbors and Interfaith Community Services, serving on the Pima County Foster Care Review Board, making sandwiches and sorting clothing at the Casa Maria Soup Kitchen, serving dinner and distributing gift bags to the Primavera Five Points residents on Christmas Day, or being an active participant in Tanque Verde Lutheran's outreach ministry, Bob’s kindness benefits hundreds of people in Tucson. Just as often as Bob says, “What ELSE can I do?” he inspires others to say, “What can I do?" Photo by Jeannette Maré of Robert Kridler (center) and members of Tanque Verde Lutheran Church for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Dr. Mark Bazzell, Director of Critical Care Medicine at UAMC, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Dr. Bazzell was nominated by Kristin Schwartz and Kevin Storey for his work with critically ill patients and their families, where his gentle guidance has allowed many families to engage in difficult decision making without feeling pressured. He aims to ensure that families have as comfortable and familiar a space as possible to honor the final sacred few moments in their loved one’s life. The care he has provided to patients and families, his support of the nursing staff, and his mentorship of future physicians will forever have a positive impact on our community. Photo by Moe Kane of Dr. Bazzell (center, holding bell) and his UAMC colleagues for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Susan Willis, volunteer at St. Pius Church, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Susan was nominated by Dan Fahey for her long time role of coordinating and leading the preparation of monthly lunches for the homeless, which are delivered to Casa Maria Soup Kitchen. Dan estimates Susan has made a 1/3 of a million sandwiches made over the years! Susan also directs the sale of Just Coffee, a Chiapas, Mexico farmers' cooperative, outside of church once a month. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Susan Willis (center, holding bell) with Dan Fahey (center left) and volunteers.

  • Meet Judi Carrington, Volunteer at TROT, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Judi was nominated by Lois Bowen for stepping up to help her family during a time of loss. Judi made calls for donations to purchase a new van with a wheelchair lift for Lois and her son so they wouldn't have to worry about the old van breaking down. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Lois Bowen (left center), Judi Carrington (holding bell) with colleges and family.

  • Meet the University of Arizona Football Team, this week's Ben's Bellee! The UA Football Team was nominated by Michael Luria whose daughter, Kelsey, a senior at Catalina Foothills High School and student athletic trainer, was recently diagnosed with AML Leukemia. In an effort to keep her spirits up, Michael reached out to the team. Members of the team and trainers visited Kelsey's room during her first 3 weeks of hospitalization. Photo by Paul Reimer

  • Meet Sharon Paluk, a Pilates instructor, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Sharon was nominated by Pam Shack for going above and beyond just being a Pilates instructor for her senior clients, especially Pam's mother. Sharon designs exercises that suit each of her clients, visits clients outside of lessons, taking care of both their physical and emotional needs. Photo by Cassie Williams of (back row, left to right) David Shack, Sharon Paluk, Pam Shack, and Derre Ferdon (front row, left to right) Vearl Ferndon and Roland Shack for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Ron Munoz, a crossing guard at Butterfield Elementary and this week's Ben's Bellee! Ron was nominated by teacher, Chrissy Blank, for being one of the happiest people she knows. Although Ron only works an hour a day he can be seen on campus past that hour volunteering his time to whoever needs it. When Ron is absent from his crosswalk duty it is noticed by parents. They want to know where “that happy guy is”. His joyous spirit is contagious and his laughter cherished by all around him. Photo by Ryan Edmunds of Chrissy Blank and Ron Munoz for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Jenny Royer, a fourth grade teacher at Copper Creek Elementary School, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Jenny was nominated by Tanya Wall, principal of Copper Creek, and Beth Gentle, the mother of one of her students. This student's father is dying from ALS. Jenny has gone to the hospice to do a parent teacher conference, kept dad in the loop as best she can in order to keep him informed in his son's school life. She also has organized staff at Copper Creek and at the middle school where the brother attends to do the ALS walk in honor of this student's father. Jenny is able to make school one less stress for the family while keeping the father feeling as included as he can through his final days with his sons. Photo by Matt Stamp of (from left to right) Tanya Wall, Mikey Gentle, Jenny Royer, Scott Gentle, and Jeannette Maré

  • Meet Theresa Rhodes, a member of the St Andrews Presbyterian Piecemakers quilting group, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Nominated by fellow quilt maker, Georjean Vogt, for her generous spirit and donation of her time and money to create over 350 quilts for the Linus Project. Linus donates handmade quilts and blankets to hospitals and to underprivileged children in life-critical circumstances in our community. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Theresa Rhodes (front row, center with Ben's Bell) members of the St. Andrew's Presbyterian Piecemakers Quilting Group and friends and family for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Rick Valent, a volunteer at Teenage Parent High School, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Rick was nominated by Jackie Sinn for the kindness and compassion he shares at Teenage Parent High School by holding babies and working with teen moms. Rick is also retired military and spends the rest of his time volunteering for Casa de los Ninos, and at UMC NICU. Photo by Jeannette Maré of from left to right, Dr. Anne Dudley, Rhea Barrows, Elvia Salcido, Rick Valent, Liz Hernandez, Chris Salazar, Jackie Sinn, and Jean Valent for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Marty Bourbeau, an employee at the Dusenberry-River LIbrary, and this week's Ben's Bellee! Nominated by her coworker, Dianna Thor, for her quick thinking and action in coming to the aid of a library patron who collapsed of an apparent heart attack. Marty saved the day and the woman’s life, literally, by administering chest compression CPR until Rural Metro crew were able to arrive and take over. The next day the husband returned with flowers for Marty and relayed that the doctor had confirmed the woman would not have survived without Marty’s quick and competent action. Photo by Jeannette Maré of (from left to right) Dianna Thor, Helene Woodhams, Marty Bourbeau, Nancy Lowe and Gene Lowe.

  • Meet Marsha Thrall, this week's Ben's Bellee! Marsha was nominated by April DuBoce, a recent above knee amputee. During a recent physical therapy appointment, Alice was feeling frustrated. Marsha came over and found out that April's medicare only pays for 30 visits and she was on her last one. Marsha immediately hugged April and said she was going to pay for her to be seen until the end of the year. April and Marsha did not previously know each other, only seeing one another each week at the clinic. Photo by Jeannette Maré for Ben's Bells

  • Meet Ellie Abraham, managing director of Corona Cares, a voluntarily run Neighborhood Alliance Program working in partnership with the Pima Council on Aging providing direct support to the elderly community of Corona de Tucson, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Ellie was nominated by Gregg Barnes, a volunteer and Corona Cares Board President, for being a highly respected and compassionate leader, opening her home to support Corona Cares, managing 25 volunteers and coordinating every client's request. Photo by Cassie Williams of Ellie Abraham (center, back row with Ben's Bell) volunteers with Corona Cares and members of the Corona de Tucson Fire Department for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Jim Krauss, this week's Ben's Bellee! Jim was nominated by his neighbor, Grace Kumar, for having the biggest heart and always being ready to share his kindness. Jim takes daily walks to roll neighbors garbage and recycle bins, picks up newspapers to get them closer to everyone, sweeps side walks, trims plants when he sees they need a little trimming, and visits many older friends ready to fill them up with joy and laughter. From Jim, Grace's family has learned that "Time is the best gift you can give anyone" and that the ten most powerful two letter words are "If it is to be, it is up to me." Photo by David Nieto of Jim Krauss (center with 'be kind' shirt, holding Ben's Bell), Grace Kumar (in black shirt next to Jim) and neighbors for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Michelle Morden, a special needs teacher at Miles, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Michelle was nominated by Patty Mitchell for her incredible kindness as a teacher. In Michelle's job she goes above what a classroom teacher would be expected to do. She becomes an extension to the families to the community and the school. She makes sure all of her students and their families have what they need. Students that don't have clothes or personal need products she supplies or finds others that can help. She oozes kindness especially to her students and their families. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Michelle Morden (back row holding Ben's Bell), Patty Mitchell (in turquoise shirt next to Michelle) and students at Miles.

  • Meet Shylo Sanchez, a VIP Pet Volunteer with the Humane Society of Southern Arizona, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Shylo was nominated by Gina Hansen, her volunteer coordinator, for Shylo's work in the community with her therapy dogs, Gunner and Shamu. No matter what is going on, Shylo is dependable, quick to bring a smile to others and brings the joy of pet therapy to the Tucson community. Photo by Samantha Esquivel of Shylo Sanchez (center, holding Ben's Bell), Gina Hansen (to the left of Shylo, holding a dog), staff and volunteers at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.

  • Meet Erin Schmidt, this week's Ben's Bellee! Erin was nominated by her former co-workers for her outstanding contributions to the Tucson community. Erin is a certified foster parent, as well as a volunteer with BARK, fostering puppies and their mothers. She has supported individuals affected by sexual assault by volunteering with SACASA and held a diaper drive bringing in over 3,000 diapers for Tucsonans in need Photo by Cassie Williams of (from left to right) Cindy Bieger, Erin Schmidt and Michael Clark for Ben's Bellings.

  • Meet Steve Seidl of Merle's Automotive and this week's Ben's Bellee! Nominated by Sheila McGinnis, for his years of volunteer work with the University of Arizona’s Annual Charitable Event. Steve donates supplies for breakfast and lunch and provides the volunteers with a delicious bbq meal while they serve. Rain or shine, Steve has not missed this event in the past five years, often being the first to arrive and set up with a smile on his face. Photo by Cassie Williams of Gerrick Provencio (UA), Steve Seidl (Merle’s Automotive), Sheila McGinnis (UA), Randy Livingston (UA), Kathi Hart (UA), Richard Mattiussi (Merle’s Automotive), and Carolyn

  • Meet Barbara Eiswerth, founder of Iskashitaa Refugee Network, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Nominated by volunteer, Gina Gresham, for her vision and leadership since creating Iskashitaa in 2003. Iskashitaa is primarily a harvesting program that gleans excess produce from local farms and backyards and then distributes it to refugee families and volunteers. Gina remarks that Barbara is a truly brilliant woman who is at once compassionate and strong-willed, and who cares deeply for her clients and coworkers. Photo by Cassie Williams of Barbara Eiswerth (center, holding Ben's Bell), Gina Gresham (to Barbara's left in tan dress), staff, board members, volunteers and supporters of Iskashitaa.

  • Meet Hugh Ward, a volunteer at Community Home Repair, and this week's Ben's Bellee, nominated by Scott Coverdale, the director of Community Home Repair. Hugh has volunteered with Community Home Repair for the past 4 years, volunteering 4 days a week utilizing his carpentry skills to build adaptations for the elderly and people with disabilities. When he is not volunteering, he is usually repairing something for a neighbor or visiting someone who is home-bound. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Hugh Ward (front row, holding Ben's Bell), Scott Coverdale, Director of Community Home Repair (behind Hugh's right shoulder) and staff and volunteers at Community Home Repai

  • Meet Johnny Carrasco, an office support specialist at the Pima County Legal Defender's Office, and this week's Ben's Bellee! Nominated by his coworker Helen Gonzales, who remarks that Johnny treats clients and visitors with respect, regardless of their position in life. He shows great compassion for and has a calming influence on people in stressful situations. Without fail, whenever the elevator doors open on the 8th Floor of the Legal Services Building, Johnny greets the elevator’s occupants with a hearty wave or greeting. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Johnny Carrasco (center holding Ben's Bell) and staff members of the Pima County Legal Defender's Office.

  • Meet Rachel Vega, a team leader at Cope Community Services' Coady Clinic, and this week's Ben's Bellee! Nominated by Charlotte Bennett, a former coworker, who remarks that Rachel is a constant source of inspiration for her coworkers and clients. Rachel maintains a positive attitude and always goes the extra mile, taking the time to recognize achievements, small and large. Photo by René Pacheco of Rachel Vega (center, holding Ben's Bell) and staff at Cope Community Services Coady Clinic.

  • Meet Diana Vargas Villa, an art instructor at the Southern Arizona Association for the Visually Impaired (SAAVI) and this week's Ben's Bellee. Nominated by Judith Schneider, a volunteer, for her ability to teach with with love, patience, skill, imagination, adaptations and integrity. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Diana Vargas Villa (center, holding Ben's Bell), Judith Schneider (far left, back row) and students of Diana's SAAVI art class.

  • Meet Dr. Dale Woolridge, chief medical examiner with the Southern Arizona Children's Advocacy Center and this week's Ben's Bellee! Nominated by Grace Kelley for the care and compassion he shows abused and neglected children in our community - making sure each one of them feels safe. Photo by Jeannette Maré of Dr. Dale Woolridge (center, holding Ben's Bells), and members of the Southern Arizona Children's Advocacy Center for Ben's Bells.

  • Meet Georgia Ehlers this week's Ben's Bellee! Nominated by Cameron Price for her work with the U of A Peace Corps Fellows Program. Georgia provides support to over 50 Graduate Student Fellows at the U of A. Price venerated Georgia's role, stating, "We'd be lost without her." Photo by Jeannette Maré of from L to R: Cameron Price, Jeannette Maré, Georgia Ehlers, Jodi Vander Ploeg

  • Meet Anita Brennan & the staff at Curves on E. Tanque Verde - this week's Ben's Bellee. Nominated by Evelyn Fretz for the care they provide her mother, Claire Theriot. Evelyn was in search of a fitness center that would provide Claire the support she needed to regain strength in her legs. Anita and the caring staff offered to stay with Claire throughout her exercise circuits, providing ongoing encouragement to her. Photo by Jeannette Maré of from L to R - Anita Brennan, Octavia Hancock, Evelyn Fretz, Silvia Vasquez and, in front, Claire Theriot

  • Meet Rosario Medina, an employee at Whataburger on River & LaCanada, and this week's Ben's Bellee. Rosario was nominated by Michelle Spano, a longtime customer, for always making a point to say hello, wave or provide a smile no matter how busy he might be. Photo by Jeannette Maré of (From L to R) Michelle Spano, Rosario Medina, Bernie Corrales, Leo Lara, Nikki McNeal and Alberto Caperon for Ben's Bellings.