Grow A Reader virtual book drive in Arizona this May

The initiative helps Phoenix children and families build home libraries.

PHOENIXMay 1, 2023PRLog — Local businesses are partnering with Southwest Human Development, Arizona’s largest nonprofit for early childhood development, to “feed the need to read” throughout the month of May by participating in the nonprofit’s Grow A Reader virtual book drive.

For families who struggle to make ends meet, purchasing new, high-quality children’s books simply does not compete with priorities like providing food, clothing and shelter. In low-income communities, three out of every five children don’t have a single children’s book to call their own.

“Children without access to early literacy materials often face challenges as they enter school,” says Jake Adams, chief development officer for Southwest Human Development. “Our partners’ support of our early literacy efforts through this annual drive better prepares thousands of children for success when they enter kindergarten.”

Donating to the Grow A Reader virtual book drive is simple. People can visit a participating Grow A Reader business location, “pick a flower” and purchase books online at to help get children’s books into the hands of kids who need them most. Books start at only $3.99 and are also eligible for a dollar-for-dollar Arizona Charitable Tax Credit of up to $800.

This year’s participating Grow A Reader partners include Arizona Central Credit Union, Century 21 Arizona Foothills, Charro Hipster, CVL Consultants, El Chullo, GM, Lane Terralever, Short Leash Hotdogs and The Joint Chiropractic.

Two of the restaurant partners will host special events in support of Grow A Reader. On Wednesday, May 3, El Chullo will host a happy hour with musical performers at their new location at 2605 N. Seventh Street in Phoenix. On Friday, May 19, Short Leash Hotdogs located at 4221 N. Seventh Avenue will host a live music happy hour. Both events are free to attend and open to the public.

Donated books from the Grow A Reader campaign are distributed to families in need who participate in Southwest Human Development’s early literacy programs like Raising A Reader. This program focuses on strengthening family literacy routines and community literacy connections. Additionally, donated books support Reach Out and Read, a national, evidence-based program that promotes early literacy in pediatric offices.

To learn more about becoming a Grow A Reader partner or to donate books, please visit (

About Southwest Human Development

Southwest Human Development is Arizona’s largest nonprofit dedicated to early childhood development. Recognizing a child’s earliest experiences and relationships establish the foundation for all future development, Southwest Human Development’s more than 40 comprehensive programs focus on young children—ages birth to 5—and their families in the areas of child development, mental health, Easterseals disabilities services, Head Start, early literacy, family support and child welfare, and professional development and training. Founded in 1981, Southwest Human Development serves 140,000 children and families each year. Learn more at (

JRP Virtual Marks 100 Years of Uncovering, Nurturing and Showcasing Talent

 John Robert Powers, the world-renowned modeling and acting studio, recently celebrated their 100th anniversary. Founded in 1923 by John Robert Powers, the studio has remained dedicated to helping aspiring models, actors and entertainers reach their full potential. Throughout the decades, JRP Virtual has established a strong reputation for providing its clients with a personalized approach to learning in a supportive environment, with instructors who have all worked extensively in the industry. JRP Virtual has become a global leader in helping its clients launch their careers, and its alumni now include some the world’s most successful entertainers. In addition, the studio has established relationships with leading industry professionals, giving clients access to valuable resources and network connections. JRP Virtual also offers clients the opportunity to participate in workshops and events, where they can gain insight into the entertainment industry and network with leading professionals. As the studio celebrates its 100 year anniversary, it continues to be committed to making a difference in the lives of its clients. JRP Virtual hopes to continue helping aspiring models, actors and entertainers reach their dreams in the years to come. Congratulations to John Robert Powers on its 100th anniversary. For more information about JRP Virtual, visit:

JRP Virtual
Brigitte Blair



  • Movies & Film

Brand New Virtual Course – Mastering Clean Ammonia is Now Open for Registration

Infocus International Group, a global business intelligence provider of strategic information and professional services, has introduced a brand new virtual course – Mastering Clean Ammonia which will be commencing live on 7th February 2023.
Ammonia is a chemical commodity with long-established supply chains from production and distribution through to utilisation. However, its current production creates substantial carbon emissions, a fact at odds with public and policy desires for cleaner economies and industrial processes. In addition to cleaning up the processes of the ammonia used in current chemical applications, producers have new reasons to be excited by the growth opportunities for clean ammonia. These opportunities lie in its possible role within the “energy transition”. In particular, there is much interest in the role of clean ammonia as either a carrier of hydrogen fuel, or as a fuel in its own right, in sectors such as shipping and power generation.

This time-efficient training course will provide attendees with a comprehensive and up-to-date introduction to ammonia today and its prospects in a decarbonised world. Aimed at those in commercial, business-focused roles, including business development, strategy planning and investment, attendees will gain a clear description of the key technologies in language easily accessible to non-engineers. The market will be reviewed, illustrated by project examples, policy and strategy announcements from around the world. Clean ammonia’s competitive positioning will be examined and analysed from an independent, hype-free perspective, including the challenges and alternatives that it faces.

Course Sessions:

1. Ammonia production pathways, current and emerging
2. The role of clean ammonia in the energy transition
3. Developing clean ammonia market demand and projects

Benefits of Attending:

– Understand current & emerging methods of ammonia production
– Assess the market utilisation of ammonia today, including its linkages with other sectors (including carbon capture and utilisation)
– Identify the proposed growth paths for clean ammonia, including its expansion from chemical commodity to energy carrier or fuel
– Quantify the potential scale of the market opportunities, in energy and economic terms
– Analyse the co-existence / competition options for hydrogen and ammonia in different applications: which factors will most determine the market outcomes?
– Review project announcements from around the world, including realistic timeframes and dependencies
– Understand the practical and investment barriers to clean ammonia markets, including issues of product safety, handling and risk

Want to learn more?
Simply email or call +65 6325 0210 to obtain your FREE COPY of the event brochure. For more information, please visit

About Infocus International Group

Infocus International is a global business intelligence provider of strategic information and professional services for diverse business communities. We recognise clients’ needs and responds with innovative and result oriented programmes. All products are founded on high value content in diverse subject areas, and the highest level of quality is ensured through intensive and in-depth market research from local and international insights. For more information:

Topic: Press release summary

NMCG hosts virtual session on the first day of the Stockholm World Water Week 2022

National Mission for Clean Ganga organized a virtual session on the first day of the Stockholm World Water Week 2022 (August 24-September 01). The keynote address was given by Shri G. Asok Kumar, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga on ‘Arth Ganga: Model for Economic River-People Connect for Sustainable River Rejuvenation using Economic Bridge’. Other panelists in the session included Shri G. Kamala Vardhana Rao, Director General (Tourism), Ministry of Tourism, Shri T. Vijay Kumar, Executive Vice-Chairman, Rythu Sadhikara Samstha, Dr. Acharya Balkrishan, Founder and Secretary of Patanjali Trust and Dr. Ruchi Badola, Scientist G, Wildlife Institute of India. The World Water Week is an annual event organized by Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) to address the global water issues and related concerns of international development.

Giving his keynote address, Shri G. Asok Kumar, DG, NMCG gave a detailed presentation on Arth Ganga elaborating the Model and the interventions made so far. “Arth Ganga has ushered-in a paradigm shift in the River Basin Management,” Shri Kumar said while highlighting the significance of Arth Ganga.

He said that Arth-Ganga concept, espoused by the Hon. Prime Minister during the 1st National Ganga Council meeting in 2019 in Kanpur, is being developed into an economic model for sustainable river rejuvenation. The central idea of “Arth Ganga” is linking people and Ganga through the bridge of economics in line with the slogan of “Banking on River Ganga”. “Arth Ganga Model strives to contribute at least 3 percent of the GDP from the Ganga Basin itself”, he informed while also adding that the interventions envisaged and being implemented are in line with the country’s commitments towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Elaborating on the six verticals of Arth Ganga, he said that the most important aspect is Zero Budget Natural Farming that envisages chemical-free farming for 10 kms on either side of the river, generating “more income, per drop”, and ‘Gobar Dhan’ for farmers. “We are planning to promote natural farming in a big way and will be conducting ‘shibirs’ on natural farming in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh in the coming days to nudge the farmers towards natural farming,” he added, while informing about the recent event in Shirdi, Maharashtra where 30 farmers were facilitated by NMCG to attend the 5-day Subhash Palekar Natural Farming workshop.

He said that collaborations with various ministries and organisations are being made for monetization and reuse of sludge & wastewater that envisages reuse of treated water for irrigation, industrial purposes and revenue generation for ULBs. He cited the example of arrangement with Indian Oil Corporation for selling of treated water from Mathura refinery.

“Livelihood Generation Opportunities such as ‘Ghat Mein Haat’, promotion of local products, Ayurveda, medicinal plants, capacity building of volunteers like Ganga Praharis is also being done under Arth Ganga,” he said, adding, “NMCG plans to launch 75 Jalaj Kendras across the Ganga basin to create livelihood opportunities for the local people, out of which 26 were launched on 16th August.”

He emphasized on the need for public participation to ensure increased synergies between stakeholders and spoke on various steps being taken to promote cultural heritage & tourism along River Ganga through interventions like boat tourism, community jettis, promotion of yoga, adventure tourism, Ganga Artis etc. “Over 20,000 Ganga Doots have been deployed in different states and associated awareness generation programmes along with the initiatives like ‘Har Hafte Hoga, Ghat Pe Yoga’, ‘Ganga Quest’ and administrative setups like District Ganga Committees, to name a few, have been bringing wondrous results in the direction of success of the Mission,” he added. The last vertical of Arth Ganga is Institutional Building that looks to enhance the local capacities for better decentralized water governance. Shri Kumar said that the Namami Gange Mission has been bringing the unprecedented outcomes as regards attaining the goals of Aviralta and Nirmalta in the river Ganga.

Shri T. Vijay Kumar, in his address, spoke about the key steps fundamental to

assure cooling of the planet Earth. He mentioned that adopting sustainable practices like Natural Farming and ensuring the maximum possible conservation of water could bring a bright future to the country. He gave a presentation showing the scaling lessons from the experience of the state of Andhra Pradesh wherein the farmers achieved excellent results after their transition from the practice of traditional farming to Natural Farming. He added that the ‘Principles are common, but Practices are unique to a region’, and that India has got a special advantage on account of Natural Farming.

Shri Kamala Vardhana Rao, while highlighting the significance of rivers, particularly Ganga, in the development of the tourism sector, said that the culture of homestays in the country has been proving a win-win situation for both the hosts as well as the guests. ‘Rivers are where tourism emanates’, he added following his remark that skill development initiatives for local communities are in place to give a boost to rural tourism. Lauding the 3% GDP target, he said that it is ambitious but very much achievable if all departments contributes a little bit to the cause. He emphasized on the emerging importance of Ayurveda clinics around the globe and how it can be used as potential tourism opportunity in the Ganga Basin.

Acharya Balkrishan presented the ways fundamental in building an effective sludge management strategy. Through a presentation, Patanjali emphasized that technologically sound anaerobic-based approach will provide a permanent solution to the problem of sludge that is emerging as a big challenge not just in the Ganga Basin but the entire world.

Dr. Ruchi Badola discussed the ‘Conservation Sensitive Development for Realizing Arth Ganga’, and elaborated the concept of Jalaj and its contribution in strengthening the people-river connect and in sustainable development of the nation.



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ECI hosts virtual Asian Regional Forum meet on “Making our Elections Inclusive, Accessible and Participative”

The Election Commission of India (ECI) hosted a virtual meet of the ‘Asian Regional Forum’ on the theme “Making our Elections Inclusive, Accessible and Participative” at Nirvachan Sadan today. The Regional Forum meet was a precursor to the “Summit for Electoral Democracy” to be hosted by the National Electoral Institute of Mexico in the coming month.

Chief Election Commissioner of India Shri Rajiv Kumar, in his keynote address said that democracy and democratic institutions flourish when all groups of people are fully represented. No democracy can ever be meaningful and aspirational, unless it is Inclusive for all citizens, Accessible without fear or favor and Participative despite differential social, political, economic vulnerabilities.

CEC exhorted all Election Management Bodies (EMBs) for a continuous self-evaluation and strengthening of their systems, to meet the rising expectations from citizens and deal with the emerging challenges during the electoral process. He added that the framework for assessment and so-called ranking of democracies by global evaluating agencies should be objective and contextual, factoring in the magnitude, socio, cultural & geographical context in which each country and EMB functions. Welcoming the idea for this global ‘Summit for Electoral Democracy’, Shri Rajiv Kumar said that integrity of elections and democracy go hand-in-hand and generate global peace, prosperity and stability.

Shri Rajiv Kumar in his address said that Inclusion must cover all manner of marginalized communities – those marginalized by region, geography, literacy, language, ethnicity, economy, gender, disability among others to ensure their voices are heard and they are able to express their voting rights. Access must be provided to these communities to ensure the entire process of casting a vote becomes easy and comfortable. Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and senior citizens grapple with attitudinal bias, lack of access to information, infrastructural barriers and many more issues. He added that whenever a new technology is designed or a new service is adopted by the EMB, accessibility should be part of the design itself and not added on later as an afterthought. He further extended support to desiring EMBs in designing and strengthening various technological, legal and regulatory architecture.

CEC Shri Kumar while highlighting the daunting task of conducting elections in India, said that the Commission undertook a far sighted reform during the Covid-19 period by introducing the Postal Ballot facility for 80+ senior citizens, persons with disabilities and those who were COVID positive/suspect. He mentioned that over 7.7 million PwD voters and 15 million 80+ voters have been mapped by ECI for targeted interventions and meaningful outreach. ECI is constantly striving towards achieving 100 percent mapping of all PwD and senior citizen voters. The participation of women in the first Indian election was 78 million i.e. 45%. Over seven decades and 17 national elections later, women’s participation has exceeded that of men and the gender gap has not only closed but reversed to +0.17% in 2019. India has witnessed a 235.72% increase in female electors since the 1971 election.

Shri Rajiv Kumar cautioned the EMBs about the opportunities and challenges emerging from ever increasing outreach through social media which also assumes criticality in terms of legal, regulatory framework and limitations across geographies to address fake news/narratives and surrogate advertising.

Complimenting the EMBs for various initiatives taken by them for Accessible & Inclusive elections, CEC said that there is scope to explore the possibilities of remote voting for inclusion of migrant voters as well as marginalized voters to end barriers in the electoral processes more effectively.

Election Commissioner, Shri Anup Chandra Pandey, in his address said that issues of accessibility are universal and most marginalized groups face barriers to their participation in elections which has been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. He urged all EMBs to make sustained efforts to engage and involve women, third gender, PwDs, senior citizens and other marginalized groups in the election process.

While emphasizing that electoral practices need to be inclusive, Shri Pandey mentioned noteworthy initiatives taken by the Election Commission of India over the years to ensure “No Voter is Left Behind” including ‘Basic Minimum Facilities’ at polling stations, All-women managed polling stations, separate queues & toilets for women, postal ballot facility, Braille EPIC, wheel chair facility with volunteers, transport to and from the polling station, a mobile app for Persons with Disabilities, recognizing transgender as third gender and creating an Accessibility Division within ECI among others.

Shri Pandey in his concluding remarks commended the Asia Regional Forum platform and participants for sharing their suggestions and innovative initiatives taken by respective Election Management Bodies towards participative, inclusive and accessible elections.

Welcoming the participants, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Shri Dharmendra Sharma, said that ECI is proud to be associated with this forum. Across the globe, initiatives have been taken by EMBs to ensure inclusive, transparent and ethical elections. This forum provides an opportunity to share experiences and learn from each other.

A recorded message from Mr. Lorenzo C. Vianello, President, National Electoral Institute (INE) of Mexico was also shared with the participants. Representatives from Election Management Bodies of Mexico, Mauritius, Philippines, Nepal, Uzbekistan, Maldives, International IDEA, Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) and International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) participated in the meet. Senior officials from Election Commission of India were also present during the meet. 

This Asian Regional Forum (ARF) meet had two sessions. The first session on ‘Inclusive Elections: Enhancing Participation of Youth, Gender and Citizens in Remote Areas’ was co-chaired by the Chief Election Commissioner from Mauritius and Nepal. The second session on ‘Accessible Elections: Enhancing Participation of Persons with Disabilities & Senior Citizens’ was co-chaired by the Commissioner, COMELEC, Philippines and CEC of Uzbekistan.

As part of this ‘Global Summit for Democracy’, five Regional Forums namely Africa, America, Asia, Europe, and countries of the Arab States have been created. India hosted the Asian Regional Forum meet of the EMBs to reflect upon the changing geo-politics, emerging technologies and their use in election management in view of the challenges presented by COVID-19 pandemic.



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