Dubuque today was named one of America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best Communities for Young People presented by ING. The national award was given to Dubuque to recognize 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.
Dubuque, a fifth-time 100 Best winner, was again honored for helping youth achieve success through educational support programs and community service opportunities. Every Child/Every Promise (ECEP), in strategic alliance with the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, promotes collaboration among youth-serving agencies to eliminate duplication of services, gather effective data, and create a more efficient system to deliver America’s Promise Alliance’s Five Promises to youth—Caring Adults, Safe Places, A Healthy Start, An Effective Education, and Opportunities to Serve. ECEP also developed an after-school program for Dubuque’s two Title I middle schools called the Leadership Enrichment After-school Program (LEAP) while the community’s Third Grade Reading Initiative focuses on ensuring more youth are reading at grade level, a key predictor of school success and future graduation rates.
Other programs in Dubuque involve youth in community service, such as the Youth Area Philanthropists (YAPPERS), a group of high school students who serve as the youth board of the Community Foundation. The YAPPERS participate in service projects such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and Project Linus, and also organize the annual Feed the Need luncheon and silent auction to raise awareness of youth hunger and fund grants to local youth-serving organizations.
“Being named one of America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best is significant and meaningful to the entire community,” said Nancy Van Milligen, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. “So many dedicated people and programs contributed to this win and it further reinforces our belief that a focus on youth pays dividends to the entire community.”
“As young people across the country go back to school, it is especially timely to recognize communities like Dubuque that have come together to make supporting young people a top priority and that are committed to helping young Americans reach their full potential,” said John Gomperts, America’s Promise Alliance president and CEO. “The 100 Best winners are doing outstanding work delivering the Five Promises that create the conditions for all young people to have the best chance for success. We hope the example set by these communities provides inspiration for others to take action.”
The 100 Best competition is part of the Grad Nation campaign, a large and growing movement of dedicated individuals, organizations and communities working together to end the dropout crisis. The goal of Grad Nation is to raise the national high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020, with no school graduating fewer than 80 percent of its students on time.
Dubuque will receive 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.
A list of all 2012 winners can be found at AmericasPromise.org/100Best.