Pitt County Named One of the 100 Best Communities for Young People
September 12, 2012 - Pitt County 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 Pitt County 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.
Four-time 100 Best winner Pitt County was honored for its commitment to youth education and providing a safety net for children in the foster care network. The county's Reading 3D Assessment program evaluates the reading skills of elementary school students to help improve their proficiency. Pitt County also hosts the Student United Way Youth Volunteer Council, which provides youth with volunteering, mentoring and tutoring training to better serve young people in the community. Pitt County's Memorial Hospital VolunTEEN program is a high school summer program that attracts more than 300 student each year who volunteer for a minimum of one shift per week at the medical center to earn community service hours for their graduation goal.
To address the needs of infants and children in the social services system, One Church One Child, a faith-based minority adoption program finds homes for the disproportionate number of minority children in the foster care system while Under Our Wings works to identify willing foster and adoptive parents in Pitt County and provides families with guidance, monitoring, consultation, training and support.
"Being named one of America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best is significant and meaningful to the entire community," said Scott Elliott, Pitt County Manager. "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 Pitt County 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 increase we have seen in graduation rates over the past few years is due, in large part, to the hard work communities such as Pitt County have done to make sure their youth have access to an outstanding education and support services," said Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation and head of the ING U.S. Office of Corporate Responsibility. "It is also important for ING to partner with organizations such as America's Promise Alliance so we can share these best practices and play a role in improving student achievement and the nation's economy."
Pitt County 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.
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.
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: 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. Most importantly, communities 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.
In its sixth year, the competition experienced its greatest interest to date with nominations from more than 320 communities representing all 50 states, Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Winners were chosen by a distinguished panel of judges that included 2012 National Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki, 2012 National Superintendent of the Year Heath Morrison, National Urban League President Marc Morial, and GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard.
Two youth representatives also were named as selection panelists. These include Austin Bargmann, 15, from Brighton, Colo., a two-time 100 Best winner, and Ashley Levanduski, 17, from Paso Robles, Calif., who serves as a volunteer coach with an America's Promise partner organization, The First Tee, an international youth organization that introduces golf and its inherent values to young people.
Director of Public Information & Media Relations
Pitt County Office of Public Information