Holiday Heroes Giving Campaign

HeroZona Foundation Partners with Community Groups for Holiday Heroes Giving Campaign

Organizations to Provide Dozens of Families with Monetary Relief

PHOENIX 12/17/21 – HeroZona Foundation is excited to announce it will partner with the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation to donate thousands of dollars to families in need ahead of the holiday. On Monday, Dec. 20 between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., community members selected by a variety of different organizations can stop by the Travis L. Williams American Legion Post 65 (1624 E. Broadway Rd.) in Phoenix to collect Visa gift cards in increments of $250 and $500.

Participating groups include the City of Phoenix Police and Fire Departments, South Mountain Police and Fire Precincts, City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation, NAACP Arizona State Conference, NAACP Maricopa Branch, Equality Health, African American Christian Clergy Coalition, 100 Black Men of Phoenix, National Coalition of 100 Black Women Phoenix Metropolitan Chapter, National Panhellenic Council Phoenix Metropolitan Area, Travis L. Williams American Post 65 Legionnaires, Sons and Unit 65 Auxiliary, Roosevelt School District No. 66, Phoenix Union High School District, Zion Institute, Big Brothers Big Sisters Arizona, The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Center Phoenix, Prensa Arizona, Arizona Informant, The Writeup, Phx Soul, African American Clergy Association, William H. Patterson Elks #477, Wooten Healthcare, Panda Pediatrics, NAACP East Valley Branch, Harold Wolder Masonic Temple, Millionaire Mastermind Academy, Maricopa Community College, Mesa Unified School District, Greater Phoenix Urban League and Young Professionals, Arizona Real Engagement through Active Philanthropy, Diana Gregory Outreach, Chicanos Por La Causa, ASBA Black Alliance, City Bus, Arizona Department of Veteran Services.

“While the holiday season is a cheerful time for many, it can be difficult for families who are struggling,” said Alan “AP” Powell, chairman of AP & Associates – Strategic Alliances, U.S. Army Desert-Storm veteran and HeroZona cofounder. “Everyone deserves to have a happy, safe and fun celebration. With these donations, we want to lessen the burden these families might feel during this time of year.”

HeroZona will also be partnering with 101.1 The Bounce and Mega 104.3 on Dec. 17 to give away $250 to frontline workers or families in need nominated by listeners.

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Pop-up vaccination clinics aim to reach underserved communities

A live DJ, classic cars, free food and free COVID-19 vaccines.

This was the scene at a pop-up vaccination clinic set up Saturday morning at Grant Park with the goal of encouraging and providing easy-to-access vaccines for the communities of districts 7 and 8 in Phoenix.

A row of canopies shaded a concrete path to the basketball gym where vaccination registrations had opened up at 8 a.m.

People stood in line under the shade — some with kids between ages 12 and 18 who had recently been green-lit for the Pfizer Vaccine.

Those over the age of 18 could choose which vaccine to take. The clinic had all three vaccines available: Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ.

Vaccination through community collaboration

The event came together through a partnership between the Arizona Department of Health Services and the One Community Initiative of the Equality Health and Herozona Foundations.

The partnership grew out of COVID-19 testing events held earlier in the pandemic, Christ explained.

“We got a much better showing when it was trusted healthcare leaders from the community,” she said.

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South Phoenix Vaccination Sites Open Saturday for End of School Year Push

The Equality Health Foundation, HeroZona Foundation, Maricopa County, Arizona Department of Health Services and other community partners are excited to announce two additional vaccination events for underserved populations on Saturday, May 22. For families who live near downtown Phoenix, the Grant Park Recreation Center (701 S. 3rd Ave.) micro-POD site will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For families who live near the South Mountain area, the permanent vaccination site at South Mountain Community College (7050 S. 24th St.) will operate from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

During the events, children disproportionately affected by COVID-19 will have free access to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, and adults will have access to either the Johnson & Johnson or Moderna vaccines. Imunizations will be administered by Adelante Healthcare. Nasal swab COVID-19 testing will also be provided courtesy of Sonora Quest Labratories.

“With such a resounding community turnout at our vaccine site launch for youth last week, we are excited to continue offering underserved communities a way to stay protected against COVID-19,” said Alan “AP” Powell, Chairman of AP & Associates – Strategic Alliances, U.S. Army Desert-Storm Veteran, and founder of HeroZona. “We encourage all family members to attend the events, learn about how the vaccine works, and get immunized together.”

“We need to continue encouraging people to get tested, practice prevention and get their vaccine if we’re going to reach community-wide immunity,” said said Tomás León, President of the Equality Health Foundation. “Ensuring access to these essential services in underserved communities is our top priority.”

The May 22 events will be the seventh and eighth held by the OneCommunity Initiative which focuses on reaching diverse, underserved communities, and aims to track demographic data to identify disparity gaps and ensure that the vaccines are distributed fairly and equitably. The first event was held at Cortez Park on March 13 followed by an event at Isaac Middle School on April 3. The third event was held on April 10 at South Mountain Community College, which is a permanent COVID-19 vaccination site. The fourth event was held at the Phoenix Sunnyslope Senior Center on April 17, the fifth at Isaac Middle School again on May 1, and the sixth, officially open for youth, at C.O. Greenfield Middle School on May 13. Information about additional events will be made available as soon as possible.

Vaccines will be available by appointment or walk-up for those 12 and older, including frontline and essential workers. For more information and to register, those interested can call the bilingual service line at 888-587-3647.

The community event is supported in part by Walgreens, Arizona State University, City of Phoenix, City of Phoenix Police Department, City of Phoenix Fire Department, Travis L. Williams American Legion Post 65, APS, Family Tree Healthcare, NAACP Arizona Conference & Maricopa County Branch, Black Philantrhopy Initiative, Black Chamber of Arizona, Greater Phoenix Urban League, African American Christian Clergy Coalition, Diana Gregory Outreach Services, 100 Black Men of Phoenix, National Coalition of 100 Black Women Phoenix Metropolitan Chapter, Macayo’s Mexican Food, National Panhellenic Council Phoenix Metropolitan Area, Forty Eight Foundation, Arizona Latin-American Medical Association, Maricopa County Public Health, Insurus Medicare Solutions and many more.

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Event Saturday, May 22, kicks off next phase of ADHS vaccine outreach in Phoenix

A pop-up vaccination clinic for kids and a neighborhood canvassing event Saturday, May 22, will launch the next phase of targeted outreach by Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and partners in underserved areas disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

To be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Grant Park, 701 S. Third Ave. near downtown Phoenix, the event will kick off outreach that includes knocking on doors and distributing yard signs promoting COVID-19 vaccination. This outreach focuses on Phoenix City Council Districts 7 and 8, which cover neighborhoods east, south, and west of downtown Phoenix and include much of the Maryvale area.

In partnership with ADHS, the Equality Health and HeroZona foundations are organizing a children’s vaccination clinic at the event, continuing its One Community Initiative Against COVID-19. Kids 12 and older, along with their parents, are eligible for this free event. An event offering second doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be held June 12 at the same park.

“Mass-vaccination sites have done a great job of getting limited supplies of vaccine into the community quickly and efficiently,” said ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ. “Now, with vaccine readily available throughout the state, we will increase our focus on promoting vaccination at the neighborhood level in partnership with local health departments and other groups.”

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Strong Demand for COVID-19 Vaccination on the First Day of Age 12-15 Eligibility

Arizona-run sites in the Phoenix area, Tucson, Yuma, and Flagstaff administered more than 6,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses Thursday and saw their greatest demand in the late afternoon as parents brought their kids ages 12 to 15 to be vaccinated.

And that’s just part of the demand across our state as that age group became eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Many pharmacies and other providers offer Pfizer as well. And the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) partnered with the Equality Health and HeroZona foundations at a pop-up clinic that vaccinated 650 children and adults in the Roosevelt School District serving south Phoenix.

Arizona is home to nearly 400,000 children ages 12 to 15. To date, 5,466,046 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to 3,098,785 individuals, with 2,572,917 now fully vaccinated.

ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ spent much of the day administering vaccines at the Gila River Arena state site and at the C.O. Greenfield School event held in the late afternoon and extended into the evening to meet demand.

“At each site, I saw how relieved parents are to protect their kids from COVID-19 ‒ and to continue moving life back toward normal,” Dr. Christ said. “I’m one of those relieved parents. My 13-year-old son received his vaccine yesterday and soon will have strong protection against COVID-19 and the possibility of infecting others.”

Between state sites and local providers, there are many places open before and after school and through the weekend to get the vaccine for children ages 12 to 15.

There’s more incentive than ever for everyone 12 and older to get vaccinated. On Thursday, the CDC updated its guidance for fully vaccinated people, saying they can resume normal activities indoors and outdoors without masks or distancing in most cases. Those fully vaccinated are still subject to any federal, local, or tribal rules and regulations as well as business and workplace requirements.

“This is a very big step toward returning to our pre-pandemic way of life. And it’s available to everyone who gets one of the safe, effective, free, and widely available vaccines offered at state-run sites, pharmacies, and numerous other locations around the state,” Dr. Christ said. “Let’s all keep working toward community immunity. Roll up your sleeve and get vaccinated against COVID-19.”

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Event in South Phoenix offers underserved youth a chance to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Fox 10 5/13/21

As children ages 12 through 15 are eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19, community partners in Phoenix are targeting underserved youth who want to get the vaccine.

At C.O. Greenfield Elementary, located near Baseline Road and 7th Street in South Phoenix, a vaccination event took place on May 13. FOX 10 has learned that 600 appointments were booked within 24 hours.

The event came as a result of a partnership between the HeroZona Foundation, Equality Health, Adelante Healthcare, and various other organizations. The event is administering Pfizer vaccines.

According to one doctor, Arizona ranks second in multi-generational homes, so young people getting vaccinated is crucial to slow the spread of a disease that has disrupted lives around the world for over a year.

“To be able to see people come together and fight through this as a community, as a country, it feels good that we all on the same page and fight for the same thing,” said Alan Powell, Founder of the Herozona Foundation.

“It’s one community coming together to break down barriers and make it easy to get the vaccine, and now, we’re focusing on young people and their families, so we can get the community together,” said Tomas Leon, President of the Equality Health Foundation.

Officials with Equality Health say the event at C.O. Greenfield Elementary is the first of many planned. The group wants to target 21 ZIP Codes throughout the Valley.

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Hundreds of teens get vaccinated at event for underserved communities in south Phoenix

AZFamily Channel 3 / CBS 5 5/13/21

When Ximena Contreras sat down to get her COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, it was so monumental her dad called her sister on FaceTime and they snapped a photo. At first, Contreras was nervous, but getting her shot was exciting.

“In our family, we had a rough patch,” she said. “My dad and my sister got COVID and it hit us really hard. And after that, my dad was in the hospital for 20 days.”

The high school sophomore was one of about 700 12- to 15-year-olds who rolled up their sleeves at a special vaccination event at C.O. Greenfield Elementary School in south Phoenix. “I’m just looking forward to going back to school in person,” said Alejandro Saizar, who was there with his dad.

The event was made possible, in part, by the Equality Health and Herozona Foundations. It’s an effort to get the vaccine directly into underserved communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“Usually, I’m very sad about the disparities we see throughout our community,” said pediatrician Dr. Duane Wooten. “This is a day that I’m very proud of.”

While there’s more work to be done, Dr. Cara Christ, director of Arizona Department of Health Services, was one of a handful of community leaders at the school. The Pfizer vaccine was approved through an emergency use authorization, and Dr. Christ says there are no plans to require COVID-19 vaccines in schools. Arizona’s Family asked Dr. Christ if those policies may change when they get full FDA approval.

“You know we would have to take a look and see what the ACIP (the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) recommendations are and what the proportion is of the vaccination,” Dr. Christ said. “Like we don’t require flu vaccine at schools. If this is more like a flu vaccine, then we may not require it for schools. But that’s a discussion for way down the road.”

Organizers say the event Thursday was in a ZIP code with low vaccine participation rates and high COVID-19 exposure. The group will meet Monday to talk about long-term plans and where to go next. Tomas Leon with Equality Health says about 600 people signed up within 24 hours and they had about 100 doses available for walk-ups.

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Hundreds of Valley youth receive first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at One Community Initiative event in South Phoenix

12News 5/13/21

Behind 12-year-old Ethan Crystal’s mask was his smile. He was finally going to receive his first dose of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine.

“I’ve been really excited and really looking forward to the shot,” said Crystal. “I want to go back to playing basketball and school because I haven’t really got to do those things all quarantine and during Covid.”

He’s waited months for his turn. His vaccination was a no-brainer for his mother Ellie Crystal.

“We felt like it’s been tested and trialed from adults down to their age and proven to be safe and effective and to us. It was really important to help not only protect the community but also to just get our normal life back,” said Ellie Crystal.

The emergency use authorization allows nearly 17 million teens to be vaccinated, representing an additional 5% of the U.S. population.

Ethan Crystal wasn’t the only one excited to get the vaccine. Hundreds of parents and children braved the heat and lined up around the block at C.O. Greenfield Elementary School on Thursday for the One Community Initiative’s vaccine event for underserved youth.

The Equality Health Foundation, the HeroZona Foundation and other community partners vaccinated more than 700 12 to 15-year-old kids.

“We are excited by the Food and Drug Administration’s announcement that children 12 and over can now be immunized against the coronavirus,” said Alan “AP” Powell, Chairman of AP & Associates – Strategic Alliances, U.S. Army Desert-Storm Veteran, and founder of HeroZona. “We’ve operated several successful vaccination events and can now give parents and guardians in at-risk communities the chance to protect their kids as well.”

Event attendees will also be offered free coronavirus nasal swab testing administered by Sonora Quest Laboratories, and food boxes for families in need provided by Grand Canyon University and CityServe.

“I’m extremely proud of my kid, my Luke,” said Eric Merring. “We support him. He wanted to get the vaccine and he wanted it the first day.” Luke Merring’s mother Regina Merring was also beaming with pride. “We want to feel like we are not afraid to do things and thankfully we have these vaccines.”

“It was relieving, we don’t have to stress anymore,” said Luke Merring.

“Families in our school district have had an especially difficult time living through the pandemic,” said Roosevelt School District Governing Board President Lawrence Robinson.

“By giving parents a way to keep their children safe from COVID-19, we are offering them a fighting chance at surviving the virus and returning back to some semblance of normalcy. This wouldn’t be possible without Equality Health Foundation, HeroZona and the other partners committed to keeping our people safe. We’re excited to continue this great collaboration.”

“There are two main reasons we are here,” said Dipika Sharma. Her son Rahul Sharma was one of the hundreds of kids to be vaccinated. “We all adults have gotten vaccinated and now if he gets vaccinated, all of us are safe. This is also how we reached herd immunity.”

“I want to go back to school in person,” said Rahul Sharma.

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ was one of the vaccinators at the event.

“It’s so important. I want to make sure my family is protected. My community is protected. And getting your kids vaccinated is an important way to do that. Vaccines are safe and they also prevent hospitalization and death which is important to me as a mother,” said Christ. “My 13-year-old has an appointment today.”

Some parents are hesitant and that’s why President of Equality Health Foundation, Tomas Leon says these events and education are critical for community buy-in.

“There’s a lot of questions and concerns and hesitation about getting the vaccine especially for their young kids, so it’s important they understand the risk and benefits,” said Leon.

The second dose of the vaccine will be administered at the same location on June 3.

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Non-profit vaccinates underserved Phoenix community, fights hesitancy amid J&J vaccine pause

AZFamily 4/17/21

Equality Health Foundation and Herozona Foundation held a vaccination event Saturday at Sunnyslope Senior Center. The organizations are working to protect underserved communities hit hard by the pandemic. The event was nearly canceled after the Center for Disease Control put a pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but organizers were able to get 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

“We had a lot of momentum coming into this event. There was hope on the horizon,” said Tomás León, president of Equality Health Foundation.

While some were eager to get vaccinated finally, León said they are still fighting vaccine hesitancy in the community. Six people out of nearly 7 million got rare blood clots after getting the J&J single dose shot. León said the news is deterring some people from getting protected.

“So when you are working in diverse communities that have been really devastated by this pandemic and already have hesitancy about getting the vaccine for a lot of reasons, this doesn’t help,” said León. “We have to redouble our effort to educate the community that vaccines are safe.”

León said there were more no-shows, and they didn’t fill all appointments at Saturday’s event. Now, it is an all-out effort to reassure the community that vaccines are effective and safe.

“They are our best shot at getting back to normal, visit grandma, grandpa, and family,” said León.

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Organizations hold COVID-19 vaccination events for underserved, disability communities

Arizona Republic 4/10/21

Organizations across the Valley held vaccine events for underserved communities, including people with disabilities after many have faced a lack of access and barriers to getting the COVID-19 vaccine in Arizona.

Among the 1,150 people expected to be vaccinated at South Mountain Community College on Saturday was Valerie Duckett. She talked to The Arizona Republic as she sat in the designated recovery zone in the school’s gym, minutes after getting her first and only dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Registration tables were set up just outside the gym, after which point individuals joined a line snaking around the gym leading to the vaccination stations. There were five vaccination tables, each with two Walgreens employees administering the vaccines.

Duckett said she had a good experience at the event, adding that it only took her about 15 minutes from the time she showed up until she got her shot.

“This is very efficient,” she said. “Everybody’s super nice. They made it very easy.”

Anabell Castro Thompson, a nurse practitioner, volunteered in the recovery area on Saturday and said there were many Spanish-speaking patients.

She said she and many other nurse practitioners around the country have been getting involved with efforts to address vaccine accessibility and equity.

“We understand what it takes to engage communities and we’re happy to lend our expertise and our time to efforts such as these,” she said.

Duckett knew she wanted the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because she didn’t want to carve out time for an appointment twice and risk side effects from a second dose.

Prior to learning about the event, the result of a collaboration between Equality Health and the HeroZona Foundation, Duckett said she had a difficult time trying to find a convenient appointment.

Throughout the pandemic, she has worried about potentially exposing her high-risk mother to the virus. Both of them were vaccinated Saturday, which Duckett said gives her “more peace of mind.”

“It’s kind of nice just to feel that relief and you’ve done your part to not only save yourself, but other people,” Duckett said.

She wore two masks and said she is still “nervous” about leaving her home during the pandemic, but said getting the shot would mean she could gradually get back to some of the activities and people she’s missed for more than a year.

The experience was also meaningful to Aura Jessica Ruiz, a Walgreens pharmacist and pharmacy manager who assisted with the effort.

“This is my area, these are my patients, these are the people I see every single day,” she said. “I’m so happy to be a part of this so we can make sure we try to break some of the barriers that we see in these communities to have access to the vaccine.”

She said she hoped events like the one on Saturday, which included many bilingual staff, would help those individuals in particular, feel seen, heard and supported through the pandemic.

“Just because they might not speak the language or they might not have the resources doesn’t mean we don’t want them to have that opportunity as well,” she said.

Ruiz said having vaccination events specifically target underserved individuals will have a sweeping impact when it comes to community health and eventually moving out of the pandemic. She specifically mentioned the larger family size that’s common in communities like hers, emphasizing that a vaccinated family member can help protect others while also encouraging them to get vaccinated themselves.

“Everything counts,” she said. “This little small community can make a huge difference.”

Ruiz encouraged the public to make use of resources and pharmacies in their area to get accurate information about the vaccine and the options they have to receive it. She hoped that more and more people would decide to get their shot.

“Any vaccine that’s available to them is the best vaccine, and that’s the only way we can actually get back to what we used to think normal life was,” she said.

Castro Thompson, Equality Health’s senior vice president of health equity, said “we are sacrificing equity for speed” oftentimes when it comes to vaccine distribution, causing lower vaccination numbers among diverse communities. That trend is why she feels it’s so important to bring the vaccine to those communities.

“We’re bringing people in the community that look like them so we can foment trust and decrease misinformation and myths and ensure they’re getting the right information,” she said.

Mistrust rooted in the four-decade Tuskegee study, as well as other examples of medical exploitation and mistreatment, has contributed to a greater hesitancy of getting the COVID-19 vaccine among Black Americans. They have received disproportionately fewer doses of the vaccine but have disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, experts say.

USA TODAY reported results of a survey by Voto Latino in March, which found that almost 73% of Latino people surveyed knew someone who had COVID-19, and a third knew someone who died of the illness.

Despite that, just shy of half – 47% – said they were reticent about getting the shot. Around a quarter said they would not take it at all.

Equality Health first held a vaccination and testing event three weeks ago at Cortez Park, then held another one last week at Isaac Middle School and then moved to South Mountain Community College for Saturday’s event.

Equality Health Foundation spokesman Tomas Leon said they were finalizing plans with the state and county to make it a permanent vaccination site open from Monday through Saturday.

There was no shortage of staff at the site on Saturday, with nearly 40 volunteers, 15 Sonora Quest Laboratories staff to handle COVID testing, 20 Walgreens staff to administer vaccines, 15 Phoenix Fire Department personnel and 10 Equality Health staff to oversee the operation.

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