Employee gives hope to at-risk children
In celebration of Arizona Gives Day, this year on April 4, we spoke with three SRP employees who support the community through volunteerism. Freddie Dobbins Jr. is profiled below. Also look out for stories about employees Joy Rivera and Nancy Brooks on why they volunteer.
Freddie Dobbins Jr. will always remember the times he and his wife, Rose, participated in the Backpack Giveaway back-to-school program for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley. They chaperoned children who were given $100 each to go shopping for school supplies and basic necessities such as sneakers and clothes. There was one stipulation: The money could only be spent on items for themselves.
Dobbins, who has represented SRP on the nonprofit’s board for more than 25 years, recalled that sometimes the children would try to sneak in an item or two for their sister, brother, mom or dad.
“Emotionally it was difficult to see because you know that there are others that need help,” said Dobbins, who was recently recognized by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the national organization, for outstanding service.
That’s what keeps him going, knowing that the volunteer work he and others do changes lives. Many of these at-risk children go on to college and make a better life for themselves, something they may not have been able to do without the nonprofit’s support.
The Boys & Girls Clubs’ mission is to ensure that children who lack adult supervision after school have an alternative to being out on the streets, where they could be victims of crime or engage in risky or illegal behavior. Boys & Girls Clubs offer an alternative to that, a place where kids can participate in activities that help them build self-esteem and develop health, fitness and safety skills.
A Senior Engineer in Engineering, Design & Drafting, Dobbins has been involved with the Boys & Girls Club since October 1990. At that time, he was already active in the community in organizations such as Junior Achievement and the Mentorship Education Network. But he wanted to do more for children, just as his parents did when he was growing up.
His mother helped other young mothers. His dad, who he describes as his true mentor, was a group leader for the first Cub Scout pack in his school. Dobbins credits his dad for teaching invaluable life lessons to many children as a result.
He recalls even at that young age playing basketball and seeing kids who didn’t have shoes to play in.
“I would loan them mine,” Dobbins said.
He believes in the power of nurturing children and giving them attention at a young age.
“I’ve learned that if you give kids an opportunity, they can become whatever they want to become,” Dobbins said.
He credits the strong culture of volunteerism at SRP for having a positive effect in the community and among employees as well.
“This has allowed me to grow as an employee and as a person,” Dobbins said.
Featured photo: SRP employee Freddie Dobbins Jr, with his wife, Rose. Photo courtesy of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley.