Moore Among Tops in Nation for Young People

The Pilot – September 29, 2010

Moore County is one of the nation’s best communities for young people, according to a list released by America’s Promise Alliance.

At an awards ceremony Sept. 21 in front of the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the alliance named Moore County one of the top 100 communities working to help reduce local school drop-out rates and to create better opportunities for children.

In addition to being nationally recognized, Moore County leaders will receive a trophy and two road signs identifying the area as a top 100 community.

Communities In Schools of Moore County helped more than 40 entities around the county come together to apply for the award.

Andi Korte, dean of continuing education at Sandhills Community Coll-ege and former executive director of Communities In Schools for Moore County, led the organizing effort.

“This national recognition confirms what we already know in Moore County – we make our youth a priority every day,” Korte said.

Cynthia Bradley, the current executive director for Communities in Schools (CIS), was able to attend the award ceremony along with Korte and Kathy Byron, FirstSchool Garden program director with CIS.

Bradley said the award reinforces Moore County’s strong commitment to the future of its children.

“We need to all be on board,” Bradley said. “We need to stay together for the focus of the kids, making sure that we do our best to not let the drop-out rate get any higher.”

Bradley emphasized that a strong community presence in schools ensures a child’s success by helping students get more out of their educational experience.

Moore County was recognized for its innovative programs for youth, such as the Entrepreneurial Boot Camp offered by the Chamber of Commerce, the Moore County school system and local business leaders. The program allows high school students to cultivate business and leadership skills by working with local business leaders to create and present their own business plans.

The CIS FirstSchool Garden program, which incorporates information on making healthy choices into school curriculums, was also mentioned.

The program allows students to build their own community garden at school while also learning about math, engineering, environmental conservation and physical activity.

The program has been recognized as a statewide model on obesity prevention.

Bradley added that the weak economy has bolstered the evidence that a good education is necessary in preparing children to lead productive, successful lives. She stressed the importance of community support as a source of stability for children regardless of the economic climate.

“Our community needs to band together to help the school system and help children by making sure that they are surrounded by a strong community,” Bradley said. “Without education, they’re not going to go as far as they might want to.”

Bradley added that the recognition is a good indicator of what Moore County has to offer for people looking to relocate to the area and for potential economic development.

“People can look at this community, and they recognize that this community came together [for this award],” she said. “It took all of us.”

Moore County was one of four communities recognized in North Carolina. Durham, the Fort Bragg/Fayetteville area and Pitt County also received awards.

The county was also one of 30 first-time winners in the competition.

More than 350 communities from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., were nominated for the recognition.

Communities in Schools is a local organization that works to supplement schools with community support to help students stay in school and succeed in life.

America’s Promise Alliance, founded by retired Gen. Colin Powell, is a cross-sector alliance of more than 400 corporations, nonprofits, faith-based organizations and advocacy groups seeking to improve the lives of children.

Contact Hannah Sharpe at hannah@thepilot.com.