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Cumming, Forsyth County Named 'Best Community for Young People'

The annual award, submitted by United Way of Forsyth County and Forsyth County Schools, was given to the community for a long list of good deeds.

For an impressive second time, Cumming and Forsyth County have been recognized as one of the nation's 100 best communities for young people, according to America's Promise Alliance.

The annual award, submitted by United Way of Forsyth County and Forsyth County Schools (FCS), was given to the community because of its outstanding and innovative work in addressing the high school dropout crisis. It is also recognized for its programs and services that make it an outstanding place for youth to live, learn and grow.

"We are proud and honored to have been included on the list of '100 Best Communities for Young People' in the nation," said Ruth Goode, executive director for United Way of Forsyth County.

"Cumming and Forsyth County demonstrates on many levels every day that we are committed to making youth in this community a priority. We collaborate across all sectors including businesses, faith communities, nonprofits, schools and government to ensure we have all the supportive services necessary for children to be healthy, achieve academically and succeed in life."

Judi Jenkins, business and community relations facilitator with FCS, echoed that sentiment by telling Cumming Patch, “This honor truly belongs to every citizen in Cumming-Forsyth County."

"It is truly a joint effort working together as a community to afford opportunities to all our young people. I believe we realize that the most important challenge we have as parents, administrators, educators, businesses, politicians, and citizens of our community is to recognize the individual needs of our students and find solutions to meet those needs."

The community strives to do just that through employment, mentoring, leadership and bullying prevention programs.

FCS collaborated with the U.S. Department of Labor and Lanier Technical College to develop Project LIFE, a program that secures internships for special needs youth at local businesses. FCS also has a school based mentor program, which recruits individuals to mentor elementary, middle and alternative school students. Currently, nearly 550 adults participate in the program, which operates in 30 schools.

Through Youth Leadership Forsyth, training sessions on developing leadership skills and community awareness are available to high school upperclassmen.

Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, a school violence prevention resource; and a Systemwide Management Emergency Response Team, created by the school district; were initiated to better equip schools to address student safety.

The entire community is committed to playing a part in helping youth reach their full potential—this spirit is exemplified in local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts programs, which have seen an 11 percent and 16 percent growth in adult participation since 2010.

"We are very humbled in receiving this award again," said Jenkins.

"Someone ask me why we were so excited about receiving this again since we had received it two years ago and I said, It’s like having a 10-0 football season. You want to win the playoff and go on to the bowl game and win. You can never tire of success. It makes you want to keep getting better, year after year. That’s our goal. We are a great community, but we can do more. We can be better.”

Read more about the community programs that make Cumming and Forsyth County a 2012 winning community.

  • Youth Leadership Forsyth is an organization that provides monthly, full-day training sessions on leadership development and community service for upperclassmen.
  • Project LIFE is collaboration among the school district, U.S. Department of Labor and Lanier Technical College that provides internships to special needs youth at local businesses.
  • School Based Mentor Program pairs adult volunteers with elementary, middle and alternative school students to reduce potential incidence of drug use and violence while encouraging a healthy and productive life.

The award, presented by America's Promise Alliance, was founded by General Colin Powell and is the nation's largest partnership organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth.

Visit the organization's website for the full list of 2012 winners.

Editor's Note: Cumming and Forsyth County were first named as one of the nation's 100 best communities for young people in 2010.

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