Lakewood, WA — Lakewood’s Promise announced that Lakewood’s Promise leaders will represent the Lakewood community at the America’s Promise Alliance’s (the Alliance) 100 Best Communities for Young People (100 Best) National Forum in Washington, DC September 22-23. Clover Park Technical Vice-President Tony Robinson, Lakewood’s Promise Board Co-Chair, Ria Johnson, Lakewood’s Promise Board Youth Representative, and Eric Renz, Lakewood’s Promise Executive Director were selected to attend the event, which honors those cities and towns named one of the 2008 100 Best, because of their commitment on behalf of children and youth in Lakewood. Lakewood has been chosen three times as one of the 100 Best because of the community’s coordination and collaboration through Lakewood’s Promise. Lakewood’s representatives will join hundreds of individuals from other winning communities, Alliance Chair Alma Powell and other nationally recognized leaders in education, healthcare, media and public policy.
“The 100 Best National Forum is a very special event for the Alliance because it allows us to honor those communities across the country that exemplify what it means to care and support our young people,” said Marguerite W. Kondracke, president and CEO, America’s Promise Alliance. “These tireless advocates are on the front lines every day, teaching our children, keeping them safe and ensuring they stay in school. By bringing them all together under one roof we can learn from their outstanding work and feel inspired to do even more.”
During the two-day Forum, attendees will have an opportunity to hear from Alliance leadership on its campaign to reduce the nation’s high school dropout rate and participate in networking sessions and workshops on issues important to children and youth advocates. Session topics include: strategies for keeping kids in schools, funding resources and supports, healthcare, and public policy. Many of these sessions will highlight some of the innovative and successful programs underway in other 100 Best communities. Ria Johnson will be attending a special series of workshops on youth building resources for youth, returning as a resource for the Lakewood Youth Council of which she was a founding member.
Lakewood Mayor Doug Richardson said “Being named three times one of the best places for young people to live is very special. It’s a designation we take seriously because we know that the success of our young people is directly linked to our success as a community. We have a powerful Community Collaboration in Lakewood and this recognition belongs to all our partners. This forum allows us an opportunity to celebrate our success nationally but more importantly engage with other winners across the country and learn from each other.”
Attendees will also hear from a panel of youth who will talk about their struggle to stay in school and what helped turn their lives around, as well as leading political commentator, journalist and author Morton Kondracke of Roll Call newspaper and the Fox News Channel. The closing luncheon keynote will include remarks from Peter Benson, president of the Search Institute and William Bell, president of Casey Family Programs. Finally, all 2008 100 Best winners will be recognized at an evening event titled “Journey Across America” that will include a performance by American Idol winner and Grammy nominated platinum recording artist Fantasia Barrino.
First held in 2005, 100 Best is a bi-annual competition held by the Alliance to recognize the outstanding efforts of cities and towns‚Äîlarge and small, rural and urban‚Äîto make young people a top priority. Other Washington state winners include Bellevue, Spokane County, and Lower Yakima Valley.
To learn more about the 100 Best Communities for Young People visit: www.americaspromise.org/100best. To learn more about Lakewood’s Promise visit: lakewoodspromise.org/ or call Eric Renz at 253-302-1698.