Hope: Scottsdale Charros fuel Partners that Heal expansion

A view of the Partners that Heal program at Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, which aims to help children cope while combating serious illness. (Photo courtesy of Phoenix Theatre)

At the Mayo Clinic Scottsdale the youngest of us afflicted with some of the most devastating diseases known to mankind are given specters of hope, joy and laughter through a unique program unlike anything that came before it.

The Partners That Heal program has been cheering up kids in hospital settings for nearly a decade. (Photo courtesy of Phoenix Theatre)

Phoenix Theatre, Arizona’s largest producing professional theater, has expanded its Partners That Heal, A W.O.N.D.E.R. Project to the Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, 13400 E. Shea Blvd. where professional actors perform bedside for children overcoming difficult circumstances.

Phoenix Theatre is at 100 E. McDowell Road in Phoenix.

While the Partners That Heal program is established and has been providing regular service to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Thunderbird Medical Center Phoenix Theatre officials are continuing to expand the program into Scottsdale and beyond.

But to help expand the program into the Mayo Clinic is where the Scottsdale Charros come into the picture.

The Scottsdale Charros, through The Charro Foundation, provided Phoenix Theatre, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, with a $10,000 grant this past year to help the program’s expansion into the Mayo Clinic.

“I was a past board president and member of the Phoenix Theatre board for over 16 years,” said Todd Peterson, current patron of the Scottsdale Charros.

“I’m passionate about the arts and what arts organizations can do for their community. For this grant, I understand what joy and relief it brings for both the child patient and their families when Partners That Heal actors are with the children.”

It’s not only actors and actresses performing for the children, but also their physicians, which Mr. Peterson says can be transformative for the children receiving care.

“The educational aspect for the doctors and nurses to learn to interact with these kids in this manner is tremendous,” he pointed out.

Helping those afflicted is often the driving force behind Charro initiatives, Mr. Peterson explains.

“Outreach into our community is important for quality of life,” he said.  “Innovative outreach from actors to critically ill children in hospitals is a very worthwhile program that I feel the Charros should support. Supporting programs like this financially is part of the Charro DNA of giving back to our community.”

For 56 years the Scottsdale Charros have been in constant pursuit of improving the lives of Scottsdale residents while preserving the community’s ties to its western heritage.

Without hesitation, Mr. Peterson contends the Partners that Heal program makes a difference.

“Most importantly for the children themselves, but also for their families and the Mayo staff who take care of the children every day,” he says of the change that can come from the experience offered through the Heal program. “Bringing a little joy, even if for a very brief moment, into these kids’ day can give them something to look forward to.”

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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