Cambridge Named One of the 100 Best Communities for Young People
for its Sixth Year by America’s Promise Alliance and ING U.S.
Cambridge was named one of America’s Promise Alliance’s 100 Best Communities for Young People presented by ING. The national award was given to Cambridge to recognize its outstanding and innovative work in preparing young people for successful adulthood and for its programs and services that make it an outstanding place for youth to live, learn and grow.
“Cambridge is the only community in New England and one of a small number of communities nationwide to be recognized for the sixth year as a 100 Best winner,” said Mayor Henrietta Davis. “This honor illustrates the deep commitment of the City Council and the City administration to the well-being of our children and families.”
Among the areas where Cambridge has demonstrated its commitment to helping young people thrive is by ensuring they enter the workforce with quality skills. The Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program hired over half of all Cambridge teens aged 14 to 17, providing a range of jobs with city government and community agencies. In 2012, Cambridge employed over 950 teens, providing them with valuable work experience and seminars supporting development of critical 21st century skills.
“The award recognizes the extraordinary level of collaboration that exists among Cambridge’s city departments and between the city and the community,” said City Manager Robert W. Healy. “Among the significant collaborations recognized here is between the Police and Human Services Departments where police officers and youth workers have worked together going door to door in housing developments to develop relationships with youth and families across the city.”
The award also recognizes the strong continuum of services in Cambridge beginning with parenting programs like the Center for Families and Baby University which help support low income parents in ensuring that their children enter school ready to learn. The continuum includes high quality pre-schools and out of school time programs as well as community service learning programs for middle and high school students.
Also recognized by the America’s Promise award is Cambridge’s Safety Net Collaborative which brings together the Cambridge Police Department, Cambridge Health Alliance, the Department of Human Service Programs and Cambridge Public Schools to support young people at-risk by promoting mental health and positive youth development through prevention, intervention and diversion. “We are very proud of the work our officers are doing in collaboration with our partners across the city,” said Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert C. Haas. “The Cambridge Safety Net Collaborative is truly making a difference in the lives of young people in our city by helping connect them and their families to services available in our community.”
“As young people across the country go back to school, it is especially timely to recognize communities like Cambridge 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.”
At noon EST on Sept. 12, Gomperts joined America’s Promise Alliance Chair Alma Powell and ING Foundation President Rhonda Mims at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., to officially announce the 100 winning communities during a live webcast.
“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 Cambridge 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.”
Cambridge 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.
A list of all 2012 winners can be found at AmericasPromise.org/100Best.
The webcast can be viewed at AmericasPromise.org/100Bestwebcast.
About America’s Promise Alliance
America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s largest partnership dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth. We bring together more than 400 national organizations representing nonprofit groups, businesses, communities, educators and policymakers. Through our Grad Nation campaign, we mobilize Americans to end the high school dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce. Building on the legacy of our Founding Chairman General Colin Powell, America’s Promise believes the success of young people is grounded in the Five Promises—Caring Adults, Safe Places, A Healthy Start, Effective Education, and Opportunities to Help Others. For more information, visit AmericasPromise.org.
About ING U.S.
ING U.S. constitutes the U.S.-based retirement, investment management and insurance operations of Dutch-based ING Groep N.V. (NYSE: ING). In the U.S., the ING family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes life insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits and financial planning. ING U.S. holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves approximately 13 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit http://ing.us.
About the ING Foundation
The ING Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life in communities where ING operates and its employees and customers live. Through charitable giving and employee volunteerism, the Foundation focuses on programs in the areas of financial education, children’s education and physical education. For more information, visit http://www.ing-usafoundation.com or connect with us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/act2impact) and Twitter (@INGact2impact).