Tucson Electric Power has a longstanding tradition of promoting volunteerism to all ages. As a result, entire families often help out at community service events.
Family members regularly join TEP employees in activities ranging from packing food for limited-income residents and removing harmful buffelgrass to assisting animals and participating in charity walks.
Employees are encouraged to bring their children to age-appropriate events where they can impart the culture of volunteerism to the next generation. The contributions of these young volunteers are recognized with awards at TEP’s annual volunteer appreciation event.
One TEP family has three generations regularly volunteering together.
Sarah Kightlinger, a TEP employee for 17 years, is following in the footsteps of her father, Dave Crobbe, who retired from TEP in 2007 and remains active on the company’s Community Action Team. Kightlinger is now raising her two children and two stepchildren to volunteer.
“I’m very blessed to work for a company that really values community service,” said Kightlinger, a Wholesale Energy Coordinator. “We’re fortunate that TEP offers us such a variety of volunteer opportunities.”
Kightlinger’s family regularly assists the Primavera Foundation and the Ronald McDonald House and participates in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walk and shopping sprees for kids with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson.
Her family had a special experience at the Ronald McDonald House during Thanksgiving weekend one year. After regularly cooking meals for the families staying there for about a decade, she and her family members were able to dine with a family receiving care at the house.
“My son and stepdaughter are both teenagers, and it really, really touched their hearts,” Kightlinger said. “They were blown away by what these children have to go through.”
Brenda Stopani, TEP’s Supervisor of Procurement and Contracts, is another employee whose family regularly volunteers.
Before she started working at TEP about five years ago, Stopani was already bringing her children to volunteer activities. She was thrilled to find such a robust community service culture at TEP.
“TEP is fantastic about communicating the importance of volunteerism,” she said.
Stopani, her husband and two children enjoy preparing bagged lunches and distributing them at homeless shelters. They also participate in youth sports and charity golf events.
Stopani’s 12-year-old son, Santino, has volunteered as a manager and helper of Sahuaro High School’s football team for the past few seasons. For his efforts, Santino won TEP’s first PowerCAT Kid Award.
“It is a definite family effort,” she said. “We choose to volunteer together and instill those life lessons. Over time, it becomes second nature.”