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A massive tornado touched down to the southwest of Oklahoma City Monday afternoon.More >>
Rock Hill has been named one of America's Promise Alliance's the 100 Best Communities for Young People. The national award is presented by ING.
Wednesday's announcement makes Rock Hill a five-time winner of the award.
Rock Hill was named in recognition of what the group calls its outstanding and innovative work in addressing the high school dropout crisis, and for its programs and services that help youth.
America's Promise Alliance calls Rock Hill an "outstanding place to live". A release from the organization says Rock Hill "continues to earn a spot on this list because of its longstanding dedication and focus on providing youth with community service, health programming and educational opportunities."
The release cites Rock Hill's #1 Question Campaign. More than 20 local businesses have implemented the campaign, which asks community members to guide their decisions based on the question "Is it good for the children?".
It also references the York County All on Board program. The program is a county-wide effort to reduce alcohol use by minors with education and community events. Rock Hill also hosts the Youth Service League, which teaches young people about the importance of community service by coordinating fundraisers, charitable donations and other volunteer efforts.
"Being named one of America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best is significant and meaningful to the entire community," said Mayor Doug Echols. "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 Rock Hill 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 Rock Hill 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."
Rock Hill will receive a $2,500 grant, signs identifying the community as one of the nation's 100 Best Communities for Young People. The city will also receive access to America's Promise Alliance's community development resources.
The competition is part of the Grad Nation campaign, a movement of individuals, organizations and communities working to end the dropout crisis. The campaign's goal is to raise the national high school graduation rate to 90% by 2020, with no school graduating fewer than 80% of its students on time.
Communities who entered the competition had to complete an application providing details on their existing programs and initiatives, and how those programs deliver the Five Promises. Those promises are resources identified by America's Promise as critical to the development of healthy, successful children. They are: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, effective education, and opportunities to help others. Applicants had to describe how the community works together to achieve those goals and overcome hardships. 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.
Rock Hill stood out, even as the competition said it experienced the highest interest to date. More than 320 communities representing all 50 states, Washington DC, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico took part.
Other places in the Carolinas recognized this year: Greenville County, SC - Charleston, SC - and Pitt County, NC.