(no grinches allowed)
Mark your calendar for these five, fun, festive celebrations of the holiday season! From sharing tea with characters from The Nutcracker, to listening to carols in a historic church, to experiencing a procession honoring the birth of Jesus, there is a wide variety of things to do.
Winterhaven Festival of Lights
The Winterhaven Festival of Lights is one of the longest running holiday celebrations of its kind in the country! Held annually since 1949, it is visited by thousands of people from all over Southern Arizona. It’s hard to believe that nearly 70 years have passed since CB Richards purchased the first set of Christmas lights and donated them to the neighborhood. He was inspired to create the festival after visiting a similar display in Beverly Hills, California, in the 1930s. He purchased theadder may have sufficed 69 years ago, putting lights up in the mature Allepos now requires the assistance of Aleppo pines (still thriving today) from a local nursery that was going out of business. They were planted at regular intervals throughout the neighborhood with electrical hook-ups near each tree. Every year, visitors and residents delight in the magic of seeing these elder Aleppos lit up by hundreds of twinkling lights. Although a simple lCOX Cable and Tucson Electric Power, now a proud sponsor of the event. “It’s pretty amazing,” says this year’s chairmen Mariel Hall, of the massive undertaking. Contrary to popular belief, the Winterhaven HOA does not require residents to put up lights. However, Hall says it’s hard not to, “You just get the fever.” Aside from bringing a little Christmas cheer to the Tucson community, the main focus is to raise funds and food for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, a partnership that has been flourishing since the ’80s. In fact, the Winterhaven Festival of Lights is the largest fundraiser they have, and last year $23,820 was raised, along with 49,631 pounds of food! Visitors are welcome to experience the festival on foot or, for a more whimsical experience, reserve a hayride, party bike or trolley limo. There also is a drive-through night on Dec. 26. Donation stations are set up at all four entrances to the neighborhood — open 24 hours a day.
69th Annual Winterhaven Festival of Lights
6-10 p.m. every day Admission free, but donations are encouraged.
For more information visit WinterhavenFestival.org
18th Annual Sugar Plum Tea
This delightful annual tradition features live music and dance performances, shopping and scrumptious treats, all to benefit Ballet Tucson — our city’s only professional ballet company. Ballet Tucson’s Sugar Plum Tea will offer a dazzling array of delicious nibbles to accompany the tea and hot cocoa. Adult guests will have the opportunity to try to outbid one another during a silent auction for fabulous prizes, or enjoy shopping the Holiday Boutique for Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers. Live music of the season will be performed by pianist Jeff Haskell, vocalist Katherine Byrnes and harpist Christine Vivona. Characters from The Nutcracker will appear at the event, and Ballet Tucson’s dancers will perform selections from the well-know holiday classic. Proceeds benefit Ballet Tucson, which was established in 1986, and presents a full season of high-quality professional dance productions, with works ranging from historical classics through contemporary pieces, many created by the company’s own choreographers. TucsonLifestyle.com is a media partner.
18th Annual Sugar Plum Tea
1 p.m. Tucson Marriott University Park Hotel Tickets:
$75 per person
24th Annual Parade of Lights & Festival
Downtown Tucson’s premier holiday event — the Parade of Lights & Festival — brings together Tucsonans from all walks of life to celebrate not just the spirit of the winter season but also the unique culture of our community. Mark the date on your calendar, Saturday, Dec. 15, and make plans for a festive evening for the entire family. The grand scale procession will weave throughout an illuminated and decorated downtown, and you can expect to see a cavalcade of colorful floats, Folklórico dancers adorned with brilliant lights, marching mariachis and … parading pups! The parade is adjacent to Jacome Plaza, where a fabulous festival will be held. You’ll enjoy live entertainment as well as a smorgasbord of foods from local vendors. And … be ready for some Snow!! The parade — presented by Carondelet Health Network and Downtown Tucson Partnership — starts at the intersection of Church Avenue and Alameda Street. For additional information go to downtowntucson.org.
24th Annual Parade of Lights & Festival
Saturday Time: 6:30 p.m.
Parade Start: Church Avenue and Alameda Street
Students from Carrillo K-5 Magnet School invite Tucsonans to participate in Las Posadas, an event featuring music, dance, food and fun, which begins at 5 p.m. on Dec. 14. Las Posadas (translated in English as “the inns”) is a nine-day Mexican Christmas tradition based on the Biblical journey of Mary and Joseph and their search of a safe place, or “inn,” to stay before the birth of Jesus. The Carrillo event was started in 1936 by teacher Marguerite Collier, who brought the custom to the school to instill pride of culture in the children of Mexican heritage. Today, the school children join in an after-school program to practice songs, learn the meanings of the characters they play, and even help create props for the procession. From 20 to 40 children usually participate, with “roles” ranging from peasants, “the knocker boy” (who knocks on doors) and pink, blue and white angels. Las Posadas begins at the school, where music, food and folklórico dancing are enjoyed. The children then lead the procession through the streets near the school DEC. Las Posadas 14 (blocked off by TPD for safety), where several “white angels” carry a nativity scene (La Nacimiento). The “knocker boy” will approach several homes, asking “if there is room at the inn.” When they finally reach the fifth, representing the inn at Bethlehem, the nativity scene is placed, and the procession returns to the school for more multi-cultural songs and a distribution of candy. In some years, nearly 300 Tucsonans are part of the procession! This is the 82nd time Carrillo K-5 Magnet School has staged Las Posadas. No TUSD funds are used in staging. It is self-funded by teachers and parents who volunteer to help; the school also holds fundraisers specifically to defray costs. Teachers, parents and support staff members help to decorate, sell food, get ready and clean up following the visit. Proceeds from food sales will go toward next year’s procession. The children also will perform Las Posadas at Presidio San Agustín as part of their Luminaria Nights event on Dec. 8, which runs from 4 to 7:30 p.m.
5 p.m.; procession begins at 7 p.m.
Carrillo K-5 Magnet School
4405 S. Main Ave.
Admission is free, food is sold
Patronato Christmas at San Xavier
Alandmark setting, two choruses that are renowned for their talent, and a repertoire that is guaranteed to provide comfort and joy add up to a series of concerts that even angels would stop to hear. For Julian Ackerley, director of the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus, one of the choirs that participates in this remarkable concert, it has been a more than two-decade commitment. “We’re going into our 22nd year of doing it, and it has evolved into a really good format,” he observes. “The Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus is integral in the centuries-old tradition of liturgical music using men and boys’ voices. We do a lot of shared repertoire with the Sons of Orpheus, and then both groups are highlighted with individual music.” Four works that will be performed by the boys chorus this year during these concerts at Mission San Xavier del Bac are, “He Is Born,” by Barry Talley, “Candlelight Carol” by John Rutter, “Hark The Herald/Praise His Holy Name (Gospel Style)” by Keith Hampton, and “Carol of the Bells” by Mykola Leontovich. The concert is a fundraiser for the Patronato San Xavier, which works to conserve the mission, construction of which began in 1756. “The historic nature of the building makes it an incredible environment, and the acoustics are very favorable to the music,” notes Ackerley. “But just looking around at all the icons and the statuary, and being amongst that in a packed house seven times during the week is a very special thing for an 11 or 12 year old to experience. I tell the boys about the history of the mission and we take a little tour of it so that every year they know they aren’t just going to sing in some church. I think that they really value the longevity of the building and its significance in Arizona culture.” TL
Patronato Christmas at San Xavier
6 pm and 8 pm
Mission San Xavier del Bac
True gems of the citrus family, lemons brighten up gardens and tables at this time of year.
By Debby Larsen
Lemons (Citrus limon) have evolved from a rare and exotic fruit to an essential staple in many kitchens. Prized for their sunny color and refreshing tart flavor, they are thought to have originated in India two thousand years ago. Eventually, cultivation spread to Northern Africa, the Mediterranean region, and into Europe. During the age of colonization, lemons arrived on distant shores. Columbus brought them with him to Haiti, Portuguese sailors took them to Brazil and the Spanish planted the fruit in Florida. Spanish missionaries also introduced lemons to California. Lemons were taken on long sea voyages to help prevent scurvy, a multi-symptom disorder caused by lack of vitamin C.
The lemon tree has a vigorous, spreading growth habit. It prefers a location with adequate sun exposure, and it is more frost-sensitive than other citrus varieties. Very little pruning is necessary, except for removal of suckers that sprout up from the roots or at the graft point. Lower branches should be left alone to help protect the trunk from sunburn.
Water slow and deep once a week during the summer and twice a week the rest of the year. The tree well should be as wide as the canopy. Build a berm sloping away from the trunk to the edge of the canopy.
Fertilize three times a year, in February, May and September. Wait until lemons turn yellow to harvest them because they will only ripen on the tree.
Many varieties are available at your local nursery; ask for help to choose the correct type and size for your location. Available tree sizes range from standard and semi-dwarf to dwarf.
Eureka Lemon (Citrus limon “Eureka”) originated in Italy and was cultivated commercially in California for culinary use. It is high in acidity, possesses very few seeds and is excellent for cooking. The medium-sized tree has few thorns and an open growth pattern. Eureka is the least cold-hardy of the lemon varieties. The fruit is 2-5 inches in diameter.
Pink Variegated Eureka Lemon (Citrus limon “Pink Variegated Eureka”), a cultivar of the Eureka, has pink flesh with rough-textured, striped green and gold rind that mellows to yellow when mature. The foliage also is variegated, so it’s a nice ornamental. The tree can grow up to 15 feet but also is suitable for a container. It is frost-sensitive.
Improved Meyer Lemon (Citrus limon “Meyeri”) is a hybrid between a tart lemon and sweet orange. It is thin-skinned and sweeter than regular lemons, making it a favorite among home gardeners and cooks. Improved Meyer has medium-sized fruit with a yellow-orange glossy rind. The tree has a shrubby appearance, and the fruit remains on the tree for several months. It is the most cold-tolerant of all lemon varieties.
Lisbon Lemon (Citrus limon “Lisbon”) originated in Portugal and is cultivated in California. Commercial growers prefer Lisbon lemons for their drought-tolerance, cold- and wind-hardiness, and productivity. It is know for its strong acid flavor, thin skin, few seeds and plentiful juice. This is the variety most often found in grocery stores. Lisbon lemons are not outwardly distinguishable from the Eureka variety.
Santa Teresa Lemons (Citrus limon “Santa Teresa”) is a disease-resistant hybrid native to Sorrento, Italy. The fruit is large, with a round, elongated shape. Santa Teresas are high in acidity with an intense aroma, lots of juice and few seeds. They are used in Italy to make limoncello. These trees are offered by specialty growers for home gardens.
Ponderosa (Citrus limon “Ponderosa”) is a hybrid cross of a lemon and a citron. This medium-sized tree is very thorny with large leaves and fragrant blooms, and is cold-sensitive. It produces lemons the size of grapefruits that can weigh from 2-5 pounds. The taste is very acidic, so Ponderosa lemons most often are grown as ornamentals.
More Than Just Lemonade
This small fruit has influenced cultures and cuisines in every country where it has flourished. Lemons bring out the flavors of other ingredients in foods. Prized by cooks, they add just the right zip to savory dishes and their tartness shines in all desserts. The thinner-skinned lemons usually contain more juice, while those with thicker skin tend to have a more flavorful zest.
2½ cup flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1¼ cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
2¼ cup granulated sugar
9 Tbsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. lemon extract
½ cup flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
Zest of 1 lemonPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, powdered sugar and butter. Beat at low speed for one minute, then at medium speed until mixture is crumbly. Press dough into a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crust looks firm and lightly browned.
Combine eggs, sugar, lemon juice, lemon extract and lemon zest. Mix flour and baking soda into egg mixture and beat at low speed, just until blended. It should foam to the top of the bowl if baking soda is fresh.
Pour over hot crust.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until middle is set. Should be lightly browned and pulling away from pan edges.
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
6 egg yolks
Pinch of salt
Whisk together the melted butter, sugar, lemon juice, zest and salt in a medium saucepan. Add egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Place saucepan over low heat and cook slowly, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Cook a minute or two longer, but do not boil. Remove from heat and cool. Store in a covered container and refrigerate until use. It will keep for 3 weeks and can be frozen for 2 months.
Yields 2 cups.
1 14-ounce package sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
¼ tsp. salt
4 large egg whites
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the coconut, almonds, sugar, lemon zest, and salt. In a separate bowl combine egg whites and beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into coconut mixture. Drop mounds of the mixture (about 2 tablespoons each) onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the edges begin to brown, 20-25 minutes. Transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.
Yields: 24 cookies
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
½ tsp. lemon extract
½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt and whisk together. Beat the eggs, sugar, lemon zest and extracts with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes. Fold in the dry ingredients with a whisk. Then, fold in the butter the same way. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Butter and flour the madeleine pan. Divide the batter into 12 molds. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from the pan immediately and let cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an air-tight container. Makes 1 dozen.
Calendar of Events
Whether you’re looking for a 5K run or black-tie gala, myriad choices offer you the opportunity to have fun and help worthy causes.*
2 End of Life Community Conference
A fundraiser for Casa de la Luz. 7:30 a.m. Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa. 520-351-5441;
2 The Fall Fare
A fundraiser for Mobile Meals of Southern Arizona. 5 p.m. St. Philip’s Plaza. 520-622-1600;
2 The Gray & White Fete
A fundraiser for The Center for Neurosciences Foundation. 7 p.m. Park Avenue. 520-529-5211;
3 Fly! Gala
A fundraiser for the Tucson Audubon Society. 5 p.m. Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa. 520-629-0510;
3 3rd Annual Lightweight Women’s North American Highland Games Championship
An event through Clan Bacon celebrating Scottish culture. 9 a.m. Rillito Race Track. 520-250-1879;
3 Masterpiece Festival, Craft Fair
A fundraiser by Welcome Club North West to support Wings for Women. 9 a.m. St. Marks UMC, 1431 W. Magee Rd. 916-390-9970;
3 Small Wonders Art Exhibit and Sale
A fundraiser for The Drawing Studio. Members 5 p.m.; General public 6 p.m. The Drawing Studio, 2760 N. Tucson Blvd. 520-620-0947;
4 Take a Hike for BAG IT
A fundraiser for BAG IT. 7:30 a.m. Catalina State Park. 520-575-9602;
4 Boots & Bling Gala
A fundraiser for Reachout Women’s Center. 4 p.m. Tanque Verde Ranch. 520-321-4300;
A fundraiser for Handi-Dogs, Inc. 11 a.m. The Gregory School. 520-326-3412;
5 Fall Fundraiser
A fundraiser for Desert Christian Schools. 6:30 p.m. Desert Christian High School. 520-991-5591;
8 Fast Pitch Tucson
A fundraiser for Social Venture Partners Tucson. 5 p.m. Leo Rich Theater. 520-209-2879;
8-15 Loft Film Fest
A fundraiser for The Loft Cinema. Times TBD. The Loft Cinema. 520-795-0844;
9 CRUSH Party!
A fundraiser for the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block. 6 p.m. Tucson Museum of Art. 520-624-2333;
9 JL Tapped
A fundraiser for Junior League of Tucson, Inc. 5 p.m. Borderlands Brewing Co. 520-299-5753;
10 Walk to End Alzheimer’s
A fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association, Inc. 8 a.m. Reid Park. 520-322-6601;
10 YMCA Community Military Ball
A fundraisr for YMCA of Southern Arizona. 6 p.m. Tucson Convention Center. 520-623-5511;
14 11th Annual Building Bridges Awards Luncheon
A fundraiser for Linkages. 12 p.m. JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa; 520-571-8600;
15 World Cord Blood Day 2018
A worldwide event of the Save the Cord Foundation. Register at www.worldcordbloodday.org. 520-419-0269;
16 2018 Chasing Rainbows Gala
A fundraiser for the Fox Tucson Theatre Foundation. 5 p.m. Fox Tucson Theatre. 520-547-8602;
16 National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon
A fundraiser for the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Southern Arizona. 11 a.m. Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa. 520-748-2830;
17 Family Matters – 85 Years of Strengthening Families
A fundraiser for Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona. 6 p.m. El Conquistador Tucson. 520-670-0809;
17 Jerôme Beillard Festival For Life
A fundraiser for Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation. Time TBD. Tucson Convention Center. 520-547-6099;
24 Western Heritage Festival
A fundraiser for Arizona Sonora Western Heritage Foundation. 10 a.m. Old Tucson Studios. 520-883-0100;
27 #Giving Tuesday
An online fundraiser for New Creation Trades. 12:01 a.m. Facebook, online. 520-333-6130;
27 Inspired Learning Starts Here Wine Tasting & Silent Auction
A fundraiser for Make Way for Books. 5:30 p.m. Sand Reckoner, 510 N. 7th Ave. 520-398-6451;
30 Luminarias for Lacey
A fundraiser for the Lacey Jarrell Foundation. 5 p.m. Location TBD. 520-907-2860;
1 Holiday Festival of the Arts and Tree Lighting
A fundraiser for the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance. 10 a.m. Oro Valley Marketplace. 520-797-3959;
1 Jingle Bell Run
A fundraiser for The Arthritis Foundation. 8 a.m. Reid Park. (602) 428-8993;
5 Holiday Scholarship Luncheon
A fundraiser for The Symphony Women’s Association. 11 a.m. Tucson Country Club. 520-296-8126;
8 The Angel Ball
A fundraiser for Angel Charity for Children, Inc. 5:30 p.m. Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa. 520-326-3686;
8 Holiday Luncheon
A fundraiser for Arizona Opera League Tucson. 11 a.m. Hacienda del Sol. 520-327-7983;
9 Holiday High Tea
A fundraiser for Tucson Cancer Conquerors. 1 p.m. Loews Ventana Canyon. 520-505-1406;
6 Volunteer Showcase
An event for the Green Valley/Sahuarita Volunteer Clearinghouse. 10 a.m. GVR West Social Center, 111 S. Via Arcoiris. 520-393-0317;
A fundraiser for the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. 5 p.m. Fox Tucson Theatre. 520-647-8472;
11 Eagle Recognition Dinner
An event for the Boy Scouts of America, Catalina Council. 6 p.m. Davis-Monthan AFB, Club Ironwood. 520-750-0385;
20 Love Your World
A fundraiser for World Care. 7 a.m. Fiesta Park. 520-514-1588;
25 Donation Day
Assistance League is accepting donations of used items and school supplies. 9 a.m. 1307 N. Alvernon Way. 520-326-8452;
26 The Black Tulip Gala
A fundraiser for the Tucson Botanical Gardens. 4 p.m. Tucson Botanical Gardens. 520-326-9686;
26 Unsung Heroes Dinner & Awards Gala
A fundraiser for Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Foundation (SALEF). 5 p.m. Loews Ventana Canyon. 520-207-2878;
1 2019 Butterfly Gala
A fundraiser for Integrative Touch for Kids. 6 p.m. Loews Ventana Canyon. 520-308-4665;
2 Stars in the Old Pueblo
A fundraiser for the Foothills Club of Tucson. 5 p.m. Oasis at Wild Horse Ranch. 520-904-8900;
2 Tucson Heart Ball
A fundraiser for the American Heart Association. 6 p.m. JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa. 520-917-7522;
2 5K Family Ribbon of
A fundraiser for St. Luke’s Home, celebrating 100 years. 8 a.m. University of Arizona Mall. 520-207-0849;
8 Rising Stars Golf Tournament
A fundraiser for San Miguel High School. 7 a.m. Omni Tucson National, Catalina Course. 520-294-6403;
9 Beads, Blues and
A fundraiser for Beads of Courage, Inc. Time TBD. 3230 N. Dodge Blvd. 520-344-7668;
9 “L’Door V’Dor”* 50 Years on 5th Street Gala
A fundraiser for Congregation Anshei Israel. Time TBD. 5550 E. 5th St. at Craycroft. 520-745-5550;
16 Empty Bowls
A fundraiser for the Green Valley Assistance, Inc., dba Valley Assistance Services (VAS). 11 a.m. 2800 S. Camino del Sol, Green Valley. 520-625-5966;
16 Hillel Presents “Fried Chicken and Latkes”: A Show by Rain Pryor
A fundraiser for the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation. 7:30 p.m. Leo Rich Theater. 520-624-6561;
16 Out Brunch
A fundraiser for Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation. Time TBD. Tucson Jewish Community Center. 520-547-6099;
25 The Women of Quail Creek Annual Fashion Show “Under One Umbrella”
A fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. 10 a.m. Madera Crystal Ballroom. 520-979-4942;
27 Business Leaders for Early Education Breakfast
A fundraiser for the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona. 7 a.m. 520-903-3902;
27 Celebration & Roast: Mayor Johnathan Rothschild
A fundraiser for Step Up to Justice. 5:30 p.m. Tucson Electric Power Ballroom. 520-465-1513.
1 Falcon Band March to Macy’s Gala
A fundraiser to support the band program at Catalina Foothills High School. Time TBD. Skyline Country Club. 703-357-7926;
2 The Steven M. Gootter Foundation Gala
A fundraiser for the Steven M. Gootter Foundation. 6 p.m. Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa. 520-615-6430;
A fundraiser for the Jewish Foundation of Southern Arizona. 10 a.m. Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa. 520-647-8469;
16 Out of the Ruff for Goldens
A fundraiser for Southern Arizona Golden Retriever Rescue. 7 a.m. El Conquistador Golf Center at Oro Valley Community Center. 520-792-4653;
16 Silver Spike Festival
A fundraiser for the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum. 10 a.m. 414 N. Toole Ave. 520-623-2223;
23 Crush Gala
A fundraiser for Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block. 5 p.m. Tucson Museum of Art Campus. 520-624-2333;
27 Family is YOU!
A fundraiser for Youth On Their Own; 12 p.m. Location TBD. 520-545-0598;
29 Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s 90 Birthday Party hosted by the TSOL
A fundraiser for the Tucson Symphony Orchestra League (TSOL). 5 p.m. The Lodge at Ventana Canyon. 520-742-5778;
29 Women of IMPACT Luncheon
A fundraiser for IMPACT of Southern Arizona. 11 a.m. Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa. 520-825-0009;
30 Pinwheels for Healing
A fundraiser for Southern Arizona Children’s Advocacy Center. 10 a.m. Southern Arizona Children’s Advocacy Center. 520-724-6600;
An event for Cinderella’s Closet. 9 a.m. Tucson Jewish Community Center. 520-270-7833;
Date TBD Saguaro Circle
A fundraiser for Arizona Land and Water Trust. Time and place TBD. 520-577-8564;
2 Arizona Gives Day
A 24-hour online fundraiser for GAP Ministries, Treasures 4 Teachers of Tucson and Beacon Group.1 a.m., all day.
https://www.azgives.org/gapmin; www.t4teachers.org; https://www.azgives.org/BeaconGroup
6 Doggie Shorts – A Furry Film Festival
A fundraiser for Handi-Dogs, Inc. 6 p.m. The Loft Cinema. 520-326-3412;
6 100th Baile de las Flores
A fundraiser for St. Luke’s Home. 6 p.m. JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa. 520-207-0849;
6 NAMIWalks Southern Arizona
A fundraiser for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Southern Arizona. 9 a.m. Kennedy Park Fiesta Area. 520-622-5582;
6 Salpointe Catholic Education Foundation Gala
A fundraiser for Salpointe Catholic High School. 5 p.m. Tucson Convention Center. 520-547-1952;
13 The Gala
A fundraiser for the Pima Council on Aging. 6 p.m. Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa. 520-790-0504;
13 Relays Track Event for Southern Arizona Middle Schools
An event created by the Kiwanis de Amigos Club. 8 a.m. University of Arizona Track and Field. 520-743-2949;
17 Dine Out for Safety
A fundraiser for Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault. All day at various Tucson restaurants. 520-323-1171;
20 Dancing With Our Stars
A fundraiser for Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona. 5:30 p.m. Loews Ventana Canyon. 520-225-0097;
24 Annual Luncheon – The Largest Nonprofit Luncheon in Tucson
An event for the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona. 12 p.m. Tucson Convention Center. 520-622-8886;
25 Good Scout Awards Luncheon
An event of the Boy Scouts of America, Catalina Council. 11 a.m. Tucson Convention Center. 520-750-0385;
26 Annual Mother of the Year Luncheon
A fundraiser for Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse. 11 a.m. JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa. 520-795-8001;
26 Celebration of Kindness
A fundraiser for Ben’s Bells Project. 6 p.m. Ben’s Bells Downtown Studio, 40 W. Broadway. 520-622-1379;
27 TASL Scholarship Luncheon
A fundraiser for Tucson Arthritis Support League. 11 a.m. Skyline Country Club. 520-742-5778;
4 A Legacy of Excellence College Scholarship Benefit
A fundraiser for TUSD’s African American Seniors who have excelled in the classroom. 6 p.m. JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa. 520-609-7943;
4 March for Babies Tucson
A fundraiser for The March of Dimes. 7 a.m. DeMeester Outdoor Performance Center. 602-287-9932;
5 Drive “Fore” Sight Classic
A fundraiser for the Tucson Breakfast Lions Club. 7 a.m. Forty Niner Golf Club. 520-323-2522;
11 Remarkable Celebration
A fundraiser for Tu Nidito Children and Family Services. 6 p.m. Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa. 520-990-1403;
11 We Care
A fundraiser for Parent Aid. 5 p.m. J.W. Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa. 520-798-3304;
8 Casino Night
A fundraiser for Team Lizzie Bell. 7:30 p.m. 4630 N. Paseo Aquimuri. 520-288-1509;
15 Treasures for TIHAN
A fundraiser for the Tucson Interfaith HIV/AIDS Network (TIHAN). 6 p.m. Tucson Marriott University Park Hotel. 520-299-6647;
21-23 Weekend of Worship: Women of Courage – Arise Victorious
A fundraiser for Vine of Grace Retreat Ministry, Inc. 6 p.m. Radisson Suites Tucson. 520-631-1408;
1 50th Anniversary Celebration
A festive event for Pima Community College Foundation. Time and Location TBD. 520-206-4646;
Meet the National Philanthropy Day Award Winners
The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Southern Arizona Chapter, recognizes those in the community who “change the world with a giving heart.” The AFP National Philanthropy Day Awards luncheon is an annual event at which numerous volunteers are thanked for outstanding contributions to the community.
Outstanding Philanthropists: James and Louise Glasser
If the names James and Louise Glasser seem familiar, it’s because they’re part of the name of a new gallery at the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block.
After last year’s major renovation that closed most of the museum for several months, the James H. and Louise R. Glasser Gallery was dedicated recently as the new space for major museum exhibitions.
The naming recognizes the couple’s contribution, a major $500,000 gift that launched the museum’s fundraising effort. Ultimately, $1.15 million was raised for an endowment and the renovation that added gallery space, installed new equipment, moved the gift shop and freshened the galleries and grounds.
The Glassers will now be noted publicly by the museum and its art-loving visitors whenever the gallery is mentioned. In reality, for more than 27 years the couple has quietly and regularly supported many organizations in Tucson with financial contributions, board memberships and fundraising leadership.
“They are the epitome of true philanthropists,” says Alba Rojas-Sukkar, the art museum’s chief development officer. “They give in every way and they do it with a full and selfless heart. They never want recognition; they are never ostentatious.”
For their work in social, economic, cultural and environmental causes, they have been named the 2018 Outstanding Philanthropists by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Southern Arizona Chapter.
Stephanie Sklar, chief executive officer of the Sonoran Institute, likes to call them “a true power couple for philanthropy.” The list of beneficiaries of their support is long, including the University of Arizona College of Fine Arts, Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Community Foundation of Southern Arizona and the Contemporary Art Society.
The individual interests of Jim and Louise create a well-rounded portfolio of causes they support. “I choose organizations that coincide with my interests and the needs of the community and environment in which I live,” says Louise. “Much of Jim’s focus is on cultural organizations.”
The couple originally is from Chicago, where Jim variously served as president, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of GATX Corp., a railcar leasing company. He also sat on several other corporate boards of directors in the banking, life insurance and manufacturing industries. The Glassers were visible supporters of civic and charitable organizations in art, education, health and the environment in the Midwestern city.
But before all that, he and Louise married in Chicago, started a family of three children and lived in Tucson for 18 months while Jim ran GATX’s water treatment products subsidiary, Infilco. Even during that 1969-1970 span, Louise dove in to help the community, volunteering at Tucson Medical Center and for Planned Parenthood. That’s not surprising.
“I come from a philanthropic and volunteering family,” she explains. “As a teen, I volunteered at our local hospital, as did my mother, and at a Chicago Settlement House.” She has chaired her family’s charitable foundation for many years.
After Infilco was sold to another company, the couple moved away and spent most of the remainder of Jim’s career in Chicago. They made their way back to Tucson and have lived in their current home here since 1991.
Louise says her most satisfying moment of community service in Tucson stemmed from her board service and endowment campaign leadership for the Sonoran Institute. Her work contributed to the environmental protection group’s efforts that released water from the Morelos Dam into the Colorado River, allowing it to reach its delta for the first time in 20 years.
Jim says his most satisfying philanthropic moment was his contribution to transforming the Tucson Museum of Art. That capped a relationship that includes creating an endowment for an art curator and continuing service on the board of trustees.
“The arts have been significant to our family,” he said when the couple’s gift and the renovation fundraising campaign were announced last year. “We believe art is education and inspiration.
“As friends of the museum, Louise and I have seen thousands of children and adults engage with art and each other. It makes us happy to be able to express our commitment to the museum and help expand upon the role it plays in our community.”
Outstanding Fundraising Executive: Hilary Van Alsburg
By day, Hilary Van Alsburg is the director of development for the University of Arizona Libraries. By night — and weekends — she volunteers for organizations that work to better the environment, education, people of limited means and animals. She humbly accepts the Outstanding Fundraising Executive award for her entire UA Libraries team.
“No one gets to be named Outstanding Fundraising Executive without having an amazing support system,” says Van Alsburg, “and the credit really goes to them.”
Raising funds for an organization takes dedicated and talented folks in marketing, outreach, human resources, data entry, research, finance and frontline positions, she says. “And if you have ‘coordinator‘ or ‘assistant’ in your title, double thank you,” she adds.
Van Alsburg formerly worked in development with the Humane Society of Southern Arizona and the Children’s Museum Tucson. Now she seeks major gifts that support the university’s library locations, four in all, plus special collections and the University Press.
She loves the variety of activity found in the departments she advocates for, from maintaining the seed library to providing virtual reality technology to medical students; from preserving Edward Abbey’s journals to exploring an asteroid with the OSIRIS REx mission. “It is no exaggeration to say I learn new things every day,” she says.
Her personal volunteerism is just as varied. It includes the Primavera Foundation, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild’s Youth Task Force, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona, Educational Enrichment Foundation and the local Association of Fundraising Professionals.
She has helped organize major fundraising events, pursued grants and served on boards. She admits that one of her cooler accomplishments was winning the Education Enrichment Foundation’s fundraising celebrity spelling bee. “I’m a shoo-in for anything to do with education,” she says. “Supporting organizations that assist educators is where my passion lies.
“I think it’s important to be an active supporter and advocate for the organizations in our community that are making a tangible, immediate impact on the lives of people around us,” Van Alsburg says. She wants to set an example for her blended family of six children and husband, Michael. And she’s made an impression. “By now my family and friends are used to being part of the volunteer crew at any number of events around town,” she says.
Van Alsburg’s own parents saw what could become of their daughter. “They have memories of me championing causes and rallying around injustices from a very early age,” she says. She thinks that could be why they encouraged her to become a lawyer. It wouldn’t be her first career on the path to development.
Two years out of UA law school she opened Territories, an art gallery. A decade after running the store and while she volunteered at her kids’ school, she decided to get into teaching. “I was a part-time lawyer, running a gallery and taking online classes to get certified, with two young kids,” she says. “Crazy? Probably. Worth it? Absolutely.”
As a teacher she volunteered to help education-based groups, writing grants and soliciting funds for causes. “One day,” she says, “I realized I like this. I am good at this.” Getting into development seemed to draw on all her skills, particularly her ability to build relationships with a light touch and deep appreciation.
“Hilary’s very presence can light up a room,” says Ethan Smith Cox, director of development at the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation and the Association of Fundraising Professionals 2016 Outstanding Fundraising Executive. “She makes everyone feel welcome and appreciated, a key quality for any good fundraiser.”
“Good development work is always about connecting people with things you believe in and can advocate for from a place of integrity,” Van Alsburg says.
Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser: Page Chancellor Marks
“My number one passion is my children and their interests,” says Page Chancellor Marks, who has been managing attorney for much of the 24 years she’s worked at Goldberg & Osborne law firm.
Her twin daughters with her husband, Dr. Sheldon Marks, are why she became involved with the Reid Park Zoological Society, helping to raise $7 million for the zoo’s Expedition Tanzania elephant exhibit and its Conservation Learning Center.
“When my daughters were young and we spent all of our time at the zoo, I joined the Zoological Society Board because of the joy the zoo brought me and my friends when we visited there with our young children,” says Marks.
That theme has carried on for some 15 years. Once the girls started attending Catalina Foothills public schools in District 16, Marks helped the district’s foundation organize the Love Our Schools Gala to raise between $30,000 and $60,000 yearly. She served on the Ben’s Bells board of directors after working on a project at the girls’ middle school.
After the twins joined a Girl Scout troop, Marks led a $2.7 million capital campaign for the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona’s A Place for Girls, a center for health and wellness activities.
For these and many other activities, Marks has been named the 2018 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year.
Although her daughters’ interests gave Marks, 51, many new avenues for volunteering, that passion to help emerged during her Canyon del Oro High School days. “I was very involved in lots of clubs and organizations,” she recalls.
At the University of Arizona, she joined a sorority and other charitable groups. After earning her law degree at UA, her efforts to establish her career included volunteering with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Lawyers for Literacy. “Once I had children,” she says, “I really began to focus on charitable, non-legal-related organizations.”
Some of her other charitable works include serving on the governing board for St. Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church and acting as adviser and St. Luke’s Home liaison for National Charity League.
Marks sits on boards to help set direction for organizations, but she admits she loves to be hands-on in her volunteer work. For instance, she fondly talks about making crafts and playing bingo with the residents of St. Luke’s Home.
“I find the way that I can ‘walk the walk’ for charities is by asking for and obtaining money so that the organization can do its work,” she says.
She also enjoys educating those whom she calls “fortunate members in our community” about community needs that they can financially support. It’s this ability to convince people to help out that makes her an effective fundraiser.
Debbie Rich, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, tells the story of how an already busy Marks agreed to lead the fundraising effort for A Place for Girls. It was a tough and long campaign. “Page was our cheerleader and motivator,” says Rich, “reminding us that every gift adds up and if we stay the course, we would achieve our goals.”
That don’t-quit attitude is a hallmark of Marks’ passions. “I have to be passionate about the organization and the potential ‘ask,’” she says. “If I do not feel strongly about the mission or the cause, I will not get involved.”
Outstanding Foundation Philanthropist: Community Foundation of Southern Arizona
This fall the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona will open a Community Foundation Campus where a number of nonprofits will work at one location.
That will give CFSA officials a lot of room to figure out where to display the first ever Outstanding Foundation Philanthropist Award.
The new award recognizes nonprofit foundations with its own category. It used to be part of the award that was given to either a corporation or nonprofit foundation.
The award recognizes 38 years of CFSA efforts to meet community needs by helping donors find causes they can support. The foundation also manages charitable giving, teaches organizations how to grow and maintain endowments, provide financial and administrative support to newly formed organizations and create community partnerships to address big issues.
Its reach is wide and its services deep. Some of the causes CFSA supports include the environment, arts, culture, education, health, human services, economic development and animal welfare.
“The foundation has served thousands of donors who have given more than $175 million to the community and entrusted CFSA with the management of more than $145 million in assets,” says CFSA President and Chief Executive Officer J. Clinton Mabie. In 2017, the Community Foundation awarded more than $15 million in grants and over $400,000 in scholarships.
There are many examples of how the foundation’s work has created a robust philanthropic landscape. Here are a few.
It helped launch the African American Initiative that aims to create public, private and corporate collaboration to address economic and social needs in this community. Says Wyllstyne Hill, the initiative’s board chair: “Under the CFSA, AAI has a vision of what Southern Arizona can be when we bring together people, money and goodwill to make sure all our children, youth and families have the opportunities and resources to prosper.”
CFSA partners with the University of Arizona and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council to maintain the MAP (Make Action Possible for Southern Arizona) Dashboard. Its data provides a reliably accurate, up-to-date picture of economic and quality-of-life indicators.
“We often use data from the dashboard to describe the needs of our community to other funders,” says Beth Morrison, chief executive officer of Our Family Services that serves homeless families and youth.
The Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona depended on CFSA in its early years of development and growth. So did Social Venture Partners Tucson (SVP) and the Santa Cruz Community Foundation.
A partnership that CFSA formed with the David and Lura Lovell Foundation and 10 nonprofit groups provide end-of-life care for area residents.
By getting several interest groups together, the foundation helped create the Pima Alliance for Animal Welfare that works to make animal control centers more successful in adopting out rescues.
In 1980, Community leaders George H. Amos Jr., James Burns, Jim Click Jr., Edward R. Moore and F. Grainger Well founded what was then the Greater Tucson Area Foundation to help donors find causes to support. “CFSA’s founders believed that we needed to establish a permanent charitable endowment for the community to meet its evolving and changing needs,” says Mabie.
The foundation continues that mission and has become so successful that it had to relocate. The new campus at 5049 E. Broadway Blvd. allows CFSA and its initiatives to expand, plus provide shared and private space for as many as 30 nonprofit groups.
A conference room and other space will be open to the community for meetings, strategy sessions and drop-in work. “The CF Campus is a way to accommodate CFSA’s growth,” Mabie says, “while also creating a place for other nonprofits to convene, collaborate and work side by side.”
Casino Del Sol: Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist
In a formal compact with the state of Arizona, Casino del Sol, like all gaming businesses, is obliged to contribute a percentage of its gaming revenue to local cities, towns and counties. Those funds typically go to school districts, police forces and fire departments.
The Pascua Yaqui Tribe, which runs the casino, has partnered with government entities that agree to distribute the undisclosed amount to educational and nonprofit organizations, says Kimberly Van Amburg, the casino’s chief executive officer.
But that’s far from the end of the story. The casino contributes many more volunteer hours and dollars to the community. Because of that, it has been named Outstanding Corporation/Corporate Foundation for 2018. It’s the first such recognition after the AFP separated its former award that honored either a corporation or a nonprofit foundation.
The casino’s philanthropy spans both corporate and employee giving. The company discounts its conference and catering services to allow nonprofit groups to raise money while affordably putting on events. A few of these include the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson’s Steak and Burger Dinner, the Tucson International Mariachi Conference that benefits La Frontera Center, and the MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Honoring Heroes Recognition Dinner.
The company provides cash sponsorships for many events. It runs an annual charity golf tournament — this is the fourth year — that has raised more than $100,000 that has been distributed among Homicide Survivors, Youth on Their Own, Boys & Girls Clubs, Ronald McDonald House Charities Southern Arizona, Southern Arizona Children’s Advocacy Center and My Girl Power.
For Van Amburg, the casino’s workforce has equally stepped up to support important causes. “Some of the things we do that make me the most proud are the ones we donate our time to,” she says.
Employees have served on various boards and committees of nonprofit groups, including the American Red Cross of Southern Arizona, El Rio Health Center Foundation, Reid Park Zoological Society and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
Each year, company departments compete for a casino-paid pizza party by collecting diapers to meet the needs of tribal members. Casino chefs are renowned for voluntarily putting on magnificent spreads at events such as the one at the Ronald McDonald House. Kate Jensen, its president and chief executive officer, has a story about that.
In 2013, 13-year-old Nick, who was living at the house with a terminal illness that required the use of a wheelchair, had only one wish for Christmas. He wanted to have a prime rib dinner at a restaurant — a wish his mother couldn’t afford to fulfill.
On the same night as the annual dinner, Nick was going to spend the evening at an aunt’s home. While getting Nick ready, his mother broke down in tears and told a house manager about the wish.
Casino banquet chef Jeff Castro heard about this while he, his casino crew and his family were getting ready to serve dinner, which coincidentally was prime rib with all the fixings.
He went to help the teen into the car. “He told Nick to wait for a moment,” says Jensen, “and was back in a few minutes with a wagon-load of food for the entire family. Everyone shared a few tears and a young boy rode off with his first smile in a long time.”
Castro had been organizing this tradition before he joined the Casino del Sol staff. Company leadership saw to it that he could continue giving this gift. “We have been happy to carry on that tradition with him at the lead,” says Van Amburg. “It’s a great way to give back to the community.”
Cougar Bellinger: Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy
In Cougar Bellinger’s family, the adage “like father, like son” is a really good thing for the community.
“Father” is Kevin “Kairand” Bellinger, head of RAA (Ready4 America Alliance Inc.) Productions in Tucson.
The organization grew out of the Born Brave Bus Tour, a traveling educational event that addresses mental health and acceptance of youth. It’s a partnership between entertainer Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and the National Council for Behavioral Health.
Cougar and Kevin attended one of the events in Los Angeles when Cougar was 9 years old. It made a strong impression on the youngster, who now is a 16-year-old junior at Mountain View High School. “I participated in a march around downtown L.A. supporting anti-bullying,” Cougar recalls, “and I thought it was cool at the time.”
Cougar’s parents often took their young son to volunteer activities. “Over time it just became a normal thing I did with my dad,” Cougar says. Both spend a lot of time with RAA Productions, which aims to strengthen community relationships and provide youth with platforms to produce and perform at events. As Cougar got older, he started participating in events on his own as he continued with his dad’s work.
Today, Cougar concentrates on providing entertainment as his contribution to community events. He spends hours setting up band equipment; performing on drums, guitar or keyboard, and then tearing down the set.
He estimates that he and his indie rock band Tone Marbles have played at more than 60 community events, including activities for CarMax Cares, the Amado Youth Alliance, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson and the various festivals put on by RAA Productions. A highlight was playing at the pre-game festival for the 2016 Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl.
He’s also publicly spoken on behalf of the Amado Youth Alliance and led youth in organizing and participating in RAA Productions events to raise funds and promote community and service organizations.
The Association of Fundraising Professionals, Southern Arizona Chapter, has honored Cougar’s work with its Youth in Philanthropy Award. He is the first individual to win the award.
Other recognitions he’s received in his young volunteer life include earning a $5,000 grant that he donated to the YMCA Youth in Government program and an acknowledgement for his performance at a Tucson event recognizing Turn Your Life Around Counseling and Recovery Center.
Volunteering is part of the fabric of Cougar’s life. “Even though the work of setting up early is hard and practice is tedious,” he says, “it feels good to be doing these events while having fun with my friends helping the community. I do what other kids do, too, but I have this as another hobby.”
It’s a hobby that may turn into a career someday. Among the options Cougar is weighing — including event or media organizer or musician — is becoming a philanthropist consultant.
At least one person sees the potential. Krystal Meisel manages teacher leadership development for Teach for America Hawai’i. She and Kevin worked together on a summer learning initiative in Los Angeles.
It was through that relationship that Meisel received an email from Cougar asking for donations for a new drum set. “I immediately donated and, to my complete surprise, I received a personal phone call from Cougar thanking me for my contribution,” she says. “Cougar is altruistic, relationship-focused and remarkable at genuinely recognizing others for their contributions.”
For now, Cougar hopes he can act as a role model for his peers. “I hope to inspire other people my age to try to support the community with what talents they have,” he says.
By Elena Acoba | Photography by Tom Spitz
Dedicated To The Core
KYRIA SABIN WAUGAMAN’S VISIT TO TUCSON A FEW DECADES AGO WAS TO BE TEMPORARY — three or four months at most. She already had made plans to attend law school on the east coast and initiate a practice focused on the arts. But her passion project became a calling, then an international phenomenon, the worldrenown fitness- and life-enhancing philosophy — Fletcher Pilates. This year marks the 25th anniversary of her Body Works Pilates Studio, dedicated to enhancing lives through Pilates.
She grew up in the central mountains of Mexico, where her mother started the first bilingual school outside of Mexico City. She later attended Madeira, a school just outside of Washington, D.C., where she worked for the late Sen. Lloyd Bentsen. As a Duke University graduate, Kyria worked in galleries, museums and for corporate art collections in New York and Los Angeles. While at her post as director of an LA contemporary art gallery, she walked into the unassuming West Hollywood Pilates studio started by Ron Fletcher — who had been mentored by Joseph Pilates, creator of the practice — and run by his protégés. Having studied ballet as a child and competed in tennis and soccer through high school, she was no stranger to refined movement. She became a regular at the studio, and after two years of practice, attended a workshop given by Fletcher himself. She recalls a feeling of terror as the well-known taskmaster called her into his office to tell her he thought she would be an excellent teacher. He became her mentor and sent her to study with his protégés.
Kyria had immersed herself in Pilates practice and training when Karma Kientzler, fitness director at Canyon Ranch, invited her to Tucson to help develop the spa’s Pilates program. She says, “I fell in love with Tucson from the start. Friends from the coast didn’t understand why I would want to get off the track of being in a major city, and do what nobody else was doing at the time. I didn’t question it — it was the first time in my life where I didn’t have everything planned and mapped out. It felt like I was following my calling.”
Kyria taught part-time at Canyon Ranch and also in a studio on the second floor of her Ventana Canyon apartment — the original location of Body Works Studio, established in October 1993. Without advertising, she was soon working with nine clients per day, some of whom drove from as far as Phoenix. Body Works Pilates later moved to Campbell Avenue, then to its current home in St. Philip’s Plaza. Of this chic, natural light-infused space, she says, “This is my dream space.” To meet the demands of her increasing client base, Body Works Pilates Oro Valley Kyria Sabin Waugaman also chairs the National Certification Commission for Pilates Teachers. Photo by Tom Spitz. Dedicated To The Core on First Avenue and Tangerine Road opened in 2010.
“Tucson has been a wonderful place to grow my business and build my dreams. It has been a welcoming community and, from a business standpoint, it’s been much easier than in New York to do what I’ve done. It’s not just the work we’ve done in the studio, but the work we’ve done outside of it that is so important to me.” She developed a Pilates program for the University of Arizona School of Dance, (for which she also serves as adjunct faculty), and implemented the first Pilates program at an Arizona school system in the Amphi district. She also has taught pro-bono sessions for Haven Center for Women, the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, and breast cancer survivors.
Kyria’s reach extends far beyond the Old Pueblo. She convinced Fletcher to allow her to document his methodology and create a reproducible and certifiable teacher training program. The two worked together for nearly a decade developing it. Fletcher examined every detail, establishing his legacy. The Fletcher Pilates School was unofficially established in 1999, and in 2003 became Arizona’s first licensed Pilates school. There are now five branches across the United States, and the program is licensed in Europe, Asia, Canada and South America. Master Teacher Ron Fletcher passed away in 2011, but his legacy lives on. Aspiring Fletcher Pilates teachers from around the world train at Body Works Pilates studio in Tucson. At the time of this interview, students from Kentucky, Korea and Spain were in-house.
Kyria continues to update the Fletcher Program of Study curriculum and evaluate program participants. She also presents at symposia around the world and chairs the National Certification Commission for Pilates Teachers. Astonishingly, with all that she does, she remains hands-on, regularly sharing her extensive knowledge and guiding students at Body Works Pilates Studio. — Kimberly Schmitz