America’s Promise is founded on the belief that a community can build character and competency in their youth by providing youth with five fundamental resources –referred to as promises. These “Five Promises” are:
- Caring Adults
All children need support and guidance from caring adults in their families, at schools and in their communities. These include ongoing, secure relationships with parents as well as formal and informal relationships with teachers, mentors, coaches, youth volunteers and neighbors.
- Safe Places
All children need to be physically and emotionally safe wherever they are — from the actual places of families, schools, neighborhoods and communities to the virtual places of media. They also need a healthy balance between structured, supervised activities and unstructured time.
- Healthy Starts
All children need to be physically and emotionally safe wherever they are —from the actual places of families, schools, neighborhoods and communities to the virtual places of media. They also need a healthy balance between structured, supervised activities and unstructured time.
- An Effective Education
All children need the intellectual development, motivation and skills that equip them for successful work and lifelong learning. These result from having quality learning environments, challenging expectations and consistent guidance and mentoring.
- Opportunities to Help Others
All children need the chance to make a difference in their families, at schools and in their communities. Knowing how to make a difference comes from having models of caring behavior, awareness of the needs of others, a sense of personal responsibility to contribute to the larger society, and opportunities for volunteering, leadership and service.
Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development
Power Up YOUth! has its roots in the Webster City SAFE Coalition whose purpose was to educate the community on the use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. In March of 2004 the SAFE Coalition began working with Community Partnerships and Youth Development to complete a number of community assessments to take a ‘snapshot’ of youth development programming and opportunities to be found in Hamilton County. These assessments indicated a need to address more issues in our community than simply substance abuse.Youth reported:
- Insufficient positive relationships/interactions with adults in the community
- Unacceptable high rates of risky and /or unhealthy behaviors
- A lack of substance-free positive recreation opportunities and safe places
- An insufficient number and variety of employment options and supports
- Challenges in interpersonal relationships/social skills and self esteem, and
- Insufficient volunteer opportunities in the community.
The SAFE Coalition convened a small team to examine these issues further and to decide which course of action to take. After some consideration the team identified America’s Promise as an effective framework from which to address these issues. During that time Iowa was designated a State of Promise due to the work of a state-led interagency initiative designed to better align policies and programs for children and youth and to encourage collaboration. They in turn encourage communities to follow suit and become Communities of Promise. In 2005 Hamilton County applied and was honored by becoming the first community to be designated as a Community of Promise by the state.
How Power Up YOUth! got its name.
As part of our restructuring process the convening committee was asked to identify Community Champions. One known throughout the county was Pat Powers, a newscaster on the local radio station, KQWC. Pat has always promoted youth activities and community over the airwaves and has lent his resonating voice as Master of Ceremonies at many school events. In fact, when the kids were asked to choose a community champion for youth, Pat Powers was the overwhelming choice.
Our previous name –Webster City SAFE Coalition—was such a tame, uninspiring name. We knew we wanted something with a bit more punch and we began brainstorming with the community champions in the back of our minds. So it was in that natural flowing of one idea leading to another that someone suggested that we name the coalition after Pat Powers, our first acknowledged community champion. We leaped on the idea. However, we also wanted to acknowledge that one person is not enough to build a coalition, so we capitalized the letters YOU in youth to let everyone know that each of us is called to engage in helping our youth and ultimately our community.
Power Up YOUth
501 Bank Street, Suite 4
Webster City, IA 50595