Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer speaks Tuesday, May 17, at a groundbreaking for a project that will remodel Washington Street, the main road to the Capitol, for next year's centennial.

Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

To celebrate Arizona's centennial, a collaborative effort is being made to inspire residents to log 1 million volunteer hours leading up to the 100th-year celebration on Feb. 14, 2012.

The Arizona Governor's Commission on Service and Volunteerism has teamed up with the Centennial Commission and 3TV to bring a streamlined and efficient process of teaming up potential volunteers with local organizations.

The Arizona Centennial Volunteer Challenge kicked off on July 6 and more than 100 groups from across the state have signed up. A spokeswoman for the challenge said local organizations such as the Girl Scouts, the Humane Society, Gilbert Police Department, Greater Phoenix Youth at Risk, Hospice of the Valley and the Special Olympics are just some of those signed up.

"Our state was really built on volunteerism and service," said Blanca Esparza, commissioner for the Governor's Commission on Service and Volunteerism. "The response so far has been fabulous. People are interested and want to get involved."

For those wanting to join the effort, visit www.azfamily.volunteermatch.org, a kind of one-stop-shop for getting prepared to volunteer.

Once you sign up for the site and take a pledge, you can browse volunteer opportunities by ZIP code. The site also allows a volunteer to enter and track their total hours.

"We can use an aggregator to record the hours of all of our volunteers," Esparza said. "We are hoping to hit 1 million hours by Feb. 14 and if we go over, that would be great too. It's going to take every Arizonan to get involved, but if a person can't do 100 hours, five or 10 would be great, too."

An information session for prospective volunteers and organizations will be at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, July 15 at the Grace Inn, 10831 S. 51st St.

"It's not a hard sell once people find out what the meaning behind this effort is," Esparza said.

For interested organizations, they too can sign up for the website for free to put in volunteer opportunities for upcoming events.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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