Home away from home: Third spaces reemerging for community engagement, social development following COVID-19 impact

PHOENIX – Third spaces are environments that don’t feel like a requirement or a chore to be in them – a home away from home. Following COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, many of these spaces were shut down, but now the concept of third spaces is regaining recognition.

Third spaces are environments that don’t feel like a requirement or a chore to be in them – a home away from home. Following COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, many of these spaces were shut down, but now the concept of third spaces is regaining recognition.

Phoenix banks on wheels try to make banking more accessible, provide financial education

PHOENIX – With portions of Arizona’s population having limited or nonexistent access to banking services, financial institutions are working with nonprofits to help. Bank branches on wheels provide financial education and get more people signed up for bank accounts.


Maricopa County residents eligible for free pool fences through Pool Fence Safety Program

PHOENIX – Child Crisis Arizona, the Salt River Project and the 493 Firefighter Foundation aim to decrease childhood drownings through the 2024 Pool Fence Safety Program that provides free pool fences to eligible Maricopa County residents.

A "Watch your children!" sign hangs on Sam Aguilar and Brandi Stoll’s pool fence on Feb. 21, 2024, in Phoenix. (Photo by Harris Hicks/Cronkite News)

Arizona lawmakers split as House overwhelmingly OKs bill to ban TikTok

WASHINGTON - Arizona lawmakers split Wednesday as the House gave overwhelming, bipartisan approval to a bill that would ban use of TikTok in the U.S. if the owners of the social media app don't first sell it to another company.


Horne calls for more funding for teachers, more discipline for students

PHOENIX - Arizona Schools Superintendent Tom Horne told lawmakers Tuesday that the state faces a crisis in teacher retention, with low salaries and a lack of support leading to a loss of thousands of teachers every year.


Pretty in pink: Phoenix Barbie exhibit highlights cultural, fashion icon

PHOENIX – Despite the “Barbie” movie’s snubs at Sunday night’s Academy Awards, the doll franchise has continued to influence the current cultural climate. Even prior to the movie’s release in 2023, Barbie has influenced fashion for decades since the doll’s launch in 1959. Phoenix Art Museum has an exhibit representing Barbie’s impressive collection and history.

A display case at the “Barbie: A Cultural Icon” exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum shows off some of the many career Barbies, including a camerawoman Barbie and an award-winning actress Barbie. Throughout her existence, Barbie has taken on more than 250 different careers. Photo taken in Phoenix on Feb. 21, 2024. (Photo by Emily Mai/Cronkite News)

Therapy dogs take on mental health support in schools

PHOENIX – Schools are utilizing therapy dogs for mental health support to students and faculty. Both K-12 and colleges are turning to furry friends for comfort.

Alan Amaro pets therapy dog Dash at Gateway Community College on Jan. 30, 2024. Dash is handled by owner Monica Buensuceso. (Photo by Marnie Jordan/Cronkite News)

As Arizona probes school choice fraud, advocates dismiss scheme as ‘inside job’

Prosecutors say the indictment of five people accused of defrauding the Empowerment Scholarship Account program shows the program lacks guardrails, but ESA supporters said the indictments show that safeguards are in place and working.


Phoenix continues outreach to struggling teens during Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

PHOENIX – The city of Phoenix is using Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month as an opportunity to raise awareness about a complex issue and to continue support and outreach for teens affected by dating violence.

Teen Lifeline counselors receive messages from teenagers who have called to express their gratitude. The organization keeps the messages and hangs them in their hotline room. (Photo courtesy of Teen Lifeline)

‘All I wanted to do was dance’: Ballet scholarship competition helps further dancers’ dreams

PHOENIX – Ballet dancers competed for scholarships at the Youth America Grand Prix international student ballet scholarship competition at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix in February.

Betzy Martinez, 19, performs at the Youth America Grand Prix international student ballet scholarship competition on Feb. 10, 2024. (Photo by Marnie Jordan/Cronkite News)

Feds OK state plan to expand KidsCare eligibility, pay parent caregivers

PHOENIX - Arizona will expand income eligibility for the state's KidsCare program, potentially adding10,000 children to the low-cost health care program, and will make permanent a pandemic-era program to pay parents who act as caregivers for their disabled children.


House panel advances bill for a Holocaust center, but holds back funds for now

PHOENIX - A House panel gave tentative approval Wednesday to a Holocaust education center, but not before stripping out funding for the project that supporters said will provide an "immersive experience for the next generation on hate and genocide."