GF again named among 100 best communities for youthAmerica's Promise honors communities that 'make youth a priority'
The alliance's president said in a statement that Grand Forks’ example could inspire other communities “to tackle the challenges facing their city and children, and to implement initiatives that give them the essential resources they need to succeed in life.”
By: Chuck Haga, Herald Staff Writer
Grand Forks’ efforts to improve the lives of children could “inspire and educate other communities across the nation,” according to a national nonprofit that once again has named the city one of the nation’s 100 best communities for young people.
It’s the fourth time in the four years that America’s Promise Alliance has compiled the honor list that Grand Forks has been included.
The alliance was founded in 1997 by Colin Powell as a partnership of more than 400 corporations, nonprofits, faith-based organizations and advocacy groups that are “passionate about improving lives and changing outcomes for children,” according to its Web site (www.americaspromise.org).
The “100 best” designation honors communities “that make youth a priority by implementing programs that keep children in school and prepare them for college and the 21st century workforce,” according to a statement released today.
“Through its innovative and far-reaching programs, Grand Forks is taking bold and effective steps to help their young people graduate (high school) and lead healthy, productive lives,” alliance president Marguerite Kondracke said in the statement.
Grand Forks’ example could inspire other communities “to tackle the challenges facing their city and children,” she said, “and to implement initiatives that give them the essential resources they need to succeed in life.”
Grand Forks, one of 100 cities, counties and school districts selected for this year’s honor from several hundred applications, also made the list in its inaugural year of 2005, as well as in 2007 and 2008. No lists were compiled in 2006 or 2009, according to a spokesman for the alliance.
The alliance noted Grand Forks’ “collaborative approach to encourage youth leadership,” including the work of the city’s Youth Commission, which gives middle and high school students a voice in community affairs and a chance to develop self-confidence and leadership skills.
“I’ve said for years that Grand Forks is a great place to live, learn, work, play and stay,” Mayor Michael Brown said. “The commission is our connection with young people: What issues do they face? What amenities do they want to see? What will encourage them to stay?”
The mayor’s office also has developed a youth “cabinet,” with members representing the schools, UND, civic and other organizations.
Brown said congratulations for the city’s continuing recognition as a good place for young people should go to teachers and other school staff, youth-friendly community organizations and professionals, and to “all the parents who coach and mentor their kids.”
City schools offer special mentoring and tutoring programs to academically challenged students and encourage those students to stay in school and graduate, the alliance noted.
Making the America’s Promise “100 best” honor roll each year it’s been compiled “is a testament to how our community values our young people,” said Jody Thompson, the school district’s assistant superintendent for teaching and learning.
Grand Forks was the only North Dakota community designated one of the 100 best for 2010. Minnesota communities making the list were Edina, Landfall, Mankato-North Mankato, Northfield and St. Louis Park.
Reach Haga at (701) 780-1102; (800) 477-6572, ext. 102; or send e-mail to email@example.com.