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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rock Hill One of 100 Best Communities - Again

October 12, 2011
For Immediate Release
Rock Hill Named One of the Nation’s 100 Best Communities for Young People By America’s Promise Alliance and ING
Rock Hill, SC— Rock Hill achieved national recognition as one of America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best Communities for Young People presented by ING for its initiatives to help young people. The competition recognizes communities across the country that focus on reducing high school dropout rates and providing service and support to their youth.
As a four-time 100 Best winner, Rock Hill has shown its continued dedication to supporting its young people through a variety of programs that offer cultural, educational and service opportunities. The Commission for Children and Youth implemented an awareness campaign called “The #1 Question: Is It Good for the Children?” to encourage the community to make youth wellness a priority. Additionally, Rock Hill supports the development of healthy eating habits through Rock Hill School District Foundation’s Back the Pack program which identifies and provides food to undernourished students, solely funded by private donations from community members. The Rock Hill community is committed to ensuring all students graduate high school with its Dropout Prevention Committee, a group of local leaders including the Mayor and representatives from the school district, community and social service agencies. Since the Committee’s formation in 2008, the dropout rate has continued to decrease in Rock Hill.
“We are proud of Rock Hill for being named one of the America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best Communities for the fourth time,” said Mayor Doug Echols. “This award recognizes the hard work of many community members that have dedicated their time to making a difference in the lives of our young people.”
“In a nation where 7,000 students drop out of high school every day, we hope Rock Hill’s initiatives inspire other communities across the nation to take action to solve the challenges facing their young people,” said Marguerite W. Kondracke, America’s Promise Alliance president and CEO.  “Rock Hill is especially deserving of this recognition due to their efforts to ensure that their young people graduate high school and go on to lead healthy, productive lives. Rock Hill refuses to let the challenges they face determine the future for their young people. Instead, they are helping their youth prosper and become contributing members of society.”
Rock Hill 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.
This year, more than 300 communities from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were nominated for the 100 Best distinction.  Winners were chosen by a distinguished panel of 20 judges that included: Marc Morial, president and CEO, National Urban League, Roxanne Spillett, president and CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and Michelle Shearer, Chemistry Teacher, Urbana High School, 2011 National Teacher of the Year.
The winners are a diverse group, ranging from small communities to large cities. A list of all 2011 winners can be found at
Being a 100 Best community not only demonstrates commitment to local young people; the award fosters local pride, bolsters economic development and shines the spotlight on the people and programs that are building better communities. The competition also facilitates the sharing of best practices among communities nationwide regarding education, access to health care, reading score improvement, youth service and pre-school enrollment, among many other areas.
First held in 2005, the 100 Best competition is one of the Alliance’s signature initiatives and is part of its Grad Nation campaign, which is a 10-year initiative to mobilize Americans to end the high school dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce.  The 100 Best honors communities large and small, rural and urban, that are making progress to help young people achieve their potential, which includes earning a high school diploma, securing a good job, and playing an active, productive role in America’s economic vitality.
All communities entering the 100 Best competition completed a rigorous application where they provided details on how existing programs and initiatives help deliver the Five Promises—resources identified by the Alliance as being critical to the development of healthy, successful children: caring adults; safe places; healthy start; effective education; and opportunities to help others. Applicants were also 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.

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