SANFP E23 – Helen Gomez & Stacy Renner, Tucson Community Organization Leaders

Barbara interviews Program Coordinator of the Tucson Community Tennis Project as well as the Executive Director of Ben’s Bells about their experience with 100+ Women Who Care and the impact that their organizations have had in the community.

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Barbara interviews Program Coordinator of the Tucson Community Tennis Project as well as the Executive Director of Ben’s Bells about their experience with 100+ Women Who Care and the impact that their organizations have had in the community.

Stacy Renner

Program Coordinator – Tucson Community Tennis Program/TCTP

I was born and raised in the Detroit area. I am the youngest of 7 children. I attended Eastern Michigan University for both my Bachelors and Masters in Education. I moved to Tucson in 1999. Best decision I ever made. I taught Language Arts and Social Studies at Mansfield Middle School for 17 years. I also coached volleyball at Mansfield and tennis at Tanque Verde and Tucson High. 2016 I began coaching for TCTP and since taken up the role of Program Coordinator. Second best decision ever.

TCTP was started in 1993. It has since been introducing children the the game of tennis. Currently we reach approximately 800 children a year. We offer 5 different programs to address the different levels: In-School, Saturday Clinics, Junior Team Tennis, Summer Camp, and Scholarships to local clubs.

We currently hold “Physical Education” at 12 different Title 1 elementary schools. The 6 sessions introduce children to the game of tennis, culminating in a “graduation” at Reffkin Tennis center. We hold a Family Night where children show off their newly found skills and receive a brand new racquet and ball. We also offer 20 Saturday Clinics throughout the school year where children ages 7 – 17, all levels, can take their skills to a new level. Additionally, we offer a 4 week camp, again children ages 7 – 17, all levels. We charge nothing for any of our programs.

(520) 591-8904

Helen Gomez

Executive Director – Ben’s Bells

Helen Gomez is a native Tucson who moved away only to complete her B.A. at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. After experiencing her first major earthquake in 1994, she graduated and moved back to Tucson. Many of her likes before entering the workforce remain the same: enjoying a good meal and drinks with friends, working out, traveling and going on any new adventure; she just has less time now with two kids, a dog and a fiancé. Tucson is where the majority of her family lives and is her home

Helen is in her fourth year as Executive Director for Ben’s Bells, but kindness has always been a priority in her life. Before Ben’s Bells Helen worked in positions that were primarily in leadership roles in Marketing and Public Relations. Most recently she worked at the University of Arizona as the Director of External and Alumni Relations for the College of Humanities. She began with two people and was able to build a team of 12 and helped enhance the profile of many of the programs and departments at the College including the Tucson Humanities Festival and the Poetry Center. Prior to the U of A, she served as the Director of Communications at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. However, her professional career began as a 21-year-old high school English teacher who was frequently stopped by the hall monitors because she was mistaken for a student. Helen loved teaching and hopes to maybe go back to it when she retires.

The mission of Ben’s Bells is to teach individuals and communities about the positive impacts of intentional kindness and to inspire people to practice kindness as a way of life. We accomplish this in many ways including our education department that has a wealth of tools and knowledge to not only engage students and businesses and entire communities, but to also show the science of kindness and what it does to your brain. Our studio welcomes thousands of volunteers into our four studios (2 in Tucson, 1 in Phoenix and 1 in Bethel, CT). Volunteers are able to paint or work with clay and the pieces they work on are then sold in our Shop with all proceeds going toward sustaining the free educational materials as well as the supplies in the shop. We tell volunteers that they are a part of what we call our conveyor belt of kindness and each step a person does to complete a ceramic piece is paying it forward with this simple act of kindness. This is exactly what we do. We encourage people to practice kindness

(520) 622-1379

About the Host:

Barbara McClure, Executive Director  
IMPACT of Southern Arizona 
3535 E Hawser Street 
TucsonAZ  85739                                                    
Phone: 520-825-0009

SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter |

Barbara McClure wakes up each morning passionate about going to work at a place that improves lives and inspires futures every day! She has been the Executive Director of a Tucson social service nonprofit called IMPACT of Southern Arizona, for ten years. What is it that keeps you passionate about your role Barbara?

Barbara has been a visionary and planner with decades of experience as a small business owner and in nonprofit leadership; her innovative ideas and strategic thinking, along with a talent for bringing the community together, has helped grow IMPACT five-fold in a very short time. Her talents and interests are diverse but all center around helping people, improving the community, bolstering education, building capacity and sustainability, being vocal about the rights and conditions of others, experiencing art, nurturing all inhabitants of your garden, and enjoying life to the fullest. 

And now Barbara is about to experience another exciting chapter in her life with hosting a brand-new Radio Show Podcast here on the Tucson Business RadioX Network starting in November. 

IMPACT of Southern Arizona is a 20 – year old social service nonprofit stabilizing families and seniors, and moving people out of poverty. IMPACT’s programs are designed to stretch household budgets so earned income can be spent on necessities such as improved housing conditions, fuel to get to work, utilizes, and needed medical attention and prescriptions.  Its clients are your neighbors! People come to IMPACT because it is a welcoming place where they are always treated with dignity and respect, and where they find resources, referrals, coaching, and help to attain the skills that can move them forward into self-sufficiency. 

Barbara grew up in Pasadena CA, moved to Long Beach for college, got married and started our family then moved to Seattle area ten years later. Took our youngest son on an 11-month motorhome trip to get to Tucson – Homeschooled for 10th grade. 

We vacationed at a rustic cabin when I was growing up, where we had no phone or television; and spent all our time outside fishing, hiking, horseback riding, listening to old radio shows, playing pool, reading comic books from the local small grocer, and using our imaginations all day long. I always admired the superheroes who defended people and cities like Gotham and Metropolis, so when our three boys were born, we named them after familiar character: Colin (Bryce for an overlay of Bruce Wayne, Kent, and Parker. Our first grandchild was born last year, and as in the family tradition, named Logan, after the Wolverine. I used to always tell them they were my superheroes – and they still are today! 

Barbara loves working with numbers and has always loved math and the organization of things, so accounting seemed perfect, but I soon realized that I if I became a CPA I would have to spend many months inside doing tax returns, and that did not appeal to me as a long–term career! I have a great imagination and enjoy creating things, so thought I should find a better path that might nurture that side of my personality. I was working in the shipping industry in SoCal at the time and fell in love with import and export, so shifted my majors to Marketing and International Business. Those were wonderful fits, and I imagined graduating and moving to the largest port on the planet, in Germany; then, I met my future husband and things took a different turn. 

A little bit about how Barbara got into Nonprofit work: 

All along with my husband and I were always involved in nonprofits and community volunteer opportunities, and often said it was too bad we could not make a living doing those things we loved so much. Leadership roles in PTO, Boy Scouts, Historical Societies, Junior League, Elks, Rotary and more. Then when we moved to Tucson I looked for a local opportunity to impact my community. A Board position was about to open at IMPACT, and my local bank branch manager, Peggy Smoot, suggested I would be very passionate about getting involved in the mission work there. I worked in the Food Bank. 

There are thousands of nonprofits in Tucson. What makes IMPACT Unique is that they bring the community together to stabilize families and move people out of poverty. Our true success lies in partnering with a large number of businesses, agencies, social clubs and other nonprofits. We invest $2.5 million in the community each year, and we do it all with a lean staff of amazing professionals supported by more than 170 volunteer shifts each week! We have put great systems in place to run efficiently, effectively and with a commitment to sustainability and integrity, protecting the community’s investment in our work, striving for perfect audits, being innovative, building capacity and most importantly – treating everyone with dignity and respect. We are an award-winning nonprofit with numerous nods to incredible customer service. Our clients are your neighbors… We improve lives and inspire futures of people living in Southern AZ.  

So, IMPACT is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and you have been at the helm half that time. Share with me the things IMPACT has accomplished over the years, and the things you have planned for this celebratory year.