New leadership program in Cochise County seeking applicants

New leadership program in Cochise County seeking applicants
Cochise County logo (Source: Cochise County)

COCHISE COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Applications are now being accepted for a new leadership program designed to help create healthier communities across Cochise County.

The Cochise Leadership Academy offers participants the opportunity to develop key leadership skills and positively impact their local communities. The program is part of a multi-agency collaboration to improve healthy eating and active living to tackle the issues of diabetes and obesity.

The effort is being spearheaded by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, which recently received a $2m grant from The Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona to promote healthy living. The Cooperative Extension has partnered with Cochise Health & Social Services, Cochise County Superintendent of Schools, First Things First, and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, to meet its objectives. Called Building Healthy Communities, the project stems from Cochise County’s Community Health Assessment, which identified healthy eating, diabetes and obesity as a top citizen priority.

“The Legacy Foundation supports local leadership development, which is included in this grant,” explained Candace Weingart, a program coordinator with the Cooperative Extension’s Building Healthy Communities Project. “It is part of our responsibilities to increase leadership so we can instill sustainable growth.”

Senior Program Coordinator Charlotte Taylor added, “Positive change begins with the people most impacted – the citizens. The leadership academy is specifically geared to build and refine leadership skills at a grassroots level. There are amazing people living across Cochise County who are working on a daily basis to make life better for themselves and others. We want to fortify their skills and talents, and support them in making the policy, system, and environmental changes needed here.”

The Cochise Leadership Academy, to be held at the University of Arizona South campus, Sierra Vista, will involve a 10-week commitment of three hours per week, from February to April, 2019. During the eight-week classroom portion of the program, participants will focus on community leadership, values and ethics, communication, problem solving and effecting change, empowerment, diversity, and community action planning. The program will follow a University of Arizona curriculum, and will require participants to complete a community project of their choosing. Anyone 16 and over can apply and the course is designed for emerging leaders, those with some experience, and those seeking advanced leadership skills.

“This is a grassroots leadership training. We would like get people deep in their communities who show the potential of having leadership skills, and we will take referrals. Any resident interested in taking a leading role in making a community impact should apply,” said Weingart, adding it is hoped to run the academy twice a year, as well as a summer youth program.

A kickoff event is planned for February 23, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by eight weeks of training every Wednesday from February 27 through April 17, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. A graduation ceremony is planned for July 7.

The cost to participate is $35 and the deadline to submit applications is December 31. Successful applicants will be notified by January 18. Application materials are available by contacting Senior Program Coordinator Charlotte Taylor at (520) 631-9592 or

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