Dan Shufelt named ‘Everyday Hero’ for work with foster children

Dan Shufelt with Becky Ruffner, who gave him the award. (submitted photo)

At the 24th annual Prevent Child Abuse Conference, Dan Shufelt received an Everyday Heroes Award for his efforts over the past two decades to improve the lives of foster children living in Arizona.

Mr. Shufelt, president and CEO of Scottsdale-based Arizona Helping Hands, received the honor along with two others at the two-day conference of 600 at the Wigwam Resort earlier this month, according to a press release.

“Dan Shufelt stands out as one of those ‘Everday Heroes’ who has a unique and passionate cause in his life, for which he is truly ‘moving mountains,’” said Becky Ruffner, executive director of Preventing Child Abuse Arizona, and the person who presented Shufelt’s award.

“His deep caring for the needs of foster families and the children they open their lives to, is a great example for all of us,” she said. “I just don’t know where Dan gets his boundless energy and enthusiasm, but it is truly infectious! Just look at his volunteer army at Helping Hands.”

Arizona Helping Hands is the largest provider of basic needs to children in foster care throughout the state, the press release stated. Mr. Shufelt has been instrumental in the agency’s growth and impact on the lives of children who have experienced abuse and neglect.

“I am honored and humbled at being presented with an Everyday Hero award,” Mr. Shufelt said upon receiving the award.

Arizona Helping Hands is celebrating its 20-year milestone this year and is moving from its 8,00- square-foot warehouse in the Scottsdale Airpark area to an 18,000-square-foot warehouse, more than doubling its size and allowing the organization to help even more families by keeping more supplies on hand to give them.

Arizona Helping Hands provided beds and cribs for nearly 3,000 foster children in Arizona last year. The new warehouse gives the nonprofit room to store beds, cribs and other necessities such as clothing, toys and diapers to give to foster families in need of help.

This is a huge accomplishment for a home-grown charity, the press release stated.

Mr. Shufelt, who has been with the organization 18 of its 20 years, says: “Arizona Helping Hands was founded in the living room of Paul and Kathy Donaldson in 1998. From our humble beginnings as a group of friends who volunteered their time to fill special needs for people in our community to today, when we are leading the charge to make lives better for kids in foster care, this has been an amazing journey.”

The journey is continuing with Arizona Helping Hands being one of several local agencies in the running for $10,000 to be awarded by the Phoenix Business Journal, the press release stated. Vote for Arizona Helping Hands in the contest by visiting: https://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2018/07/13/phoenix-stories-poll-2018.html

Learn more at www.azhelpinghands.org.

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

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