When Arizona Helping Hands (“AHH”) was recognized by the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce as the STERLING AWARD Nonprofit Honoree for 2016, Salt River Project’s media department prepared a video about the Organization.  In it, Dan Shufelt, President and CEO stated “I’d love to be able to extend our Birthday Dreams for Foster Kids program to teenagers to be able to celebrate their special day and to promote their self-esteem.”
Now, with donations through the Arizona State Foster Tax Credit program, Arizona Helping Hands is proud to announce that this dream will become a reality.  “Our Birthday Dreams program has been providing personalized, hand decorated gift packages to children through age 12 since its inception in 2015”, Shufelt tells us.  “We are so excited to now include teenagers in the program.”  Typical packages for the teens will include a piece of luggage packed with such items as wallets, gift cards, soccer balls,  and more.  The teen packages will also be wrapped with care by volunteers and include a personalized birthday card with a message such as “You are special”, “Enjoy your day” and “Wishes of Love sent your way”.
Any child in the Department of Child Safety system can receive a gift package.  Applications on the website, allow for special requests which are filled if available – even including bicycles when the Organization has them available.  Foster families and DCS caseworkers can apply for the program two to four weeks prior to the child’s birthday to allow AHH to handle the request.
“In 2016 we filled BIRTHDAY DREAMS for 920 children through age 12.  With this new funding from community supporters, we are now able to grow the program and expand through age 18.  We expect to make birthdays a truly special day for 2,000+ children in foster care in 2017” Shufelt says.
Arizona taxpayers make this program, and all of AHH’s programs possible through donating via the tax credit program. Taxpayers can contribute up to $1,000 per calendar year ($500 for a single taxpayer) and receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit against their Arizona State tax return.  It’s a way to use your tax dollars to brighten the lives of children in foster care who have experienced trauma and disruption.  A way to make BIRTHDAY DREAMS a reality for the 17,000+ boys and girls in foster care in Arizona.
AHH also looks to area businesses, churches and clubs to support the program through collection drives, and volunteers are always needed to assemble the gifts.  Contact to learn more information, and donate at
Arizona Helping Hands is the largest provider of items including beds, cribs, clothing, diapers, personalized care packages, home safety equipment and more to Arizona’s foster care population.  It’s mission is to brighten the lives of children and to ease the burden of families in foster care, and now to fill TEENAGE BIRTHDAY DREAMS!
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For more information about this topic or to schedule an interview, contact Dan Shufelt at