For the second year in a row, a national children's advocacy group has recognized Bellevue as one of the 100 best communities for young people.
The America's Promise Alliance, based in Washington, D.C., announced the 2007 list on Jan. 25. Bellevue was cited for the quality of its schools and the attention children from all backgrounds receive from a collaboration that includes the city, the school district, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue and the Bellevue YMCA.
“This honor is a reflection of the tremendous efforts of Bellevue’s adults and young people who have truly worked together, investing time and dedicating resources to support the needs of our young people,” said Bellevue Mayor Grant Degginger.
In partnership with Capital One, 100 Best showcases cities and communities across the country that tackle challenges and demonstrate innovative efforts to deliver the Five Promises that young people need to succeed – caring adults; safe places; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others.
More than 750 communities from all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, entered the 2007 competition. The 2007 100 Best winners circle includes communities and cities from 38 states, representing localities large and small, urban and rural. A complete list of and additional information about the 2007 100 Best communities is available at the America's Promise website.
In Bellevue, the Parks & Community Services Department, generally and through its Family, Youth and Teen Services division, offers a variety of youth programs that serve children in all age groups, from infant to older teen. The city's efforts to help its young people succeed are profiled in a Bellevue Reporter article published on Jan. 27.
The city's highly-rated schools are a highlight. In the most recent index of the nation's top-ranked 1,000 schools, Newsweek once again included all five of Bellevue's high schools. Of recent Bellevue graduates who participated in a survey, 87 percent indicated they had a high-quality academic experience in high school; 89 percent felt that teachers cared about them; and 84 percent felt well-prepared for life after high school.
“I have always been impressed by how the people in Bellevue care about youth,” said Dr. Mike Riley, Bellevue Public Schools superintendent. "It’s one thing to say you care about kids – everyone says that – it’s another to put your time, energy, talent and money into helping kids, being their mentors, making sure they get the best education possible and ensuring they can enjoy all the resources and activities a city has to offer – and that’s what Bellevue does. It’s no surprise to me that our city has been recognized with this national award."
Bellevue's innovative collaborative youth programs include: Bellevue Youth Link, a youth leadership and youth involvement program honored in 1992 with a National League of Cities Innovation Award; and most recently, Wrap-Around Services, a pilot project at Lake Hills Elementary of many community partners (including the City of Bellevue, Bellevue School District, YMCA, United Way and many others.) The Wrap-Around Services project provides a network of resources and support for and with a local elementary school and neighborhood community.
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