Francisco Avalos is the Director of Engagement at the Valley of the Sun United Way. His job is to fundraise, which is bridging community solutions with the money and working directly with communities, so that their voice could be heard.
Francisco was born and raised in Southern California until the age of 10, then his family moved out to South Phoenix. Throughout Francisco’s early childhood, he went to several different elementary schools. And during this time, Francisco got to experience the joys and thrills of living South Phoenix. In his adolescent years, Francisco was the ideal picture of a hardworking student by being very involved in his schoolwork and having a job while being a student.
When he was a teenager, Francisco suffered his biggest problem in his life when he became homeless at fifteen years old. And at this time, he was very confused and but, his main goal never went astray. Even though, Francisco went through this time of struggle for a short part of time, but he worked through it with the help of mentor and himself and kept his focus on finishing high school.
Francisco was able to apply to colleges from the guidance of his mentor and that is what led him to going to South Mountain Community College. In the early stages of his college career, Francisco was unsure of his plans at that time, but the guidance and support that he received from some of the great mentors on the campus set him on the right path to success. Francisco went to South Mountain Community College for two years and he received his Associate Degree in General Studies, then he transferred to the Arizona State University. With the help of those great individuals from South Mountain Community College, they helped set Francisco Avalos on a futuristic path to success, happiness, and pride.
In his role as Director of Engagement Francisco does is fundraising for the organization and the events involved in the community. He sees his job as a way to bridge community solutions with the financial and human resources. He works directly with the South Phoenix community, so that our neighbors voices can be heard. And another part of Francisco’s job along with the fundraising for the organization and their events is to have communication with the community. In 2020, his focus was on those living in South Phoenix with health disparities. Through The Valley of the Sun United Way, Francisco hopes to reach out to local communities and help those communities get to where they need in most.
Also, the Valley of the Sun have events and activities, so that people in the communities can let their voices be heard. Their most recent project, Operation Uplift which was created a couple of years ago has been quite successful. In Francisco’s words, the project’s main goal is to strengthen communities and to allow people to be more engaged in locations, such as South Phoenix, Maryvale, Guadalupe, and Central City. And in some of the ways that these communities could be strengthen is by making the schools in those areas better and addressing community needs in the process. By the time that we finished talking about his occupation, I realized that the Valley of the Sun organization is very significant to communities like South Phoenix and others.
From my time spent with Francisco, I got to learn about his journey from where he was as a young child to adulthood and I got close look into the work that he does, which I admire greatly. In closing statement, South Phoenix is the home of Francisco Avalos, the Director of Engagement at the Valley of the Sun.
Student researcher: Cameron Palmer, Spring 2020