Season for Sharing has raised millions of dollars for Arizona nonprofits over the past 25 years. Many of the organizations are well established and well known. Others are newer to the scene. Two programs you may not have heard of are giving students opportunities to succeed.

Arizona’s Children Association started its Thrive mentor program four years ago. The program has offices in Phoenix and Tucson. It provides mentors to youths ages 16 to 21 who have left or will be transitioning out of foster care. Mentors help their mentees gain skills for self-sufficiency.

Arizona SciTech’s Chief Science Officer program launched four years ago to give students a voice in their education. Students who are interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics are elected by their peers to be STEM advocates for their schools.

Season for Sharing, an annual Arizona Republic/ campaign, raises money for nonprofit agencies that help children and families, boost education and support the elderly. Since 1993, the campaign has made grants totaling more than $64 million to hundreds of agencies around the state that help those in need.

These two programs help hundreds of Arizona youth each year, and they are just beginning.

Chief Science Officers

Caillou Peña, 18, a senior at Skyline High School in Mesa, is Chief Science Officer on his campus. He was elected by his peers nearly two years ago. The program provides leadership training and mentorships.

As Chief Science Officer, Peña volunteers in the chemistry lab, hosts meetings to update students on STEM news and attends community events with business and civic leaders to share his experiences and challenges as a student.

Peña planned to take part in the Sonora Summit, an annual meeting of the Arizona-Mexico Commission and the Comisión Sonora-Arizona. It was Nov. 29-30 in Hermosillo, Sonora. The summit’s goal was to develop initiatives that promote cross-border collaboration. He was expected to be the only Chief Science Officer there.

“I’ve always been a driven person, but I’ve never had that empowerment that I can create change,” Peña said.

“While at the Sonora Summit, I hope to spread the word about the Chief Science Officer program and increase its presence in Mexico, helping to mend the gaps between STEM and education.”

Arizona SciTech received a $5,000 grant from Season for Sharing for the Chief Science Officer program.

“Starting these initiatives and garnering support funds for just basic expenses takes an extra risk and belief that we’re going to pull it off,” said Jeremy Babendure, the program’s executive director. “Season for Sharing has come on board and supported it two years in a row, and that means a lot.”

In four years, the program has expanded to eight states, Mexico and Kuwait. There are 700 Chief Science Officers in the program, and more than 380 of them are in Arizona schools.

Retrieved From: Montgomery, Elizabeth. “Season for Sharing: New Mentoring Programs Make a Big Impact on Young People.” Azcentral, The Republic |, 2 Dec. 2018,

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