Phoenix woman gives up career to help community

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Jessie Waggoner knows firsthand what a difference Frielingis making,without ever asking for anything in return. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Jessie Waggoner knows firsthand what a difference Frielingis making,without ever asking for anything in return. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

It's a south Phoenix neighborhood where families struggle, a place where every meal is a blessing and kids wander the streets, looking for something to do.

That's where Mary Frieling comes in.

She's turned a run-down property into a community center that's making a huge difference in the lives of low-income families.

"The most important thing is to break the chain," said Frieling. "A lot of these families - it's generation after generation after generation. I want children to learn that if they get good grades - work hard - are fair to others - they can have anything in this world."

The former Valley realtor has officially given up her career and devoted her life full time to the Phoenix Children's Project.

Every weekend, Frieling invites neighborhood kids over to just have fun.

But the generosity doesn't stop there.

Frieling also provides food and supply boxes to neighbors in need.

"This, to me, is more fulfilling than any jobs I've had," said Frieling.

Jessie Waggoner knows firsthand what a difference Frieling is making, without ever asking for anything in return.

 The center is currently in desperate need of volunteers and money to build a new playground, which is why Waggoner reached out to CBS 5 to Pay it Forward to Frieling.

"Just a way to let her know that I appreciate her, and that I love her and that I want to help her help the children," said Waggoner.

Waggoner surprised Frieling with $500 with a TV news crew right behind her.

"I want to tell the world how much I love you, and how much you have changed my life," said Waggoner. "The lives of everybody in the community here, and how much your passion and dedication mean to all of us. On behalf of Channel 5 and Pay it Forward, I'd like to give you this for your playground."

"There's something about her that teaches you and shines through and makes us all want to be better people," added Waggoner.

For more information on how to help the Phoenix Children's Project visit http://phoenixchildren.org/

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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