Tagged “Adolescents”

From Health to Career Exploration, Youth Involvement Is Priority

Mankato-North Mankato, Minn.

Four-time winner of whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People recognition, Mankato-North Mankato, Minn., understands that investing in the development of long-lasting partnerships that cater to youth well-being is crucial.

A variety of programs, like the Mankato Area Healthy Youth (MAHY), Envision 2020, and Greater Mankato Growth, strive to keep youth involvement a top priority. MAHY encourages kids to stay healthy, while Envision 2020 motivates youth and their families to participate in the planning process of a 10-year community priorities plan. Greater Mankato Growth furthers youth engagement by aligning classroom learning with career exploration, allowing students access to internships and job shadowing.

Putting Youth Dialogue Front and Center

Barnstable County, Mass.

Barnstable County, Mass., a four-time winner of whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People recognition, has set the stage for youth dialogue in its community.

A variety of innovative partnerships have helped promote this dialogue, thanks to the Barnstable County Council for Children, Youth, and Families. These include

  • The Cape and Islands Youth Congress, a diverse group of high school students who encourage their peers to step up to challenges and be positive agents of change.
  • The Cape Youth Force, which enables youth participants to become involved in the grant-making process.
  • The Cape and Islands Gay-Straight Youth Alliance, a youth-led group that networks with fellow youth organizations across Cape Cod.

Barnstable County is definitely doing its part in promoting the value of youth engagement.

Inspiring Practices Serve As Models For Other Communities

Meridian, Idaho

Committed to sustaining a safe and caring community that enables youth to feel a sense of connection and acceptance, the unique city of Meridian, Idaho, is a wonderful place to be. This three-time winner of whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People recognition caters to its youth through various programs, including Merdian's Promise, the Mayor's Youth Advisory Commission, and the Youth Scholarship Program.

A specific example of success among these initiatives is the Mayor's Anti-Drug Coalition. Comprising parents, teens, and other community members, the group uses innovative methods to encourage the community to rally as one in the hopes of overcoming drug use. Meridian's practices serve as mechanisms in bringing the community together through youth empowerment, and it's clear that it will continue to be a model to other Idaho communities looking to shine.

A Center For Youth Empowerment

Bradenton/Manatee County, Fla.

Four-time winner of whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People recognition, Bradenton/Manatee County in Florida exemplifies youth empowerment. Residents, schools, nonprofit organizations, and businesses place huge importance on intergenerational partnerships, enabling students to gain a strong sense of unity and volunteerism through numerous opportunities.

Twelve thousand youth participate in service programs annually, contributing more than 1.6 million hours to serving their community. Civic engagement programs, like The ManaTEEN Club and Helping Others Lead, Learn, and Achieve, serve as platforms for youth to truly exhibit leadership skills, including offering service opportunities for youth as young as 5.

Youth Well-Being Serves as Priority

Norwalk, Conn.

Youth truly serve as the ultimate priority in Norwalk, Connecticut. With a slew of educational resources and varied youth services that range from recreational leagues to financial literacy workshops to after-school programs, one third of Norwalk's adults volunteer their time to work with youth to ensure that they have all the opportunities necessary to nurture their academic and nonacademic potential.

Programs like the Center for Youth Leadership have received many awards for activism in the community and social change. Norwalk's commitment to providing for its youth speaks to why the community is recognized as one of whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People.

Community Enrichment and Cultural Experiences

Anchorage, Alaska

Community collaboration full of diverse and proactive engagement continues to create a wonderful place to live in Anchorage, Alaska, a four-time winner of whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People recognition.

The effects of decisions related to youth and families play a key role in community activities and programs, such as the Youth Advisory Commission and the Supportive Adult Relationships Coalition, that have helped members of the Anchorage community voice their opinions and raise awareness about services ranging from education to housing.

Spirit of Youth and the Good News-Great Kids serve as motivational programs that offer financial support and recognition to youth who value community service and have overcome obstacles in their lives. The unique enrichment, cultural experiences, and focus on the well-being of its residents truly makes Anchorage a vibrant and engaging place to live.

Partnerships Help Support Diverse Set of Community-Based Services

Franklin Northwest Supervisory Union, Franklin and Grand Isle Counties, Vt.

Exceptional community-based services for youth have emerged in Franklin Northwest Supervisory Union in Vermont, whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People winner, thanks to its cultivation of partnerships.

With connections from regional planning commissions to indigenous organizations to local hospitals, the community has been able to provide strong programs for youth across a spectrum of ages. The Early Childhood Program provides screening services for children before entering preschool, and the Circle of Courage program helps children gain an awareness, understanding, and appreciation for the local Native American Abenaki culture.

Because of its dedicated work to build systems of care for children with special needs, the region received the Communities Can! Award by the Federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Collaborative Atmosphere Encourages Student Success

M. O. Ramay Junior High School, Fayetteville, Ark.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T is what M. O. Ramay Junior High School in Fayetteville, Ark., is all about. Focused on academic growth, Principal Matt Saferite heavily prioritizes creating a collaborative atmosphere where teachers and students feel safe, appreciated, and valued. With more than 50 percent of the students coming from low-income homes, Ramay Junior High School understands that it's important to cater not only to the students' academic needs, but also to their basic needs.

After failing to make adequate yearly progress in 2006, Ramay Junior High School is proud to have met its goals for the past four years, and the achievement gap is continuing to close. Awarded the 2011 Breakthrough School Award by the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals, it's clear that compassion truly breeds success at Ramay Junior High School.

Collaboration with Hospital Promotes Healthy Lifestyles Among Students

Batesville Community School Corporation, Batesville, Ind.

Batesville Community School Corporation, a school district in Batesville, Ind., was a part of the field test of the first edition of Creating a Healthy School Using the Healthy School Report Card: An ASCD Action Tool.

One initiative involves collaboration between Margaret Mary Community Hospital, a local Food and Growers Association, and the school corporation to improve cafeteria food offerings and expose students to more fruits and vegetables. Another addresses the critical problem of teen drinking by the school corporation's Drug Free Task Force's Choices program, which includes parents and students in alcohol abuse education events and provides a safe, supervised, and alcohol-free place for teens to socialize within the small community. Since the Choices program was implemented, Batesville has seen a reduction in both alcohol use and alcohol-related discipline referrals.

Batesville Community School Corporation is an ASCD Healthy School Communities site and mentors other schools and districts interested in connecting health and learning.

Community Hardships Serve as Motivation

Mercer County, W.Va.

As a four-time winner in whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People competition, Mercer County, W.Va., continues to address the needs of its youth with fervor, despite the community's challenges. High poverty rates, low income, and unemployment have motivated Mercer County to provide a safe and supportive environment for youth and families through the implementation of well-founded programs.

The Creating Opportunities for Youth (COFY) coalition has encouraged youth to make a difference in their community through the prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. Thanks to strong collaborations with local partners, COFY has gained equal representation across all sectors of the community and has a proven track record of significantly reducing tobacco and alcohol use.

Because cultural norms in Mercer County fail to promote chronic disease prevention, community agencies have partnered to provide preventive screenings for youth, and the local health department provides community health assessments and outreach services.

No matter the obstacle, Mercer County will continue to aim for the best possible well-being of its residents.

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