Each year, BusinessWeek selects one city in the U.S. as the “Best Place to Raise Your Kids”. The criteria includes median family income and a real estate analysis, as well as school performance, crime rates, and the number of museums, parks, and theaters. This past year Mount Prospect, Ill. was awarded the title.
I was raised in a city that had been a persistent winner of this award – Naperville, Ill. While I receive a good education and lived in safe town, there was something missing from my youth. I felt as if I was in a bubble, with little to no interaction with other cities and towns.
In my opinion, the “Best Places to Raise Your Kids” list doesn’t include some important factors that makes communities great.
Then last year, while I was trying to find a story to write about for my journalism class, I learned about the organization America’s Promise Alliance and its annual competition, “100 Best Communities for Young People”.
The competition seeks to recognizes outstanding community-wide efforts that improve the well-being of youth, particularly those that fulfill the “Five Promises”:
- Caring Adults
- Safe Places
- A Healthy Start
- Effective Education
- Opportunities to Help Others
The criteria does not include population or family income, but instead characteristics that ensure kids will be surrounded by opportunities to become caring, well-rounded adults.
This year, Chandler, Tempe and Scottsdale all made the top 100. In fact, all of these Arizona cities have made the Three-Time winner list, as well as Tempe being awarded a grant to fund efforts to educate and enroll more children and families in the state Children’s Health Insurance Program.
I have had the privilege to live in or work in all three of these cities that truly deserve the “community” title. Each has its own unique feel and personality, yet they all collaborate to create incredible programs for their youth.
To learn more about the programs highlighted for the award, click here.
Also, if you get a chance this Saturday, Oct. 17th, head out to Chandler to participate in one of their award-winning events, the “Day of Play”. The event features vendor and activities encouraging health and wellness in kids – from potato sack races to solar oven cookies.
Congratulations Tempe, Scottsdale and Chandler!!