The Greater Green Bay area was named One of the Nation’s 100 Best Communities for Young People by America’s Promise Alliance and ING, a financial services company. Efforts by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay community played a significant role in the honor.
The 100 Best designation recognizes those communities that make youth a priority by implementing programs that help keep children in school and prepare them for college and the 21st century workforce. The Greater Green Bay Area and Waukesha were the only two Wisconsin communities named to the 100 Best. Its 2010 recognition marks the third win for Greater Green Bay in the competition.
UW-Green Bay was mentioned throughout the application process:
• The 100 Best application noted the work of UW-Green Bay’s Phuture Phoenix program and the Institute for Learning Partnership were among those in the community with a collaborative effort toward addressing education-related issues.
• The application mentioned both the Phuture Phoenix and Camp Lloyd for grieving children, in the area of “support for the most vulnerable young people.”
• UW-Green Bay summer opportunities were included in “youth leadership” and “effective education” categories.
• UW-Green Bay and Bellin College nursing graduate Maria Mercado-Adams, was recognized for her success story. She came to Green Bay as a high school sophomore speaking almost no English. She now has a nursing degree and is employed at Bellin Hospital, and continues to pursue her dreams of becoming an OB/GYN.
In addition, testimonial was given by Ka Vang, a current UW-Green Bay student who was in the very first group of fifth-graders who toured UW-Green Bay as part of the Phuture Phoenix program, and then was mentored through high school.
“…Phuture Phoenix inspired me to attend college by providing me with a tutor who helped me with my difficult class and informed me about college. Without my tutor, I would not have had the determination to work hard at improving my writing skills in my Advanced Placement Language and Composition class.”
The daughter of Hmong immigrants, Vang said she remembered that first tour and it was fun but couldn’t say that she knew at that moment she was going to college.
“I suppose it was planting a seed,” she said.
The competition is open to all communities that make children and youth a priority, including small towns, large cities, counties and school districts. In addition to enhancing local educational opportunities, most winning communities have taken steps to facilitate improved access to health care for its young people, encourage youth civic engagement and supply developmental resources that create better places for young people to live and grow.
On September 21, 2010, Greater Green Bay and the other winners spanning 37 states were recognized at a ceremony in front of the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Each of the winning communities was formally recognized with a designation on a map of the U.S., illustrating the geographic and demographic diversity of the winning 100 communities.
In addition to the 100 Best distinction, Greater Green Bay and the other top communities will receive two road signs identifying the city as one of 100 Best, as well as a trophy to be presented to local officials later this year.
The entire 2010 list of 100 Best Communities for Young People and their accomplishments can be found at www.americaspromise.org/100Best.