Norwood named one of the nation’s 100 Best Communities for Young People!
The efforts of Norwood civic and community leaders are being honored today when America’s Promise Alliance (the Alliance), the nation’s largest partnership organization dedicated to youth and children, announces the city had been named a winner of the Alliance’s 100 Best Communities for Young People (100 Best) competition presented by ING, a global financial services company and leading provider of retirement plans and programs for teachers. Its 2010 recognition marks the first win for Norwood in the competition.
The 100 Best designation recognizes those communities that make youth a priority by implementing programs that help keep children in school and prepare them for college and the 21st century workforce. The 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 have taken steps to facilitate improved access to health care for its young people, encourage youth civic engagement and supply developmental resources that create better places for young people to live and grow. The entire 2010 list of 100 Best Communities for Young People and their accomplishments can be found at www.americaspromise.org/100Best.
“Through its innovative and far-reaching programs, Norwood is taking bold and effective steps to help their young people graduate and lead healthy, productive lives,” said Marguerite W. Kondracke, America’s Promise Alliance president and CEO. “Norwood serves as an example to inspire and educate other communities across the nation 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.”
Norwood was named one of the nation’s 100 Best because of the community’s commitment to provide every young person with a healthy start. From community health and dental programs that provide services to low-income residents, to helping high school students short of credits complete their education, Norwood’s collaborative efforts help provide a foundation for each child upon which to build their future. As the city’s primary youth-focused coalition, the Norwood Community Coalition brings together local churches, libraries, educators and the health community to provide youth services and safe places to grow and explore.
Creating a pipeline to college is a primary focus of the Norwood Community Schools system. In 2006, the Freshman Academy was developed to provide special guidance and support to help freshman succeed in their transition from middle to high school. The program encourages teachers to know each student personally and provide closer guidance. The school system also developed Credit Recovery to help under-credited juniors and seniors get back on track to graduate on time. These dropout prevention efforts are further supported by the Norwood Scholarship Fund that distributes over $100,000 each year for high school graduates to continue their education.
“We are thrilled to receive this award. It highlights the hard work of many families, programs and organizations that care deeply about positive outcomes for young people in Norwood,” said Deb Robison of the Family and Children First Council, who coordinates the Norwood Community Coalition.
This morning, Norwood and the other winners spanning 37 states are being recognized at a ceremony in front of the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Each of the winning communities is being formally recognized with a designation on a map of the U.S., illustrating the geographic and demographic diversity of the winning 100 communities. In addition to the 100 Best distinction, Norwood and the other top communities will receive two road signs identifying the city as one of 100 Best, as well as a trophy to be presented to local officials later this year.
Alliance Chair Alma Powell and President and CEO Marguerite W. Kondracke revealed the list of winners during the national celebration. They were joined by Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation and senior vice president, ING’s Office of Corporate Responsibility and Multicultural Affairs and Twilight’s Kellan Lutz, who both share a passion for the development of young people.
“ING is committed to children’s education and to the advancement of education initiatives that prepare them for successful futures,” said Mims. ”Our support for 100 Best demonstrates our goal of honoring communities like Norwood that produce real, measurable results for improving the lives of young people.”
The competition is one element of the Alliance’s Grad Nation campaign, a 10-year initiative to mobilize all Americans to take action in their communities to end the high school dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce. More than 7,000 students drop out each school day in the U.S., resulting in 1.3 million young people a year. To help decrease these numbers, the Alliance is more committed than ever to recognizing communities – regardless of size, location or history – that are taking real action to help more young people stay in school and graduate on time.
“100 Best is an essential building block of an inspiring national movement that gives everyone a chance to ensure every young person graduates,” said Powell. “These winning communities refuse to let the challenges they face be the determining factor in the lives of their children and youth. Instead, they are helping to build an infrastructure of assertive, successful and dynamic young people that are the future of this country.”
For more information, contact:
Family and Children First Coordinator
Norwood Community Coalition