Nation

Clintons promote community work projects in Ariz.

Bill Clinton spoke with volunteers at a community service project in Phoenix Sunday.
Samantha Sais/REUTERS
Bill Clinton spoke with volunteers at a community service project in Phoenix Sunday.

PHOENIX — Bill Clinton said Sunday that ‘‘everybody can serve everywhere’’ at a community service project intended to convert vacant Phoenix lots into urban gardens and spaces for public use.

The former president and his daughter, Chelsea, joined with former US representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona at the event wrapping up the Clinton Global Initiative University weekend.

Clinton picked up a shovel and helped volunteers dig an irrigation trench along a community garden on the 15-acre project. He later watched as students painted murals to line the garden’s perimeter.

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He noted the land was used by a diverse group of veterans, Native Americans, food providers, students, and more than 70 refugee families. ‘‘This day of action can remind you that everybody can serve everywhere and our diversity is our greatest strength,’’ Clinton said.

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Clinton said he was excited to participate, and he joked, ‘‘I feel like a kid who is going to the carnival for the first time.’’

Giffords said she was making progress after surviving an assassination attempt in Tucson in 2011. She said she was ‘‘still trying to make the world a better place and you can, too.’’

The weekend conference was attended by more than 1,000 students who listened to speeches from Hillary Rodham Clinton and Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, and heard TV host Jimmy Kimmel interview the Clintons.

Associated Press