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Springfield-Greene County Wins National Award

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/springfiel_2070.mp3

Springfield-Greene County has won a national award for its efforts to help young people succeed. KSMU's Michele Skalicky reports.

Community Leaders, educators and others gathered Tuesday to celebrate a special honor the community's received...

"We're here today to announce that Springfield and Greene County has been named one of the 100 best communities for young people by America's Promise, the Alliance for Youth for the 2nd year in a row."

Melissa Haddow is executive director of the Community Partnership of the Ozarks, which sent in the award application.

She says they cited 100 local agencies and programs focused on the needs of children and youth in the application.

According to Haddow, one reason the judges stated for giving the award to Springfield-Greene County was the way our community takes action to address critical needs and issues facing our youth.

"In response to the red flags identified in the 2004-2005 community focus report card, which clearly indicated needs for our children, the Community Foundation of the Ozarks launched the Grantmaker's Challenge for Children. That effort has led to more than 7.25 million dollars being set aside to work on preventive solutions to tip the scale on chlidren's issues."

America's Promise, the Alliance for Youth is the nation's largest public-private partnership and is committed to ensuring that every child receives the 5 fundamental promises essential for success. Those are: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, effective education and an oportunity to help others.

Springfield mayor Tom Carlson points to several efforts in the city to fulfull those promises and help young people succeed.

"We've had now the Mayor's Summit on Children, and this past year these 5 promises were our core theme. Junior League with the Isabel's House and the crisis nursery has been a model for collaboration in our community. The Mayor's Commission for Children three years ago started to address these children's issues. Now, the character education program that promotes 12 core character traits is going throughout the community, reinforcing this whole idea. And, finally, the Building Blocks Program where teachers, parents, the community can build 40 assets in youth that work to fulfill these 5 promises."

The award positions Springfield and Greene County to receive up to a $100,000 grant to use in its efforts to help its young people succeed.