Sylacauga is named "100 Best Communities for Young People"

Sylacauga has done it again.{} The city has been chosen as one of the "100 Best Communities in the Nation for Young People" by America's Promise Alliance and ING.

The national award was given to Sylacauga to recognize its outstanding and innovative work in addressing the high school dropout crisis and for its programs and services that make the city an outstanding place for youth to live, learn and grow.

Two volunteer programs were highlighted.{} Sylacauga GROWS engages more than 1,700 students at five schools where they provide over 10,000 service hours tending the schools' gardens. The 2,600 pounds of produce grown in the gardens is donated to local families. Also, AGGIE VOLS is a school-based service program that provides students with opportunities to earn community service hours by volunteering at local organizations.

Also noted in the recognition is the efforts by community leaders that have created a safe, structured, and supervised environment for the city's youth.{} Those efforts include work with the Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enhancement (SAFE) and the Bridges after school programs.{} Those two programs have provided after school, Saturday and summer school as well as ACCESS Credit Recovery Program for the youth enrolled in the Sylacauga City Schools and the Talladega County Schools.

"Being named one of America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best is significant and meaningful to the entire community," said Mayor Jim Heigl. "So many dedicated people and programs contributed to this win and it further reinforces our belief that a focus on youth pays dividends to the entire community."

Sylacauga will receive a $2,500 grant, signage identifying the community as one of the nation's 100 Best Communities for Young People, and access to America's Promise Alliance's community development resources.

This is the 6th year that Sylacauga has been named among the "100 Best Communities for Young People."{} It is the only community in Alabama that has that distinction.