OKC: One of 100 best places for children

Thursday, January 24th 2008, 5:31 pm
By: News 9


For the third year in a row, Oklahoma City has been named a winner in the 100 Best Communities for Young People competition.

The distinction came from America's Promise Alliance, a Virginia-based child welfare collaborative, and the credit card company Capital One. More than 300 communities in all 50 states applied for the honor this year, read a press release from the Alliance. The 100 winning communities spanned 37 states.

The Alliance said in a press release they named Oklahoma City as one of the winners in large part because of the work the United Way of Central Oklahoma, Whiz Kids and Smart Start Central Oklahoma has played in the lives of children in the metro-area.

Some of the notes made were:

  • The United Way has an annual unified campaign that raised $16.5 million last year for local programs serving 56 agencies and over one-third of the metro-area population.
  • Whiz Kids is a faith-based, one-on-one volunteer tutoring/mentoring program serving first through eighth grade students in areas struggling with high drop-out rates.
  • Smart Start Central Oklahoma has partnered with the Oklahoma City Public Schools and the Putnam City Public Schools to help families in need by establishing resource rooms in several neighborhood elementary schools. These rooms provide a safe, friendly place where parents and children can grow together.

"We are fortunate to live in a community that cares so deeply and contributes so much to the success of our young people," said Mayor Mick Cornett in the press release. "This recognition, for the third year in a row, is evidence that local schools and organizations are effective in improving the health, education and well-being of City families."

Each of the communities who applied for the competition, regardless of whether they were selected as a winner, are eligible to apply for $300,000 in grants from the Alliance next month.

For more details about the 100 Best competition and to see a complete list of the 2008 winners, visit www.americaspromise.org.

You can also visit www.smartstartcentraloklahoma.org.