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Educating and Empowering: How the Arizona Foundation for Women Advocates for Others

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1.jpgFormer U.S. House Representative Gabrielle Giffords and husband Mark Kelly spoke at an AFW luncheon in October.

As the CEO of the Arizona Foundation for Women and the first female mayor of Flagstaff, Arizona, I stand on the shoulders of the women who came before me, and I believe in reaching back to help the next woman up the ladder. AFW has a long history of advocating effectively on behalf of women and children by educating our community and changing laws to ensure abuser accountability. One way that AFW creates positive changes for women and children is through a program called Live & Learn, which provides mentoring and economic empowerment to women who want to improve their lives. Iris, a fulltime employee, student, and single mother, is one of the women served by Live & Learn. “I am at a point in my life where I know where I am and where I want to be,” she says. “I feel confident that I can make my educational goals a reality thanks to the support of Arizona Foundation for Women’s Live & Learn Program. If you had asked me a year ago what my plans for the future were, continuing my education would not have been part of the answer.” Iris adds, “It’s nice to be able to connect with and encourage girls who are trying to do the same thing you are. Sometimes all you need is someone willing to believe in you.” Southwest Airlines has a passion for connecting people to what’s important in their lives, and with the airline’s support AFW has connected people like Iris to a brighter future. As the official airline of AFW, Southwest also provides airfare for police officers so that they can receive continuing education in Washington, D.C., from experts who specialize in breaking the cycles of domestic violence, human trafficking, and other crimes against women and children. Thanks for helping us make a difference, Southwest. When we work together, we can do so much more! For more information about the Arizona Foundation for Women, visit