1998 CITY LIVABILITY AWARD WINNERS
Outstanding Achievement Award (cities under 100,000)Gilbert: Major Cynthia L. Dunham
"Citizen Action Network" (CAN)
1. Briefly describe your program
Gilbert Citizen Action Network, or Gilbert CAN, is a grass roots, volunteer program comprised of citizens charged with implementing diverse community action plans that foster support, strength and enhancement of the youth and family of the community.
Through creative and innovative programs, such youth issues as gangs, delinquency and idle time are combated through such positive programs as after-school sports and drama groups, a Fire Explorer program, and teen counseling sessions.
Gilbert CAN consists of two integral parts: a Steering Committee and an Advisory Board. The Steering Committee is responsible for carrying out the vision and mission of the program and the Advisory Board acts as a networking mechanism, bringing together the business community, police and court personnel, religious groups, public schools, social service groups and the Major and Council. This spirit of cooperation leads to an inclusive atmosphere with a single mission: to provide youth and families with activities and information that improves their lives, and the community as a whole.
2. When and why was it created?
Although it began as a program to target "at risk" youths, it soon became all inclusive, providing a variety of programs to all youths and families. The target group remains the pre-teen to young adult population of the community.
3. How has the program improved the quality of life in your community?
Many of the grass-root programs begun through Gilbert CAN have become entrenched in the community. The Teen Court program brings in high school students to sit as judge, court administrators and jury of actual teen cases. The penalties meted out are community service hours, along with a lesson in justice from their peers.
From recreation centers to counseling sessions, from the Municipal Courts, to the Fire Department, young people in Gilbert, along with family members and community leaders, are getting involved and getting things done.
4. Why is your program outstanding or innovative?