Community initiatives and events: Keep your eye out for these this fall

By Michelle Talsma Everson, September 2019 Issue.

With the weather cooling down (ok, we wish!), a new season is upon us—which means that some of our favorite community organizations and nonprofits are rolling out new programs, events and initiatives. We rounded up some of our favorite news items from local organizations for you to consider this fall. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, we hope it inspires you to check in on your favorite community group and see what they have going as the season changes.

Fall Carnival Weekend

Courtesy of RipplePHX.

Halloween and Día de los Muertos weekend is going to be off-the-hook this year. So much so, RipplePHX has decided to postpone their Summer Carnival and put everything they have into an amazing RipplePHX Fall Carnival Weekend with Stacy’s at Melrose. “Save the date to join us Thursday, Oct. 31 for Stacy’s Annual Halloween Bash where we’ll fill the back parking lot with full-size carnival games, prizes, food, drinks, costume contests and sideshow entertainment,” shares Jeremy Bright of RipplePHX. “Then, we’ll transform the carnival into our First Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1-2, with everything you love about the carnival, plus additional live entertainment, mariachi bands and some of your favorite, local Latinx performers.”

Aunt Rita’s Foundation
New HIV Testing Initiative

Courtesy of Aunt Rita’s Foundation.

Aunt Rita’s Foundation is launching a new HIV testing initiative in October that will expand free HIV testing locations in Arizona by more than 100. The new program will be offered to all Arizonans who have not been HIV tested in more than a year, and they will have the option of testing at Walgreens Health Clinics, selected Safeway pharmacies, or any Sonora Quest location. The new program follows Aunt Rita’s home HIV test kit program and is part of its overall goal to normalize HIV testing and expand the availability and accessibility of free HIV testing. “This initiative significantly helps our statewide goals for residents to know their status, and get on PrEP if they are negative, or begin immediate treatment if they are positive,” says Glen Spencer, Aunt Rita’s executive director. More information will be available beginning Oct. 1 at or

Hospice of the Valley Fall Events

Courtesy of Hospice of the Valley.

Hospice of the Valley is privileged to be our community’s not-for-profit hospice since 1977, according to the organization. As such, the agency believes strongly in providing a myriad of services and programs at no cost, says spokeswoman Lin Sue Cooney. Some fall initiatives include grief support groups, mindfulness meditation, volunteer training, and the annual Light Up a Life annual remembrance event on Nov. 24.

Phoenix Pride
2nd Annual LGBTQ+ Job and Career fair

Courtesy of Phoenix Pride.

The 2nd Annual LGBTQ+ Job and Career Fair will take place on Thursday, Sept. 12. “Last year, we saw hundreds of job seekers come through our doors and had many success stories,” says Victor E. Avila, development manager for Phoenix Pride. “This year, we aim to bring together employers, experienced professionals and entry level individuals under one roof to continue to support and empower the LGBTQ community and our allies.” This event will take place at the AE England Building at the ASU Campus downtown, located at 424 N. Central Ave. in Phoenix.

Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS
HIV 101: Pizza and The Basics

Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS hosts HIV 101: Pizza & The Basics on Wednesday, Sept. 11 to help answer your burning questions about HIV. Whether you’re newly-diagnosed and looking to learn something about living with HIV, you want to support someone you know who is HIV-positive, you want to learn how to prevent HIV, or if you just want to brush up your knowledge, this session is great for everyone, according to the organization. Call 602-307-5330 for more event details.

SWHD Foster Care Information and Opportunities

Photo by Phillip Nero.

Southwest Human Development’s Foster Care and Adoption program is seeking individuals and couples who are interested in bringing children into their life to provide the support, guidance, patience and encouragement they need to thrive, according to the organization. With approximately 14,000 children in the foster care system (many living in shelters and group homes), there is an ongoing need for foster, and in some cases adoptive caregivers. “Please consider helping a child or sibling group who has experienced trauma begin a journey to healing,” says spokesperson Ryan Narramore​.

New Volunteer Opportunities

One•n•ten has a number of great volunteer opportunities available this fall. These opportunities include weekly program volunteering, behind the scenes support, and special event volunteer support. To learn more about volunteering and attend one of their volunteer open houses, contact volunteer coordinator De’Shay Thomas at

Courtesy of one•n•ten.

New Stop at First Fridays

Phoenix’s First Fridays now has one more stop on its art walk! From 5 to 7 p.m. on First Fridays, one n ten will open its doors to the community in its First Friday Showcase, highlighting LGBTQ+ and allied youths’ artwork and performances. The next Showcase is on Sept. 6. Come and support these awesome youth and the nonprofit’s newest program, offering Fine Arts Fridays, a night every week for youth to develop the artist within. one n ten is a safe sober space. For more information, contact

Loving More Arizona

A national nonprofit, Loving More’s mission is to “educate people about and support polyamory as a valid choice in loving relationships and family lifestyle.” The local branch, Loving More Arizona, hosts ongoing monthly educational meet and greets and discussions in Tempe. Upcoming topics include trust and STI/STD information and education. Visit their Facebook group to learn more and join in the conversation.

Greater Phoenix Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Fall Events

Courtesy of Greater Phoenix Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

The local LGBTQ+ chamber welcomes members and non-members alike to their fall events. Events include First Friday Luncheons, Third Thursday Night Mixers, LGBT Night Out with Arizona Broadway Theater (Sept. 20) and the 11th annual Festival of Trees on Dec. 7.

September is National Consent Month and

Hosted by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, September is national Consent Month, which is a time to recognize and embrace the “freedom of expression achieved when informed consent is present,” according to the organization. “We also just released our Consent Signs that are specifically designed for different groups and for people to choose from so they can post on their social media,” says spokeswoman Susan Wright. Visit the Consent Month website for more information and to learn about this vital topic.

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