Salvation Army hosts dedication of Mike Michaels Activity Center

The Mike Michaels Activity Center. (Submitted photo)

The Salvation Army Metro Phoenix had a dedication ceremony Friday, Feb. 22 at the new Mike Michaels Activity Center, named in honor of the late Mike Michaels, Valley resident and longtime supporter of The Salvation Army.

The project broke ground 11 months ago on the campus of The Salvation Army Phoenix Emergency Family Shelter, a 23-room facility with a capacity of 118 beds and 15 cribs for its residents, according to a press release.

“Great things will happen on this campus, and it will be a hub of activity,” The Salvation Army Southwest Divisional Commander Lt. Col. Kelly Pontsler said in a prepared statement. “Families who are facing crisis will have a chance to get a fresh start.”

Mr. Michaels’s daughter Barbara Anderson and son Chuck Michaels were on hand with a dozen other family members to see the completed center for the first time.

Mike Michaels’s daughter Barbara Anderson cuts the ribbon at the new Mike Michaels Activity Center in Phoenix. (Submitted photo)

Before his passing in 2015, Mike Michaels — who worked as a financial advisor in the Valley for more than two decades — donated often to The Salvation Army, and he told his children of his intentions to leave the bulk of his estate to charity.

Barbara and Chuck have honored their father’s wishes by supporting such programs as The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Centers and Kroc Center scholarships, a release states.

Chuck Michaels became emotional as he spoke to the nearly 100 people in the audience.

“My dad never knew his father, and he had an estranged relationship with his mother,” Chuck Michaels said in a prepared statement.

“He would tell me that sometimes he was raised by his mom, sometimes he was raised by his grandmother and sometimes he was raised in foster care. My dad went to be hungry many times. His struggles early in life made him identify with the work of The Salvation Army. When I was growing up, my dad would ring at Red Kettles during the holidays and then deposit checks into the kettle at the end of his shifts.

“I wish my dad were here today to see this amazing building and the incredible gift he’s given to the community. I know he would be very proud.”

Using a model of “Recrate to Re-create,” The Mike Michaels Activity Center is designed to restore normalcy to families by providing opportunities for them to learn and heal through play, as well as address families’ short-term and long-term housing and economic self-sufficiency goals.

The following will be among the opportunities at the two-story facility available exclusively to Emergency Family Shelter residents:

  • The Cox Innovation Lab – featuring 15 laptop computers, four smart TVs, four tablets, two printers, furniture and additional tech accessories – funded by Cox Communications, focusing on supporting youth and families with education and technology programs
  • Case management
  • Counseling office
  • Wellness corridor with medical and dental services
  • Half-court sized multi-purpose room for activities such as basketball and volleyball
  • Game tables, books and board games
  • Harmony Park, an outside space with a walking path, playground and gazebo

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