The next Ahwatukee Community Network (ACN) meeting is all about setting up partnerships and networks to make serving a sustainable change.

Billy Thrall, director of CityServe, will talk to the group about the concept behind CityServe and its goals for the future.

CityServe was created to carry on a movement that began with Arizona CityFest and Season of Service. At that time many groups worked together to bring churches and organizations out of their comfort zone to begin working together. An event at Tempe Beach Park celebrated all the service that had been given, but organizers realized there was still a need to do more. What they needed was to continue these partnerships and create truly sustainable change. CityServe was born to encourage that change.

In March CityServe hosted its inaugural event, HopeFest, which provided services like dental care, free hair cuts and other basic needs to the homeless or working poor in Phoenix. It was one event meant to bring organizations together with a common goal and create relationships they can use moving forward.

“What I think is so unique about them is their goal is not to get people excited to come serve one day or at a couple events,” said Jessica Major of Connecting to Serve. “Their goal is to really build partnerships so that people are working together to help a need all the time. Obviously sustainable change is so much more impactful than a one-day event. It also takes a lot more work to build these relationships to make these things happen.”

When CityServe was formed they began hosting monthly meetings to address different topics. As they brought up topics it sparked leaders in Ahwatukee to step up and want to find a way to address the problem locally. That’s what the Ahwatukee Community Network is all about, bringing local Ahwatukee leaders together to form advocacy teams to meet certain needs in the community.

Thrall is coming to present at the ACN meeting as a way to encourage the local advocacy teams to think larger. Thrall will share CityServe’s philosophy and speak to the success of HopeFest.

The meeting will be on Tuesday, May 15 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. in the Community Room at the new Mountain Park Senior Living facility, 4473 E. Knox Road. For more information, call Connecting to Serve at (602) 541-7440.

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