[Source: Phoenix Business Journal]
A handful of organizations are hosting “Up to Me AZ: A Day of Civic Action,” a downtown Phoenix event aimed at encouraging people to become involved in their communities, regardless of their political viewpoints or party affiliations.
The event, which is expected to attract several hundred participants, will offer people ways to become active in issues they care about. Sponsors include Arizona Town Hall, the Arizona Foundation for Women, the Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council and the Center for the Future of Arizona.
“This isn’t about politics or age or background. This is really about finding commonality and ways to work together toward solutions,” said Tara Jackson, president of Arizona Town Hall. “There is a need all over the board for Arizonans to come together and talk to each other more.”
The independent nonprofit was founded in 1962 as a forum for education and exploration of topics considered critical to the state.
About 100 members of the local Girl Scout council are scheduled to attend the event. The Arizona Cactus-Pine Council represents more than 2,000 troops across the northern half of the state, including Phoenix, and has an active membership of 10,000 adult volunteers and 24,000 girls.
The hope is that those who attend will be inspired by adult women, and that the volunteers may gain ideas to take back to their troops and add to their portfolio of civic involvement projects.
“We as an organization stand for leadership and work to help develop leadership skills within girls. It’s very important that girls learn to be active in their community, and it’s important that they learn about civic action in general,” said CEO Tamara Woodbury.
Also at the event, the Arizona Foundation for Women will unveil the results of a statewide study.
“Our study shows that women in Arizona are doing better in some places, but need work in others,” said Jodi Liggett, the foundation’s chief operating officer. “But these statistics helps people think about things in context.”
As part of the day’s activities, the National Conference on Citizenship and the Center for the Future of Arizona plan to unveil the 2010 Civic Health Index, which measures indicators such as community involvement and participation in government. NCoC will provide the national outlook, to be released Sept. 17, and the center will present Arizona-specific data at the Sept. 23 event.
This is the inaugural year for Arizona’s index, according to Lattie Coor, president of the Center for the Future of Arizona.
The report, based on data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, will feature recommendations by both organizations on how to boost civic engagement.
“We are trying to create a foundation, an informed base by which we can all sit back and take a look at our civic health,” Coor said.
The published materials compare Arizona and state and national assessments. This is the fifth year of the Civic Health Index, which will include 13 states and two cities.
Other organizations will have booths and information available for people looking to become involved. A town hall discussion will be held during the afternoon.
While many women’s organizations are involved in the event, Jackson said it is open to everyone.
“The whole day is designed to help people get connected on issues they care about and take action,” she said.