Rock Hill, South Carolina
As a four-time 100 Best winner, Rock Hill has shown its continued dedication to supporting its young people through a variety of programs that offer cultural, educational and service opportunities. The Commission for Children and Youth implemented an awareness campaign called “The #1 Question: Is It Good for the Children?” to encourage the community to make youth wellness a priority. Additionally, Rock Hill supports the development of healthy eating habits through its Back the Pack program which identifies and provides food to undernourished students, solely funded by private donations from community members. Rock Hill is committed to ensuring all students graduate high school with its Dropout Prevention Committee, a group of local leaders including the Mayor and representatives from the school district, community and social service agencies. Since the Committee’s formation in 2008, the dropout rate has continued to decrease in Rock Hill.
- Rock Hill’s Commission for Children and Youth created an awareness campaign called “The #1 Question: Is It Good For the Children?” to focus on centering the community around the primary focus of making the best decisions to support youth.
- The Youth Council awards grants of up to $500 for youth-let organizations that have a positive impact on the community; in 2009-2010, the Youth Council awarded nine grants totaling $4,550.
- The Dropout Prevention Committee hosted a community dropout summit to produce strategies in response to the issue of student dropouts and to increase the already high 73.1 percent graduation rate.
Back the Pack is an initiative that identifies undernourished students and provides nutritious foods on weekends when school lunches aren’t available; this program is operated at the Applied Technology Center out of the Materials & Handling class, which packages the food.
The Phoenix Academy is an alternative program that offers both online courses and classes at an off-campus location to help high school students learn in a different environment.
The Renaissance Academy is another alternative program for high school students who have been expelled or are at risk for expulsion which focuses on community service and a bond between school resource officers and students.
The adults of our community realize that the best way to fully engage youth is through building a healthy start for them through education. Many of our area schools have developed programs that give the youth opportunities to help others. Even for adolescents, the city gives us so many opportunities to be involved- especially by volunteering our services in different public locations.
There are people like Patti Panetti, who works with the members of the Rock Hill Youth Council, to help develop leadership skills and promote community service, and Michelle Simpson, the Aquatics Director at the YMCA, that I have learned about pool maintenance, coaching and much more.