Every year, more than 100 amateur and professional cooks prepare fresh salsas for My Nana's Best Tasting Salsa Challenge. Proceeds from the daylong salsa competition and festival benefit the Arizona Hemophilia Association, which aims to enhance the life of sufferers and advocate for bleeding disorders. Now in its 30th year, the fest brings in more than 20,000 people annually. In addition to the salsa challenge, the Patron Margarita Mix-Off, which takes place from 12:30–3:30 p.m., challenges local bartenders to compete for the title of Best Margarita and a $500 cash prize. Outside of competitions, margaritas and cold beers wash down unlimited chips and salsa, and the rhythms of live bands keep crowds chewing in unison. Parents can accompany their children into a fun zone with multiple bounce houses, interactive games, and a bungee run.
There’s little left in Tucson to suggest that back in the mid-19th-century the city served as the Southwest’s hub for highway robbers. But it's a fact that the area hosted a string of stagecoach holdups and served as the starting point for Wyatt Earp’s infamous vendetta ride. At the Arizona History Museum, relics stand testament to this harrowed past, including an original Concord stagecoach, not unlike those whose occupants were forced to surrender their valuables to roadside brigands. The museum doesn’t only explore infamy, though; it illuminates all the forces that took part in Tucson’s transition from Paleo-Indian hunting ground to Spanish colonial outpost to the commercial center it is today. Exhibits cover this vast span of time creatively, including a full-size replica of an underground mine that provides a glimpse into early-20th-century working conditions, hands-on exhibits that recall the day-to-day lives of Native Americans, and archaeology displays that detail the surrounding environment's history over the past 4,000 years.
New Global Citizens empowers young people to become engaged global citizens as they learn about challenges addressed in the UN Millennium Development goals, such as extreme poverty, environmental sustainability, gender equality, and HIV/AIDS. Through unique global education programs, New Global Citizens provides middle- and high-school students with opportunities to create global change while gaining advocacy, leadership, collaboration, and communication skills. To date, the New Global Citizens movement has raised $120,000, launched more than 300 teams on school campuses across the country, and started 150 advocacy initiatives to support 65 grassroots projects in 40 countries around the world.
Axé Capoeira Arizona's head instructor, Jay "Camara" Spain, learned capoeira from second-degree capoeira master and Axé Capoeira founder Marcos da Silva. Today, at his Tempe studio, Spain returns the favor to his students, both kids and adults. His specialty is capoeira, a visually enthralling Brazilian technique that consists of kicks, self-defense movements, dance-floor-worthy footwork, and tricky gymnastic moves such as cartwheels, handstands, and eyelash stands. For self-defense tactics solely, Spain and his team also offer Brazilian jujitsu and muay thai classes.
Arizona Beagle Rescue (AZBR) aims to find permanent homes for beagles and to prevent their unnecessary deaths by euthanasia, rescuing them from shelters and other agencies. As AZBR has no shelter facility of its own, the organization relies on volunteers to temporarily foster the dogs until they're matched with a family or individual for permanent adoption. Along with offering these services, AZBR educates the public about temperament and traits specific to beagles and the importance of spay and neuter services. In 2011, AZBR rescued and found homes for 121 beagles that would otherwise have been killed in shelters.
A safe space. That's what the Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley give to more than 43,000 kids each year. But along with keeping kids out of harm's way after school lets out, the Boys & Girls Clubs enrich children's lives though their programs. Kids get creative in arts classes, learn social interaction and fitness skills in sports programs, and prepare for the future with technology courses that ensure they won't buy stock in companies that only produce floppy discs.
But the Boys & Girls Clubs impact kids beyond afterschool care. In addition to the East Valley clubs having the first Arizona club to serve a Native American community, the clubs' Ladmo branch has Mona Dixon, who was named National Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in 2010.
Her path of success, encouraged by the Boys & Girls Clubs, led her from a girl homeless and worried about her family's survival to a young woman with a full ride to college and named one of the Top 28 Most Influential Black Women in America by Essence magazine.