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Arizona Nonprofits: Subway Kids & Sports of Arizona

Written by Marilyn Hawkes Category: Culture Issue: November 2018
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Alison Bailin Batz has volunteered with Subway Kids & Sports of Arizona since first starting her career at HMA Public Relations in 2004.

 

Now HMA’s senior account executive, Bailin continues her involvement with Subway Kids & Sports, a nonprofit organization that provides at-risk kids across the state with sports equipment, uniforms, registration fees and access to major sporting events. Read on to find out about Bailin's  volunteer work.

Q: With so many nonprofits out there to volunteer with, what drew you to Subway Kids & Sports of Arizona?
A: It was two-fold. Subway Restaurants of Arizona was (and still is) a client. They were unique in that several of the local franchisees – as well as partners – got together and formed their own 501c3 nonprofit called Alison Headshot 2015Subway Kids & Sports of Arizona a few years prior. Our team at HMA provided pro bono service to Subway Kids & Sports of Arizona to help support the cause. I think my first actual “adult” story pitch to the media was about their monthly bicycle program, which is called Cycle for Success. What started out as pro bono work I got to do during the work day evolved over the past 15 years into a formal board position and active volunteerism well beyond sending out information about their good works. By a longshot!

Second, I played sports throughout my youth and into high school. Being involved in sports help make me into who I am today. It instilled in me a competitive drive, a drive I want all kids to have the chance to learn. This is my little way of helping them.

Q: What do you do for the organization as a volunteer?
A: I have three primary functions on the board. First, I am lucky enough to be a part of the grant donation review and approval process. This year, we were able to grant more than $60,000 and just gave out our millionth dollar.

Second, I coordinate our monthly bicycle program: Cycle for Success. This program has been operating for more than a decade and focuses on increasing children’s self-esteem, encouraging the community to become involved in the lives of at-risk children and promoting random acts of kindness in local schools. Through a teacher-led nomination program, Subway Kids & Sports of Arizona and The Be Kind People Project partner with our friends at Dasani, Shamrock and Subway Restaurants to award special children with bikes, helmets and locks (not to mention a party in their classroom with Subway) each month to thank them for random acts of kindness that may otherwise go unnoticed, and to encourage community involvement in the lives of at-risk youth.

Finally, I help head up our annual fundraising program –a two-day Top Golf and then traditional golf tournament presented by West Liberty Foods and supported by Coca-Cola, Mobivity, Diversified Restaurant Systems, Craftmark Bakery, Shamrock and many more. Without these events – not to mention all of our partners to help make it happen – we would not be able to do what we do.

Q: How does volunteering make you feel?
A: Like I need to do more, and that we all need to do more.

Q: Can you tell me about a volunteer moment that really stands out?
A: For many years, we partnered with the Salvation Army to do a large-scale Cycle for Success program over the holidays for the kids living in their domestic violence shelters. It was one of those no media, no camera events where all we did was focus on helping the 50-75 kids have a brighter holiday. I pretty much cried every year we did it. This December, I am super excited that we are getting it back up and running with the help of Pioneer Title Agency, this time to help the kids at the Boys & Girl Club in Flagstaff.

Q: What would you like others to know about Subway Kids & Sports?
A: I want people to know that this year we gave away some really special grants, including funds to help children living with cancer, children with disabilities, children in foster programs and children who lost their parents in the line of duty get access to sports, camps and more.