We offer a simple welcoming gesture, but it is one that lasts a lifetime.
School Spirit at Valencia Newcomer School!
Thank you to the WTAP volunteers who made Wednesday night memorable for students beginning their year at Valencia Newcomer School, Alhambra District’s brilliant approach for newly arrived refugee children. WTAP intern, Karrissa, helped organize our many partners who will share their support for Valencia this school year - ASU COAR, PCs for Refugees, Phantom Cyclist, Hands for Henna - to participate in Valencia’s Back-to-School orientation night. We also held a Welcome Wave at the event, sharing clothes, shoes, books and toiletries with incoming students and families. What better way to celebrate refugees than to invest in their future by enhancing their educational experience. We are all a part of the welcome, this time academically speaking.
Meet Two of Our Amazing Welcome Wave
Lead Volunteers!
The warm welcomes and needed services that WTAP provides would not be possible without amazing volunteers like Manya Paul and Sarah Irizarry , two committed volunteers who serve compassionately as Welcome Wave Leads!
Manya Paul

Manya started volunteering with her daughters, Tatijana and Maja, on deliveries in 2014, and quickly began helping with the Clothing Closets (now called Welcome Waves). In fact, they were part of the first mobile Clothing Closet - literally handing out clothes from the back of Manya’s car in the parking lot of an apartment complex. They’ve also helped out in the warehouse, with adopt-a-family, and gathering donations from other community members.

Originally from Ohio, escaping the snow and cold weather, Manya has enjoyed spending time with her daughters at WTAP, and also teaching them about service, learning about other cultures and the importance of a warm welcome. 

"It has been a blessing to show my girls the challenges that other people have overcome. They are compassionate young women who think carefully about and understand many global issues. I know their service with WTAP has contributed greatly to their outlooks.” 

Manya and her family enjoy traveling and learning about other cultures, including reading and preparing recipes from countries around the world. Manya also loves foreign languages, and is always studying a couple other languages on the side. She speaks Spanish and a little bit of Serbo-Croatian, but has also studied, Italian, French, Portuguese, German, and Dutch. 

Thank you, Manya, for your five years of service to WTAP! 
Sarah Irizarry

Sarah began volunteering with WTAP over two years ago. Having worked with many refugee students as a teacher, Sarah was looking for an organization that helped refugees and luckily, she found WTAP! Starting as a volunteer at the Clothing Closets, she found herself volunteering often and quickly becoming a lead volunteer for the Clothing Closet shifts!

“I love everything about working the Clothing Closets - organizing the clothing, making it presentable, and it goes straight to those in need. I love it when we have enough volunteers and shoppers!”

Sarah also volunteers teaching English to refugees. She has worked with a group of young girls for over two years, going to their home every two weeks to meet and help them with their English skills and their homework. Sarah says the girls are “doing amazing!"

Sarah moved to Arizona in 1996, and is currently teaching Spanish and raising two sons, who keep her busy with practices and games for baseball and basketball. 

A little fun fact about Sarah - she loves orcas! She enjoys learning about them and seeing them in the wild! Her goal is to try to find them in their natural habitats so she plans trips to places like the San Juan Islands and Monterey Bay to find them!

Sarah, we thank you for your time and commitment to WTAP! 

From January to August, WTAP in-service volunteers have contributed over 3400 hours of service to WTAP! Thank you!

Always remember to sign in so we can see our volunteer hours grow!
Tues, Weds & Sat - 8:00 to 11:00 am
1711 W. University Dr. #158, Tempe, AZ 85281