Youth Spotlight: Hudson Downs


The first word we think of to describe Hudson is passionate.  He has a zest for learning with the wheels in his brain always turning.  He adds a lot of energy and humor to his family.  He’s an absolute fun person to be around.   Hudson is the 4th of 6 children in his family.  He has a twin sister, Brooklyn.  He’s a Junior in High School student with strengths in Math, Science and History.

Hudson absolutely loves participating and watching most sports.  Right now he swims competitively year-round with Mesa Aquatics Club, and on most days swims twice a day.  He just finished swimming with the high school, lettering for his 3rd year.  He’s also a certified scuba diver.

Hudson has a passion for all kinds of music.  He has an amazing talent for identifying musical artists, even dating back to the 60’s & 70’s.  He’s tough to beat in playing “Name That Artist”.  Hudson also plays the piano and trombone.  After finishing high school, he plans to serve a mission for his church and then looks forward to college.  We love having Hudson in our family because he’s a great young man with a tremendous heart.

Hudson is a Bass in INSPIRE: Youth and we are so thankful to have his powerful voice and his sight-reading abilities.  He is such a great musician and an asset to the group.

October 2013 Service Project: United Food Bank

United Food Bank

INSPIRE had the opportunity to volunteer with the United Food Bank in Mesa, AZ and we had a blast!  We were asked to sort through entire HUGE bins full of food. These bins were filled with food that people had donated and we needed to check to see if they were still edible, etc.

assebly line.

INSPIRE and other volunteers separate food, figure out if it is expired or has nutrition facts, and then sorts it into specific boxes to be packaged.

Do you have any idea about how much hunger there is in Arizona?

Arizona Hunger Statistics

  • Arizona is tied as the worst state in the U.S. when it comes to child hunger, and the 5th worst for overall food insecurity.
  • 1 in 4 children; 1 in 5 adults; and 1 in 7 seniors struggle with hunger.
  • 888,100 unduplicated Arizonans received emergency food assistance in 2009, an 85% increase from the 2006 study.
    • Almost half (46%) of those were children under the age of 18
    • 74% of households lived below the federal poverty line, defined as $22,050 annually for a family of four.
    • 77% of households experienced food insecurity.

Maricopa County Statistics

  • More than 623,300 (16.5%) people live in poverty.
  • 26% of those living in poverty are children!
  • Nearly 1,138,000 (29%) are “working poor.”
  • Respondents to a Maricopa Association of Governments survey listed FOOD as their major need!
  • Food assistance requests are one of the most often received calls at 2-1-1 Arizona.


Boxes of food

So What does the United Food Bank do to help out those in hunger?

Highlights of Fiscal Year ‘11/’12 (July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012)

Food Distribution
We distributed 19,801,662 lbs. of food and grocery items (19,518,282 lbs. to 257
Community Partner Agencies/Sites & shared 283,380 lbs. with 5 sister food banks)

— Total Distributed food provided more than 16,501,300 meals – over 45,200 meals daily (365 days/year)
— 61% (12,084,030 lbs.) of all the food we distributed through partner agencies went to 151 partners in the East Valley & Maricopa
–During the year through our “Mobile Pantries” we made 1,555 distributions (an average of 130 distributions monthly) providing fresh produce and other food. More than 269,600 people were assisted.
— In our 30 year history (since 1983) we’ve distributed 257,659,895 pounds of food – food enough for 214,716,579 meals

–During an average workday our warehouse processed more than 80 tons of food
— For each $1 of expenses we can distribute 5.62 lbs. of food worth $9.04 – enough to provide 4.68 meals
— 4,764 volunteers (1,390 unduplicated) provided more than 51,300 hours of work – equivalent to 24.7 paid staff

SP Group Shot

INSPIRE was grateful to volunteer and be a part of the hunger solution!  So what did our dent in the fight for ending hunger look like. We sorted 4266 lbs. of food, Made 3,047 meals, and that comes out to about 169 meals per volunteer!


INSPIRE Spotlight: Niki Oakes

Niki Oakes, Soprano
1. How did you hear about INSPIRE and what impact has it made on your life?
A darling girl, and old acquaintance named Annalece Boothe ran into me at a work convention where she immediately told me about Inspire and that I should join. I had been looking for something just like this in my life. After 6 years of inactivity in my faith I was needing something to continue to bring hope and joy to my life.
2. Share with us something you are passionate about?
I have always been passionate about life itself. I never hold back, I try to live every moment to its fullest, with no regrets. I love “letting my light shine”, being my best self. When I am an old woman and my life is coming to an end, I want to be able to look back and say “I truly lived!”
3. What do you do for your day job?
I currently manage the office and do the bookkeeping for a company called Let’s Play Music. We lease an incredible curriculum to teachers nationwide. This 3 year curriculum is designed for kids ages 4-9 and not only teaches basic piano skills but focuses on creating the total musician. Kids learn rhythm, play games, find a love for classical music at a young age, ear training, and even composition. I love the company dearly. It has been incredible to be able to work in my field and also be close to music. 🙂
4. If you could be anywhere on the planet tomorrow where would you chose?
I would be on vacation seeing the world!!! Or Disneyland…actually I’m am sitting in Disneyland right now while writing these answers haha. I love to travel and to see new things and try new food!!
5. Between food, friends,  and entertainment which would you choose and why?
For me one does not exist without the others! Food for me is cultural and social. Same goes for entertainment. When I experience something I enjoy, a taste, a sight, a smell…I immediately want to find someone to share it with. Life is so much more exciting when shared with loved ones.
6. If money weren’t an issue what is the first things you would buy? I would buy a big beach house somewhere exotic! Me, a diet coke, and good book on a porch that looks out over the ocean is my ideal afternoon.

INSPIRE Spotlight: Jason Alston


Jason Alston: Tenor

1. How did you learn about INSPIRE?
I heard about INSPIRE through a friend. Amy Honka had posted that they would be having auditions, and at the time I had not been in a choir for at least a year and was ready to be back in one. Thought when I auditioned I really didn’t know much about INSPIRE. In fact I really am not one to make impulsive desicions or jump into something without having thought about it for a while. But in this case for some reason I did, and so far it has been an amazing ride!

2. What is one of your favorite things about being in INSPIRE?
One of my favorite things about being in INSPIRE is atmosphere of all the people. Micheal and Kylee and everyone that have worked to get it to where it is today have done a phenomenal job. The spirit is present in and outside of firesides, and I immediately felt welcomed into a group of wonderful people.

3. You started your own business in myropractics and it takes a lot of work. What is one of the best things about running your own business? What is one of the hardest things? It’s been an interesting journey career wise. I’ve started my own business as a myopractor, and I truly can say that God inspired me to take this path. Among many things, one of my favorite parts about having my practice, are when patients tell me the change that they have experienced. I’ve been amazed many times.
One of the hardest things, although I enjoy learning it, is learning how to own, operate, and build a business.

4. Besides singing what else do you like to do? Besides singing, I like to dance and perform, play volleyball and Ultimate Frisbee, and basically any type of card or board game out there, particularly thinking/strategy games. I enjoy having fun in general, whether it’s with friends, siblings, or nieces and nephews.

5. Pick one of your heroes and share why you admire him/her? One of my hero’s is a great friend from high school, Aaron Butler. He has always been a great example to me. If you ask me, one of his greatest traits is humility, he is extremely talented, but he wouldn’t be the person to point it out to you. I know I can always trust Aaron’s word.

6. Name one item on your bucket list? As far as my bucket list goes, one of the things that I want to do is go para-sailing! That would be awesome!


If you want to learn more about what Jason does as a Myropractor then check out his video below!

INSPIRE: Youth SPOTLIGHT – Carina Cannon

Photo on 9-11-13 at 6.29 PM #2


Carina Cannon is a member of INSPIRE: Youth and is a super talented 13 year old with an amazing voice and abilities on many instruments.  She is also a trained dancer.  Carina takes private voice an piano and has performed in many venues.  We are excited to get to know Carina better and enjoy her fun personality.  She is such an asset to the group and we are happy to have her.


This is an audio clip of Carina singing “Brave” by Sarah Bareilles during a voice/piano lesson.


1- Do you play an instrument? I play the piano

2- Where is your favorite place to sing? At the piano.

3- Who is your favorite singer/band? Cody Simpson

4- What is your first memory of singing? When I sang at my grandma’s funeral

5- What is something unique about you? I play the harp

6- What is your favorite non-musical thing to do? I love to play volleyball

Children’s First Academy Service Project

INSPIRE was grateful to help out Children’s First Academy. We were able to help sort out hundreds of donated books for their school’s library. We had a great time and want to thank all those who came to help out!

IMG_1977 IMG_1976 IMG_1988 IMG_1986 IMG_1984 IMG_1983 IMG_1982 IMG_1981 IMG_1980 IMG_1979 IMG_1978

The Voice of East Valley Competition

Our very own Michelle Moyer WON the Voice of the East Valley competition with this amazing rendition of “Broken Hearted”!

Inspire youth

INSPIRE: Youth also had their first public performance and they rocked! Justin Osmond actually invited them to open for the Osmonds at the Phoenix Zoo in front of the entire auditorium…so stay tuned for more excitement soon to come!!