LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 11, 2012) — For a sixth year, Lexington has been named one of the 100 best places in the country for young people by America’s Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest partnership dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth.
“Lexington is one of only 19 cities in the country that has received this award six times,” said Mayor Jim Gray. “The reason for our success is simple: We put young people first in Lexington … that’s what this award really means.”
The mayor was on hand Friday at a Spotlight on Youth celebration to receive the award, officially called the America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best Communities for Young People presented by ING. The award was presented by Jordan LaPier, senior director of the 100 Best Communities for Young People program.
Lexington received the award for its “outstanding and innovative work in addressing the high school dropout crisis and for its programs and services that make it an outstanding place for youth to live, learn and grow,” according to America’s Promise. Lexington also was recognized for its continued expansion of educational, diversity, health and safety programming for youth.
Gray said Friday night’s Spotlight celebration was an example of the new programming Lexington is offering. Spotlight showcased the talents of young people involved in the Partners for Youth “I Do” initiative, which grew out of recommendations from the Commission on Youth Development and Public Safety that Gray and Councilmember Chris Ford formed in 2011 to focus on youth and safety concerns. Its goal is to bring safe, recreational and enriching activities to Lexington’s youth through a collaboration of local businesses, community volunteers and the city.
For making the 100 best list, Lexington received a $2,500 grant, signage identifying the community as one of the nation’s 100 Best Communities for Young People, and access to America’s Promise Alliance’s community development resources.
All communities entering the 100 Best competition completed a rigorous application, where they provided details on how their existing programs and initiatives help deliver the Five Promises – resources identified by America’s Promise as being critical to the development of healthy, successful children. The Five Promises are: caring adults; safe places; a healthy start; effective education; and opportunities to help others. Applicants also were asked to describe how different sectors of their community work together to help children and families overcome challenges. Communities also were judged on the strength and innovation of their efforts and programs to help young people graduate from high school prepared for college and the 21st Century workforce.
Lexington was one of 320 communities applying for the honor.