In my last column, in late December, I wrote about our family's desire to find a consistent volunteer opportunity for the four of us. We have had difficulty finding that, and I asked readers to write in with suggestions. I would like to thank the readers who shared the following leads with me:
• Beads of Courage is a national charity, founded in Tucson, that provides arts programs for children undergoing treatment for cancer and other serious illnesses
• Ben's Bells is a Tucson-based organization committed to inspiring and recognizing kindness through the creation and distribution of bells and its kindness programs.
• Jewish Family and Children's Service of Southern Arizona is a nonprofit agency providing social and behavioral health services to people of all ages, religions and races.
• Miracle Square is a nonprofit group that provides an affordable, independent-living environment for elderly and disabled adults.
• Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona offers a "home away from home" for the families of children undergoing treatment at Tucson-area medical facilities.
• Tucson Clean and Beautiful Inc. offers programs such as "Trees for Tucson" and "Adopt-a-Park" aimed at preserving and improving the environment and enhancing the quality of life in the Tucson area.
Welcome to soccer
I think that I am now officially a "soccer mom." On Jan. 19 and 20, during the Tucson Association of Realtors Shootout, my two boys played in three soccer games each, and they both participated in the Soccer Olympics. I can't count how many hours my family spent that weekend playing, coaching, watching and driving to and from soccer.
But I am not complaining. I grew up playing soccer, and I love the sport. And Tucson is a great city for a soccer-loving family. There aren't many places in the United States where the soccer season runs from September through March. The weather is close to perfect for most of the practices and games.
Opportunities to watch professional soccer in Tucson have really taken off in the last couple of years, thanks to the managing partners of FC Tucson.
We have enjoyed going to some FC Tucson matches, and we will be watching four Major League Soccer teams in the Desert Diamond Cup in February at the Kino Sports Complex.
During the Shootout, Preston, our 9-year-old son, played his three games on fields at the Kino Sports Complex, where professionals have and will be practicing. The fields were in beautiful shape, and Preston thought it was cool to play there.
We have yet to travel for a soccer tournament, but I have a feeling that we will in the near future. Looks like this soccer mom is in it for the long haul!
On StarNet: Read Kelley Helfand's recent columns at azstarnet.com/kelleyhelfand
E-mail Kelley Helfand at firstname.lastname@example.org