The 2018 Saddle Notes Awards Breakfast was held June 5 at the SaddleBrookeOne clubhouse. Cash awards totaling $40,000 were presented to this year’s recipients in recognition of their outstanding services to our neighboring communities. Those recognized included the Amphitheatre Foundation’s “Math Plus” program, Central Arizona College Foundation, Family First Pregnancy Care Center and Family Diaper Bank, Little Hooves and Big Hearts, Marana-Foothills Optimist Club, the Tri-Community Food Bank, the Oracle School Foundation and Against Abuse.

As a result of the articles written by residents for the Saddlebag Notes and the more than 100 volunteers who deliver the paper each month, Saddle Notes Inc. is able to provide grants each year to organizations that strive to improve the lives of residents in communities neighboring SaddleBrooke. The Arizona Daily Star provides Saddle Notes Inc. a donation in recognition of the residents efforts to create and deliver the paper from Saddlebag Notes’ advertising revenue. Our advertisers, some of whom have advertised for many years, recognize the value of the Saddlebag Notes and its contributions to the community.

Saddle Notes, Inc. board members – Dave Taylor, Sally Haslett, Ray Wagner, Doris Helmich, Sherri Wyland, Jean Shaffer, Ted Demerritt and Linda Schreiber – take great pains in reviewing the applications each year and making the tough decisions on where the grant money will have the greatest impact.

Award Recipients for 2019:

  • The Amphitheatre Foundation’s “Math Plus” program provides tutoring to struggling students to improve their math proficiency. Through this effort grades have improved for these children. The Robotics program introduced a few years ago allows the children to see math’s real world applications. Dr. Robert Springer accepted the award, which will be used to provide more robots for the children to learn to program and operate.
  • Central Arizona College (CAC) awards “Promise for the Future” scholarships to graduating Pinal County high school students who have excelled in school. One of this year’s recipients, Emily Large, was able to attend the awards breakfast and spoke of her interest in becoming a teacher. Maria Munoz, the Aravaipa Campus Director, accepted the award for CAC.
  • Clare Grochocki once again accepted the award for Family First Pregnancy Care Center and Family Diaper Bank, Inc. Their organization provides diapers, wipes, bed linens and incontinence supplies to mothers of babies and to the elderly and disabled in Pinal and Gila counties. This program assists the disabled in participating more fully in society and helps mothers who would have difficulty leaving their children at day care while they work.
  • When it comes to the development of loving relationships, Little Hooves and Big Hearts has a unique formula - miniature horses wearing tiny sneakers who visit hospitals, rehab centers and other shut-ins for a “hands on” experience of a lifetime. Sue Robisch accepted their award to be used this year toward the purchase of a 6-seat Polaris utility vehicle to move feed and equipment and to transport volunteers to various locations on the property.
  • The Marana-Foothills Optimist Club is dedicated to “empowering children.” In conjunction with IMPACT of Southern Arizona, the Glasses for Kids Program program provides vision screening and two pairs of eyeglasses to needy children. Wally Smith accepted the award.
  • The Tri-Community Food Bank provides emergency food boxes to more than 300 families (900 individuals, a third of whom are children) each month. Its annual food drive in SaddleBrooke helps stock the shelves, but constant replenishing is needed to meet an ever-increasing demand. The Saddle Notes award allows the Food Bank to add two to three servings of meat to their food boxes. Judy Haberski was present to receive the award.
  • Against Abuse serves as an advocacy center providing assistance and counseling to 1,522 men, women and children impacted by domestic abuse. Last year their emergency Shelters provided 17,131 bednights for 630 survivors and their 18 transitional living sites provided another 7,317 bednights. They provided 1,946 hours of supervised visitation and 1,108 hours of safe exchange services. In addition, their volunteers provided 6,204 hours, 1,221 of which were for the animal safe home network. The organization provided 5,158 hours of non-shelter, community-based domestic and violence services and supports. Sylvia Procela and Maria Elena Ochoa accepted the award again this year for the Safe Journey House.
  • The Oracle School Foundation was formed five years ago. the Saddle Notes Award will make it possible to send three children to preschool this year. Preschool receives no state funding and many of those below the poverty level cannot afford to send their children to preschool. Maria Menconi accepted the award.

Special thanks to Jim Hagedon who volunteered his time and expertise to take professional-looking photos for this event.

You can help Saddle Notes continue to make grants to these worthy organizations by volunteering to deliver papers in your unit. Contact David Taylor at 520-818-3344 or