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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
Thursday, January 25, 2007

America’s Promise Alliance Names Little Rock One of 100 Best Communities for Young People

In Partnership with Capital One, Competition Recognizes Outstanding,
Innovative Efforts That Benefit Children and Youth

January 25, 2007: America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth is pleased to announce that Little Rock is one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People. In partnership with Capital One, the 100 Best competition honors communities – ranging from small towns to urban neighborhoods across America – for their commitment to provide healthy, safe and caring environments for young people. Hundreds of communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands took part in the competition. This honor was bestowed on Little Rock in 2005 – the only other time the recognition has been given.

Little Rock is one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People, in part, because of the Little Rock School District’s (LRSD) support of its Volunteers in the Public Schools (VIPS) program. This program forges relationships directly between the neighborhood schools and the community-based and business-oriented volunteer population. The annual VIPS Reading Day involves more than 670 adults who volunteer to read stories in every classroom, reaching more than 13,000 students.

“Nothing is more important than seeing that our children and youth have the resources and support systems they need to thrive and succeed,” said America’s Promise Founding Chairman General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.). “When a community provides all that its young people need to be healthy and secure, they deserve to be honored and showcased as an outstanding example of what it takes to successfully nurture this nation’s young people.”

A complete list of winners can be found at www.americaspromise.org. 100 Best Communities for Young People was first launched in 2005 by General Powell in partnership with Capital One Financial Corporation. Other members of America’s Promise Alliance — including United Way of America, U.S. Conference of Mayors, Big Brothers Big Sisters, National Association of Counties and the American Association of School Administrators and many others — took leading roles in encouraging communities to compete in the 100 Best competition.

Little Rock leaders are extremely pleased by this recognition. City Manager Bruce Moore said that “This honor shows the rest of the country what we know to be true. Little Rock is a community that cares about fulfilling its promise to young people, and we fully support the people and programs that are making that happen citywide.” 
 
The 2007 100 Best Communities for Young People competition opened in September 2006. Little Rock and the other winners applied for the honor and were chosen by a distinguished selection panel of civic, business and nonprofit leaders, including United Way of America President Brian Gallagher, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue, NBC News Washington Bureau Chief and Moderator of Meet the Press Tim Russert, CEOs for Cities’ President and CEO Carol Coleta, and former Denver mayor Wellington Webb.

The selection panel evaluated 100 Best entries that required detailed information about each community’s efforts to fulfill the Five Promises – the fundamental resources our children and youth need to succeed: caring adults who are actively involved in their lives; safe places in which to learn and grow; a healthy start toward adulthood; an effective education that builds marketable skills; and opportunities to help others.

“We held this competition to appeal to America’s competitive spirit to encourage communities to become great places to grow up.” said Marguerite W. Kondracke, President and CEO of America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth. “Our winners’ outstanding efforts to deliver the Five Promises are shining examples of what it means to keep America’s Promise for our young people.”

"Capital One believes that every family should have the opportunity to provide for their children in ways that ensure future success," said Capital One President of Global Financial Services and America’s Promise board member Larry Klane, a member of the 2007 selection panel. "Through the 100 Best competition, we can recognize communities that foster the type of environment where children and families have opportunities and resources to realize their potential."

For more details about the 100 Best competition and the winners, please visit www.americaspromise.org. 

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About America’s Promise
Founded by retired General Colin L. Powell, the America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s largest private-public partnership committed to ensuring that every child receives the five fundamental resources – the Five Promises - essential for success: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, an effective education and opportunities to help others.

Alma J. Powell currently serves as chair. Marguerite W. Kondracke serves as president and chief executive officer. Among the founding partners are the Corporation for National and Community Service, Points of Light Foundation, The United Way of America, Communities In Schools and MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership.

America's Promise grew out of the Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future in 1997, where Presidents Bush, Carter, Clinton and Ford, with Nancy Reagan representing President Reagan, challenged the country to make children and youth a national priority. President George W. Bush affirmed his commitment in 2001.

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