Tuesday, September 21, 2010

America's Promise Alliance and ING Release National List of 100 Best Communities for Young People

The Georgia cities of Cumming and Macon, along with Troup County, are tops in our great state for young people.

/PRNewswire/ -- In a celebration of America's young people and the communities most dedicated to helping local youth graduate from high school, America's Promise Alliance (the Alliance) today announced its 2010 list of 100 Best Communities for Young People presented by ING. An interactive showcase of the 100 Best and their accomplishments can be found at www.americaspromise.org/100Best.

"The 100 Best Communities for Young People are taking bold and effective steps to help their youth graduate and lead healthy, productive lives," said Alma J. Powell, Chair, America's Promise Alliance. "Each community has proven that they are developing programs and implementing initiatives to provide young people with the essential resources they need to graduate from high school and succeed in college and a 21st century career."

The 100 Best competition is part of the Alliance's Grad Nation campaign, a 10-year initiative to mobilize all Americans to end the dropout crisis. This year, more than 350 communities in all 50 states and Washington, DC, were nominated for the 100 Best competition. The winners come from 37 states and 30 are first-time recipients of the honor. They were chosen by a distinguished panel of judges that included some of the nation's most well-known civic, business and nonprofit leaders such as: William Bell, president and CEO of Casey Family Programs; Fr. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA; Javier Palomarez, president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Larry Naake, executive director, National Association of Counties; Jane Beshear, first lady of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Dominique Dawes, Olympic gold medalist and youth advocate.

The 2010 winners will be highlighted at a ceremony in front of the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, DC, with Alma Powell, Alliance President and CEO Marguerite Kondracke, and ING Foundation President Rhonda Mims. Winning communities will be pinpointed on an expansive ceremonial U.S. map.

Twilight star Kellan Lutz will make a special appearance at the event, assisting the Alliance and ING executives in revealing the list of 100 Best Communities and connecting with young people about the importance of staying in school.

"ING is committed to children's education and to the advancement of education initiatives that prepare our young people to graduate and have successful futures," said Mims. "Our support for 100 Best demonstrates our goal of honoring communities that produce real, measurable results for improving the lives of young people."

"100 Best is an essential building block of Grad Nation, an inspiring national movement that seeks to ensure every young person graduates," said Kondracke. "These winning communities are helping to build a generation of assertive, successful and dynamic young people that are the future of this country. Our ultimate hope is that 100 Best will inspire all communities across America to make a commitment to children, keep them in school and help them overcome the challenges that could otherwise determine their future."

First held in 2005, the 100 Best competition is open to all communities that make children and youth a priority, including small towns, large cities, counties and school districts. In addition to enhancing local educational opportunities, most winning communities help facilitate greater access to quality health care for young people, encourage youth civic engagement and supply developmental resources that create better places for young people to live and grow.

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