Chandler, Arizona

Chandler – now a four time 100 Best winner – responds when their youth voice their ideas and dreams. As one of the fastest growing communities in the nation over the last decade, Chandler has kept the needs of its youngest members in mind, with new recreation facilities, parks within walking distance of every home and programs to ensure every youth is given the opportunity to succeed. Chandler recognizes that their youth are diverse, with a wide variety of ethnicities, interests and income levels. In response, Chandler adapts services to fit the youth’s needs, not the other way around. Chandler residents have a history of financially supporting youth. In the fall of 2007, 75 percent of voters approved more than $81 million in bonds to support parks projects in the community.

In June 2009, The Mayor’s Youth Commission began its first annual Teen Town Hall event to give teens an opportunity to discuss issues and offer recommendations for practical solutions. Additionally, over the years, several issues affecting youth have been addressed by city government officials, including motorized vehicles, skating and biking on businesses property. One day each month during the school year the Chandler Municipal Court holds Teen Court with the local YMCA managing the process. This program uses peer relationships to resolve a juvenile's illegal activity. The Chandler Unified School District, in partnership with the Chandler Education Foundation, the city of Chandler and members of the community provide the Children of Promise (at-risk students) the opportunity to continue learning with extended year summer school programs.

Community collaboration is the key to the success of the Chandler CARE Center. The medical staff of the Children’s Clinic is comprised of volunteers who donate their professional services on a scheduled, rotating basis. Volunteer organizations include private practitioners as well as staff from larger entities like CIGNA and Banner Health. The CARE Center provides a weekly immunization clinic at no charge in partnership with Catholic HealthCare West and Chandler Fire Department. The Chandler Public Library staff distributes free books in English or Spanish to children in the clinic while taking the opportunity to register parents for library cards at the same time. Dental services are yet another service component as Catholic HealthCare West provides free fluoride varnish treatments, dental cleanings, and X-rays. Volunteer dentists provide restorative services. The Chandler CARE Center  incurs little actual operating expense because of its long-standing community partnerships with many local entities, including the City of Chandler, which donated $500,000 to assist in building a new facility that opened in March 2010. In fact, out-of-pocket expenses are 22 percent of its actual operating budget as virtually all professional services are donated including a solid cadre of local, volunteer doctors who have been providing free medical treatment for many years.