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Spokane in top 100 cities for kids

Tue., Sept. 27, 2005

The city of Spokane, with its long tradition of promoting youth, has won a prestigious spot as one of the country’s top 100 cities for children.

America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth announced on Monday that Spokane made the list of the 100 Best Communities for Young People out of some 700 applicants.

“It’s a pretty big deal,” said Marlene Feist, spokeswoman for the city.

Spokane joins Bellevue, Pierce County and the city of Lakewood as the locations chosen in Washington state.

America’s Promise founding chairman, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, announced the competition in May.

Joanne Benham, Spokane’s regional youth director, coordinated the application to win a spot on the list.

“We knew all along that our community has been on the cutting edge when it comes to making the health and well-being of children and youth a priority,” Benham said in a statement. “It’s so exciting that we are being recognized nationally for everyone’s hard work.”

Feist said Spokane has long recognized children through its annual Chase Youth Awards, named after late Mayor Jim Chase, an advocate for youth. But the city has also worked with schools, United Way and civic organizations to promote youth programs, including mentoring, work opportunities, band competitions, community service projects and creating opportunities for after-school care.

Vic Forni, chief executive officer for United Way in Spokane County, said, “The achievement tells me that our community is on the right track and should inspire us to do more, always working together.”

Forni is a member of Spokane’s Promise Leadership Council, an ally of the national America’s Promise organization founded by Powell in 1997 with the help of nonprofit, corporate and community groups.


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