Black Hawk County’s is one of the winners of a first-ever national competition that highlights the 100 best communities for young people. Janet Lyons, coordinator for “The Cedar Valley’s Promise,” says it’s a group of collaborative programs. There are 13 different ‘task teams” focused on youth issues, and she estimates that within those teams, some 300 people meet monthly to plan activities they could do, like after-school programs. The award comes from the nonprofit group “America’s Promise,” which was founded by retired General Colin Powell. They were looking for things that were innovative and collaborative — not just a Girl Scout activity, but one that might combine their efforts with a food bank or the Big Brothers and Big Sisters, or the Boys and Girls Club. Lyons says an important part of the project is enabling young people to solve problems themselves. Only two other Iowa communities, Des Moines and Lamoni, were also honored.
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