America’s Promise Alliance, launched by General Colin Powell in 1997, is a cooperative effort between non-profit organizations, corporate business, and community groups, working to enhance the well-being of our nation’s youth.
Through its “100 Best” program, the Alliance is able to recognize those communities that go “above and beyond” in terms of creating a healthy environment that supports and encourages youth to succeed – in school and in life.
Close to 750 applicants from over 300 communities submitted applications for this year’s awards. Applications were judged on the basis of how well their programs fulfilled the “Five Promises” that the Alliance deems as most important in the development of healthy, successful children. These include: Caring Adults, Safe Places, Healthy Start, Effective Education, and Opportunities to Help Others.
The City of Toledo’s commitment to its youngest citizens is apparent through its many programs aimed at helping its youth succeed. With a mission to “promote the development of youth into responsible, educated, healthy, and empowered citizens,” the city’s Youth Commission sponsors many programs aimed at children through young adults.
“By taking a proactive approach with today’s youth, we hope to avoid having to take a reactive approach to problems later on,” says Megan Robson, Co-Leader of Toledo’s Youth Commission.
Through its Partners in Education program, each city department is teamed up with a local elementary school. The department provides tutoring for students, and sponsors special programs – like a Summer Safety Summit, for example, which teaches kids about bicycle safety, pool precautions, and how to prevent sports injuries.
Its conferences aimed at junior high and high school age children are designed to reinforce values, such as self-respect, as well as provide practical strategies, like how to select a college.
The city helps its college-age residents by providing internships, and then post-college, sponsors a Young Professionals initiative which helps graduates launch their career by providing them with networking opportunities and other career tools.
Three-Time Winners Show Strong, Consistent Support for Youth
Toledo is one of many communities around the country that places a high priority on serving its younger residents through a variety of programs and initiatives. This is the second year that Toledo has received the America’s Promise honor.
The towns, cities, and counties that are on the 2008 list of “100 Best Communities for Young People” – and have been recognized since the program began, winning their third award this year – are as follows:
- Abington, Pennsylvania
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Appleton-Fox Cities, Wisconsin
- Barnstable County, Massachusetts
- Bellevue, Washington
- Benton County, Oregon
- Boys Town, Nebraska
- Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Chandler, Arizona
- Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
- Chesterfield County, Virginia
- Coral Springs, Florida
- Findlay-Hancock County, Ohio
- Grand Forks, North Dakota
- Greenacres, Florida
- Hampton, Virginia
- Lakewood, Washington
- Lamoni, Iowa
- Lexington, Kentucky
- Little Rock, Arkansas
- Louisville, Kentucky
- Manatee County, Florida
- Mankato/North Mankato, Minnesota
- Marquette and Alger Counties, Michigan
- Mercer County, West Virginia
- Milford, Connecticut
- Missoula, Montana
- Mt. Sterling-Montgomery County, Kentucky
- Murray-Calloway County, Kentucky
- Nampa, Idaho
- Newport News, Virginia
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
- Providence, Rhode Island
- Scottsdale, Arizona
- Solano County, California
- Spokane County, Washington
- Springfield-Greene County, Missouri
- St. Louis Park, Minnesota
- St. Petersburg, Florida
- Sugar Land, Texas
- Sylacauga, Alabama
- Tempe, Arizona
- Wicomico County-Salisbury, Maryland