Article from the Green Bay Press Gazette-September 22, 2010

Collaboration and innovation are among the qualities that make greater Green Bay deserving of its most recent honor as one of the country’s 100 best communities for young people.

This is the third time in as many tries the Green Bay area has received the designation from America’s Promise Alliance, a national nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth. Officials on Tuesday announced our area’s inclusion on the 2010 list, a designation greater Green Bay also sought and achieved in 2005 and 2008.

Our area’s extensive application shows numerous reasons this community is deserving of the “100 best” honor. It outlines a variety of innovative programs and initiatives for children from birth on up, showcasing the depth and breadth of our commitment to the children of Northeastern Wisconsin.

“Through its innovative and far-reaching programs, Greater Green Bay is taking bold and effective steps to help their young people graduate and lead healthy, productive lives,” Marguerite W. Kondracke, America’s Promise Alliance president and CEO, said. “Greater Green Bay serves as an example to inspire and educate other communities across the nation to tackle the challenges facing their city and children, and to implement initiatives that give them the essential resources they need to succeed in life.”

Green Bay was recognized for collaborative efforts such as Partners in Education, an initiative of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce that pairs business and educational partners throughout 10 area school districts. Such cooperative endeavors are part of what makes the Green Bay area a great place for kids, said Nancy Schopf, vice president of education and leadership for the chamber.

Initiatives such as the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Phuture Phoenix college readiness program also exemplify the kind of collaborative spirit that makes Green Bay shine. Phuture Phoenix will serve some 1,400 students from low-income schools in area districts this fall, thanks to the help of more than 250 UWGB students who serve as mentors, tour guides and in other roles, said program director Kim Desotell.

These are just two of the numerous educational, private and community-based programs and services that make our community great. Each is worthy and deserving of recognition.

This designation is a meaningful honor for our area, and we are heartened to know those who work on behalf of children will continue their steadfast efforts moving forward. The Green Bay Press-Gazette is contributing to this critical community focus, partnering with business, education and other sectors throughout our community for an effort we’re calling “Greater Green Bay: Where Kids Count.” This initiative seeks to raise the healthiest kids in America through a forward-thinking approach to the childhood obesity epidemic.

The “100 best” designation means something to all of us, whether or not we have children of our own. A vibrant, family-friendly community is good for attracting and retaining businesses and talented employees, and for overall quality of life.

Today’s kids are tomorrow’s work force, and it behooves us all to ensure they have a solid start