Plaza del Rio foundation co-chair, Barbara Eylands

Plaza del Rio foundation co-chair, Barbara Eylands, a resident of freedom plaza, presents a spring 2019 scholarship to Adelyne Gomez, of Peoria Post Acute & Rehabilitation’s dining services. a four-time scholarship recipient, Gomez applies the funds awarded towards a double major in elementary education and special education from northern Arizona university. (Photo by Marla Levine)

The Plaza del Rio Foundation’s Spring 2019 Scholarship Awards Presentation recognized 10 employees from both the Freedom Plaza Retirement Campus and Peoria Post Acute and Rehabilitation (formerly Plaza del Rio Care Center) on the Plaza del Rio Campus in Peoria.

Funded by resident donations, the William T. and Laura Lou Riggs Memorial Scholarship Fund awarded a total of

$19,995 in scholarships to 10 students for the spring 2019 semester. Founded in 1997, the semi-annual awards presentation has awarded a total of 412 scholar- ships, funding $570,069 for tuition and books.

Plaza del Rio Foundation President Gail Poolner welcomed the scholarship recipients and thanked residents for their charitable donations to the Riggs Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Poolner also expressed her appreciation to the Freedom Plaza residents on the board: Co-chairpersons Barbara Eylands and Mary Koleski, Vice President Barbara Donald, Secretary Pennie Doss, Assistant Secretary Ruth Davis, finance committee Glenn Bennett, fundraising David Mosley, Treasurer Joan Peters, Assistant Treasurer Doris

Young, and scholarship committee Robert Duncan, Paul Meeden, and Theresa Unser.

“Foundation board members volunteer 100 percent of their time, so every dollar goes to student recipients,” Freedom Plaza’s Executive Director Jai Lar- man announced. “They do all this from the kindness of their hearts.”

Sharing the words of an American track-and-field athlete and four-time Olympic gold medalist, Jesse Owens, Larman recited the quote, “We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.”

The spring 2019 scholarship recipients from Freedom Plaza Independent Living include: business office Kristi Silva; dining services Marlee Burgess, Reyna Duran, Alyssa Linares, and Courtney Doss; marketing Erynn Duran; and resident programs Nicole Hadenfeldt; as well as staff from Freedom Plaza Care Center medical records Kim Morales; caregiver Sylvia Omwancha; and Peoria Post Acute & Rehabilitation dining services Adelyne Gomez.As the scholarships were awarded, the scholars expressed their heartfelt appreciation to the residents of Plaza del Rio Campus for their continuous generosity.

Enrolled in the Master of Business Administration program at Grand Can- yon University, six-time scholarship recipient Erynn Duran said, “Thank you for this awesome opportunity to get a master’s degree.”

“Very thankful for the opportunity to work here and pursue my goal of becoming a nurse,” said Sylvia Omwancha, a first-time scholarship recipient enrolled in the nursing program at Scottsdale Community College.

“Ten years ago, I decided to become a librarian, and will graduate this semester,” said Nicole Hadenfeldt, a five-time scholarship recipient pursuing a master’s in library and information science from the University of Arizona. “This is such a wonderful place to grow and thrive. Thanks to all the residents, I can complete my degree almost student loan-free.”

To learn more about the Plaza del Rio Foundation and William T. and Laura Lou Riggs Memorial Scholarship Fund, call 623-815-4013.