Friday, January 26, 2007

Making Every Place a Great Place to Grow Up: 100 Communities Lead the Way!

The 100 Best Communities for Young People celebrates outstanding, innovative efforts across the country that improve the well-being of our young people.

It is well-deserved recognition of the hard work by communities, Alliance partners and individuals working together to keep the Five Promises to our children:

  • caring adults

  • safe places

  • a healthy start

  • effective education

  • opportunities to help others

Even more, the local efforts and ideas honored among the 100 Best help set a vision of what ALL communities can — and should — be for young people. The State of Iowa is proud to announce that four Iowa communities-Dubuque, Lamoni, Mason City, and Pottawattamie County-have been honored among the nation’s 100 Best Communities for Children and Youth.

Dubuque, IA

Dubuque is one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People, in part because of the work of the Dubuque Mentoring Partnership (DMP), a collaborative effort including Big Brothers Big Sisters, Dubuque Community Schools, Holy Family Catholic Schools, St. Marks, Dubuque County Extension AmeriCorps, Court Appointed Special Advocate, RSVP-Finley Hospital, Helping Services of NE Iowa, Foster Grandparents, Dubuque Community Y and Mississippi Valley Promise. Thanks to the DMP, mentors have more than tripled since 2005 and the number of kids waiting for a mentor has been cut in half.

Lamoni, IA

Lamoni is one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People, in part, because of the work of the Lamoni Area SAFE Community Coalition. The Coalition is a positive prevention program designed to build developmental assets in all youth. One facet of the program is the work of a Coalition project director who works out of an office in the school district, allowing for daily contact with all youth, teachers, and other professionals to meet the needs of each individual student. For its efforts, Lamoni received the 2005 Harold E. Hughes Exceptional Rural Community Award from the National Rural Institute.

Mason City, IA

Mason City is one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People, in part, because of the work of the Mason City Youth Task Force, where youth have collaborated with the local Head Start Program and two preschools through the "Reading Buddies" program. The effort involves high school youth mentoring and reading to preschoolers once a week during the school year. The program encourages both sets of students to read for pleasure and adds a boost to the preschool curriculum, which is aimed at helping children to be school ready.

Pottawattamie County, IA

Pottawattamie County is one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People, in part, because Iowa State University Extension, AEA 13, and Promise Partners have formed a strong collaborative partnership to promote positive youth development across the county. This collaboration holds joint planning sessions, strategically plans youth initiatives in each community in the county, shares training opportunities, staff, resources, and braids funding streams to support the community youth plan. These partnerships have greatly expanded the opportunities and supports for youth in Pottawattamie County, particularly in the small rural communities in the eastern parts of the county.

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