Structure & Leadership
Chances for Children-AZ is headed by Janell Bolen, Executive Director. After working with “at-risk” children in education for over 10 years, Ms. Bolen was intrigued by the opportunity to “provide children a chance”. She has worked closely with the development of Chances for Children Arizona to create such opportunities. Ms. Bolen is also the Vice President of School Operations for Pinnacle Education, and has been closely involved with the Valley of the Sun Cycling Stage Race as the Co-Promoter in 1999-2000. She is an accomplished athlete, has participated in Ironman Hawaii, ITU Age Group Triathlon World Championships, and 2000 Olympic Trials-Cycling, and is the mother of twins born in 2005!
CFC-AZ’s Board of Trustees is comprised of three community members.
In 2005, US Census Data estimates that there are 1,688,464 children under the age of eighteen living in Arizona.1
Chances for Children-AZ focuses its funding support on improving quality of life for school aged children by supporting sports and physical education programs as well as character educations programs that enrich a child’s life.
Sports & Physical Education: The Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that children and adolescents participate in at least sixty minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on a daily basis. Beneficial effects include maintaining a child’s weight, improving muscular strength, cardio-respiratory fitness, increased bone mass, reduced blood pressure, reduced anxiety and stress and improved self-esteem.2 Contradicting this data, national trends show that physical education classes in school are being cut to increase the amount of classroom time spent on academic classes.3
Chances for Children-AZ recognizes efforts of communities surrounding Maricopa such as the Steps to a Healthier Arizona Initiative which aims to help Arizonans live longer, better, and healthier lives by reducing the burden of diabetes, overweight, obesity, and asthma.4 We aim to support organizations by strengthening programs and partnership that help youth to develop life long healthy habits.
Character Education: the need for character education is reflected in the need to build “responsible, respectful, trustworthy, fair, caring and good citizens”.5
National research sited on the Arizona Department of Education Website further demonstrates the importance of character education. The Josephson Institute of Ethics surveyed 12,000 high school students whose responses showed significant deterioration in youth choices over the past two years. For example:
- Students admitting they cheated on an exam at least once in the past year jumped from 61% in 1992 to 74% in 2002;
- The number who stole something from a store within the past 12 months rose from 31% to 38%, while the percentage who say they lied to their teachers and parents also increased substantially;
- Cheating rose from 71% in 2000 to 74% in 2002;
- Theft increased from 35% to 38%; and
- Those who said they would be willing to lie to get a good job jumped from 28% to 39%.
1 U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Interim State Population Projections, 2005 for Arizona
3 Sparks, C. (2005, October 9). Where to fight youth obesity. The Arizona Republic. p. B3.
4 http://www.ade.az.gov/health-safety/cnp/healthieraz/ Initiative’s funds cover programs only in Cochise, Santa Cruz, and Yuma Counties as well as the Tohono O’odham Nation.
5 Arizona Department of Education Website (http://www.ade.state.az.us)
6 http://www.ade.state.az.us/charactered/background.asp. “All the statistics regarding number of students, schools and teachers were taken from the Arizona Department of Education website on August, 2004. Additional youth statistics were taken from KIDS Count Data Book (2004)”.