Members of the Maricopa Fire/Medical Department gave back to a local business owner Monday for supporting a special youth program in local schools.
Firehouse Subs franchisee John Beveridge received a $200 check and a plaque commemorating his donation to the MFMD Community Services’s at-risk intervention program this year.
MFMD Prevention Specialist Jason Nelson teaches the class to children at Maricopa Unified School District’s middle and high schools during lunchtime.
Nelson said Beveridge donated food from his establishment without hesitation.
“This is what makes Maricopa, Maricopa,” Nelson said of Beveridge’s community spirit.
The program promotes youth engagement in educational pursuits like the high school’s Air Force Junior ROTC program, Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology, as well as careers in public safety, and participation in athletic programs.
Nelson and other firefighters tackle issues like bullying while encouraging children in the program to form friendships.
“To some degree, almost any person has identified with being picked on and you hear about it more than ever before,” Beveridge said.
Beveridge has co-owned the local sub shop with his wife since October 2014. He said he will continue to support MFMD’s youth program in the future.
Program participants are referred by school counselors and teachers. They meet inside the cafeteria during lunch while firefighters discuss the family-bond inside the firehouse.
Although much of the program curriculum hopes to inspire students to enroll in educational and vocational programs, Nelson said his main goal for the class is for children to form lasting relationships with each other.
“The reality of it is junior high is tough, high school is tough; (It’s) where you are judged on everything, and sometimes it’s easier to walk that path if you’re not alone,” Nelson said. “It’s just that simple.”