“We don’t exactly fit the norm. We are very hands on, and we really are like a big family.” That’s what Angela Fazio told Top Agent Magazine about her and her husband Chuck’s enterprise, Real Estate Training Center. And the veteran agent was speaking from her heart. Not only does the duo forgo typical boss privileges—such as private offices and the right to legally rename new employees “Junior” and “Sport”—but the pair also takes the crew on team-building trips, such as a recent voyage to Mexico. The happy and relaxed workplace has helped the center’s tight-knit clan achieve high-profile realty success in Arizona, sharing the top spot on Phoenix Business Journal’s 2011 Top 10 Brokers list, as well as nabbing a top 50 ranking on Realtor magazine’s 2008 Top 100 list. Aside from selling properties and helming their team of achieved agents, the Fazios teach real-estate-license training courses, aiding wannabe realtors in grasping the concepts of buying, selling, and trading property for a slightly used Barbie dream house.
Sunbird Golf Resort lines up 18 picturesque holes in its par-66 executive course, which spreads over 4,384 yards amid a welcoming residential area. Though relatively short in overall length, the Gary Panks design brims with obstacles capable of ensnaring wayward balls, including greenside bunkers, water on 10 holes, and mischievous palm trees that drop coconuts to confuse searching golfers. Before a round, players can test green speed on practice putting greens next to the 1st and 10th tee boxes and warm up with shorter strokes on a slightly truncated driving range.
Course at a Glance:
A volunteer-run and faith-based organization, The Clothes Cabin provides free clothing, shoes, and linens to low-income families. The organization accepts only new or gently used items that are then washed, ironed, and sorted by size to offer an experience similar to shopping at a retail store. Its volunteers served more than 1,000 families in 2011, providing more than 60,000 articles of clothing and household linens. The Clothes Cabin also has a free laundry service and, whenever possible, supplements clothing and linens with donations of books, hygiene items, toys, and diapers.
Aqua-Tots Swim School trains and encourages swimmers in the art of buoyancy through its array of services, specializing in instructing those aged 6 months–12 years in small groups. Instructors boast national certification, completing 32 hours in the company’s Lessons for Life training program and successfully completing the Water Safety Instructor exam.
Children are placed in one of eight class levels, from Tadpoles (6 months–18 months), which acquaints infants with the pool, to Stingrays, which is for children who have more experience and want to refine their strokes and one day sting a jellyfish. Each individual class contains no more than four students training under the watchful eye of the instructor in a climate-controlled indoor pool. In addition to the children’s program, Aqua-Tots Swim Schools also leads adult swim classes and provides training for both swim competition and first aid.
The Child Crisis Center (CCC) provides educational and developmental resources for families, operates the Arizona Adoption & Foster Care program, and runs an emergency shelter for abused, abandoned, and neglected children.
Since it's inception in 1981, the CCC has housed more than 12,700 children from infancy to age 11. The shelter now contains 42 beds and houses 300–350 children every year. Young guests get a warm place to sleep, meals and snacks, and meaningful recreational and educational activities, including regular homework time and opportunities to play outdoors.
Arizona Bird Store is home to blue and gold macaws, blue-fronted Amazons, and sulphur-crested cockatoos—all of which can alight on visitors' shoulders or nuzzle their necks. The sociable birds range from hand-fed babies to adult breeders, and they include varies species, such as tiny finches and large, chatty parrots.
The specialty shop also boards birds, and its staff performs grooming services. In addition, Arizona Bird Store supplies patrons with a wide variety of cages and specialty accessories.