Reflecting on a Year of Progress
Last year was an exciting year for Valley Leadership! We built on the foundations of the first year of our reimagined programming (Catalyze and Explore) and expanded the work of the Impact Maker. Let’s take a look at some of the important accomplishments over the last year.
With the pandemic winding down over the last year, Catalyze Class 2 had more opportunities to meet in-person for monthly socials and events. This helped the cohort better connect with their fellow leaders and pod-mates and build lasting relationships. We also included Impact Maker Team Leads in the monthly socials so that the Catalyze participants could learn first-hand about the Impact Maker work and ways they could get involved.
Overall, Catalyze Class 2 graduated 86 leaders that represented 20 different Arizona cities. In total, the class participated in a whopping 3,010+ learning hours! We also had 20+ different community partners and leaders present during the program.
Our second Explore class just wrapped up last month, with 15 graduates who visited 6 cities across our state. The cohort traveled 1,754 miles together during the trips, and heard from 93 community partners.
We encourage you to read the blog posts written by Jen Gastelum, Explore Program Manager, to learn more about the program and the cities and towns that were visited.. You can see them here: Final Reflection & Graduation, Navajo Nation, Buckeye, Mesa, South Phoenix, Nogales and Yuma.
Over the last year, our Impact Maker teams were living out the Principle of Doing, “Driven to Do” and making inroads on several of AZ’s most pressing issues Here are some of the highlights from the Teams’ work over the last year:
Our Child Well-Being Team supported (Court Appointed Special Advocate) CASA enrollment through community-hosted Lunch & Learn events with Catalyze graduates and the broader VL network. The Team also supported the development of the T4AZ Family Support Chatbot in partnership with Together for Arizona, 211 and a number of other community partners.
Our Education Team continued to support the Arizona FAFSA Coalition through an in-kind media campaign partnership with Cox Media, and managing a state-wide FAFSA awareness effort through azfafsa.org. The website had over 35,000 views over the last year. The team also worked with local businesses to educate parents about the importance of completing the FAFSA and hosted Lunch & Learns with their employees including State Farm and Cox.
Our Environmental Sustainability Team developed a program to encourage private property owners in neighborhoods with low tree equity scores to plant more trees to help mitigate heat and improve air quality in these areas. The Team has identified potential neighborhoods for outreach and is creating a toolkit for interested businesses to navigate the tree planting process.
Our Health Team continued the development of the Opioid Use Disorder Business Toolkit. They presented the toolkit to a number of local business organizations and were included in Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Campaign. The Team also worked with Home Matters to Arizona and other community partners to help launch the Home is where it all starts campaign; a campaign shaping a future where every Arizonan has a place to be at Home.
Our Jobs & Economy Team launched their Fair Chance Employer Badge program to support those with justice involvement to find fair employment. Ten employers are now using the badge to promote their hiring practices. Shoutout to Pipeline AZ who is hosting the badge and helping companies connect with potential employees.
Our Racial Justice Team organized and hosted their first Community Story Circle. The event brought together individuals from across the community to create, connect and better understand where people are coming from. The Team will be hosting another Community Story Circle later this fall.