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The Finer Properties of the Valley of the Sun

The Finer Properties of the Valley of the Sun

Steven Hunter named community ambassador at UCP of Central Arizona

A view of former Phoenix Suns Center Steven Hunter is taking the leading role as community ambassador at United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona. (File Photos/
Former Phoenix Suns Center Steven Hunter takes first role of its kind
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona and former Phoenix Suns center Steven Hunter have a lot in common — mainly the mutual goal to help all kids live a life without limitations.

Mr. Hunter is the first Valley person named to the new UCP of Central Arizona Community Ambassador program, which was launched earlier this month.

The goal of a Community Ambassador is to support the nonprofit organization’s cause, increase awareness of the work being done by UCP for children with motor disorders and create a positive impact on the community.

“UCP of Central Arizona is recognized throughout the state as a longstanding and upstanding partner for the disabilities community,” Mr. Hunter said in a prepared statement. “To be part of this prestigious group, who cares so deeply about their mission and the kids and families they serve, is a tremendous honor for me.”

Mr. Hunter played center for the Phoenix Suns during the 2004-05 season and has an 11-year-old son named Blaise who was diagnosed with autism when he was 3 years old. According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 36 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder each year.

As a father to a child with a disability, Mr. Hunter say he understands the unique challenges parents and families face. This was his inspiration to start the “Father’s United for Kids with Autism” program, an annual gathering where dads and their kids can connect and share experiences, judgement free.

As a Community Ambassador, Mr. Hunter aspires to dedicate time and resources and use his platform to drive meaningful change in the disability community.

“By establishing the Community Ambassador program, we aim to harness the power of influential community members, like Steven, to drive positive change, raise awareness and make a significant impact on the communities we serve,” said UCP of Central Arizona CEO, Kentay Garvin. “Together, we can increase opportunities to inspire, uplift and empower individuals to support the work we are doing daily across the Valley.”

Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disorder in childhood as one out of 345 children are born with the disorder each year.

Last year alone 142 babies were born in Phoenix with cerebral palsy. Studies show that 41% of children with cerebral palsy are limited in their ability to swim, crawl, walk, run and play. Additionally, more than 30% need to use special equipment, such as walkers or wheelchairs, for increased mobility.

Mr. Hunter also operates The Steven Hunter Life Skills & Basketball Academy in Queen Creek, which was created nearly a decade ago to provide Valley kids an outlet and opportunity to learn core life values through the teachings of the game of basketball.

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