A 2nd Act: Bond of Brothers

It’s indisputable: Little brothers look up to big brothers. But what Christopher Rodriguez learned from his big brother impacted not only him, but many others along the way. T.J., four years older than Chris, was born with IDD (intellectual and developmental disabilities). Watching his older brother navigate life inspired Chris. “T.J. is my only sibling, and I […]

A 2nd Act: On Point

At some point in time, most little girls are enchanted by ballerinas: the tutus, the toe shoes, the twirls. If those thoughts went through Jami Kozemczak’s mind, they were brief. She wanted to be a marine biologist, although she now admits to being terrified of sharks. A political science degree from Arizona State University would ensure […]

A 2nd Act: Painted Perspective

Melissa Rupoli-Katz didn’t know the title but was immediately drawn to a painting at the inaugural “Hues for Hope” fundraiser. It wasn’t her typical taste in art, being what she describes as Jackson Pollock-like splatters of vibrant colors, but she instantly felt a connection. The painting is the first piece of art guests see when […]

A 2nd Act: The Pinky Swear

Bringing health to more Arizona women A favorite game in our household is Memory. After laying out cards facedown, you flip them over two                    at a time to make a match. The player with the most matching pairs at the end wins. Of course, you have to […]

A 2nd Act: Parents’ Grief Turns into a Phoenix Treasure

The story of the Lois Grunow Memorial Clinic The story of the building at 926 E. McDowell Road is one of magnificent wealth and heart-wrenching grief, medical innovation and shadowy mayhem.  Let’s begin at the beginning. In the thrilling years of the late 1920s, William C. Grunow became president of Chicago’s Grigsby-Grunow Company, producer of […]

A 2nd Act: Doing Good and the Value of the Helper’s High

The mission of the magazine you’re reading is to “celebrate the people and groups who give generously and work to build the future of our community.” Valley of the Sun residents give to such an extent that their stories fill every issue throughout the year. And we aren’t alone. Despite a worldwide event unprecedented in […]

A 2nd Act: So Kids Don’t Have to Feel Alone

one•n•ten improves self-esteem and self-acceptance among LGBTQ+ youth “A lot of people have to wait until they retire to do something they’re passionate about,” Nate Rhoton’s stepfather observed. But Rhoton is so passionate about his work as executive director of one•n•ten, he says it doesn’t feel like he’s working at all. Yet, he’s accomplishing so […]

A 2nd Act: Hear the Desert Dragons Roar

The goal of the Desert Dragons team is to extend its support network to the many women and men diagnosed with breast cancer in the Phoenix area each year. Melissa Adams was 31 when she found a lump in her breast. “You’re too young to have breast cancer,” her Pittsburgh doctor told her. Yet cancer […]

A 2nd Act: Singing With Joy

Allan Naplan and Arizona Musicfest are igniting minds with music As a young man, he played the trumpet. This wasn’t a surprise since Allan Naplan’s mother was a music teacher who started taking him to performances at a very young age. “And then I found an even more powerful instrument,” Naplan said. “My own voice.” […]

A 2nd Act: Abilities, Not Disabilities

Pursuing a life of good works from a wheelchair is an inspiring second act. Creating a second second act from a wheelchair is above and beyond. But then, Jamie Heckerman is an above-and-beyond kind of woman. She was born with spina bifida, a rare birth defect affecting the development of the spine. Her first surgery […]