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Mesa Leadership Class of 2024 to reveal project that revitalized an outdoor space at Oakwood Creative Care

Members of Mesa Leadership Class of 2024 install pavers in a patio area as part of their project to transform an outdoor space at the nonprofit Oakwood Creative Care facility, 247 N. Macdonald in Mesa. (Submitted photos/DigitalFreePress)

Ribbon-cutting ceremony to be held April 18

By Jill Adair | Digital Free Press

A big part of Mesa Leadership Class of 2024‘s nine-month training and development journey is to plan, raise money for, and work to complete a class project that benefits a community nonprofit organization. The results of this latest transformative effort will be revealed April 18.

Planter boxes are assembled.

This year, the class chose Oakwood Creative Care in Mesa as the recipient of this effort. The organization is a nonprofit facility committed to providing support and daytime care for older adults facing cognitive or physical challenges, particularly those dealing with neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and stroke.

The project’s primary objective was to transform an aging and outdated outdoor space into an area that would be more serene and welcoming, and where residents could enjoy the outdoors, engage in social activities, and find solace in nature. Class representatives said they recognized the positive impact of well-designed outdoor spaces on mental well-being and aimed to create an environment that fosters joy and comfort for individuals grappling with cognitive or physical challenges.

The revitalization project included the addition of new landscaping, seating areas, and fully accessible surroundings, making it a destination for members of this community and the staff to gather, relax, and engage with nature.

Funds for the project came from a Casino Night fundraising event the class held on Jan. 26 at Benedictine University. The event included blackjack, craps, and roulette, a DJ, dinner, drinks, a silent auction, and raffles. Money was also donated by community businesses and residents for the class project. Nearly $15,000 was raised to spend on the project, according to Lisa Anderson, a class member who helped oversee finances this year.

“We are thrilled to unveil the results of the Oakwood Revitalization Project,” said Kim Van Riper, president of Mesa Leadership Class of 2024. “This project embodies the spirit of community collaboration and showcases the potential for positive change when individuals come together for a common goal. We invite everyone to join us for the ribbon-cutting ceremony and experience the beauty of the new Oakwood Creative Care outdoor space.”

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Oakwood Revitalization Project will take place at 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, at Oakwood Creative Care, 247 N. Macdonald in Mesa. The event is open to the public, and attendees can explore the newly revitalized space.

More information on Mesa Leadership HERE.

Note: Applications for Mesa Leadership Class of 2025 are now being accepted HERE.

The Mesa Leadership Training & Development Program was inaugurated in 1981 with the belief that every community has potential leaders who are seeking the opportunity to serve and who need exposure to the information, organizations, and leaders to make that service possible, officials there say.

The program is a 501(c)(3) organization sponsored by the Mesa Chamber of Commerce and is administered by volunteers who serve as board members, program and curriculum development committee members, and community liaisons.

Members of Mesa Leadership Class of 2024 relax after working hard in this newly transformed outdoor area at the nonprofit Oakwood Creative Care facility, 247 N. Macdonald in Mesa. From left: Carrie Aranda, Jalyssa Gasmen, Jacob Ricker (standing), Aaron Woods, and Anthony Canez.
Class members working on the project include, from left, Christen Rope, Jenny Terry, Susan McCall, Mary Lou Ruiz-Gray, and Myra O’Ferrall
Planter boxes with spring flowers were installed in the courtyard.
Old furniture was replaced with new tables, chairs and benches.
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