Aberdeen, South Dakota


  • Community name:  Aberdeen
  • Community or city website
  • Population:  26,091
  • Graduation rate:  93.4%
  • Youth poverty rate: 12.6%


Even with a 93.4 percent graduation rate, Aberdeen continues to tackle issues concerning young people in the community, such as affordable day care and youth mentoring programs. Aberdeen’s local United Way chapter dedicates nearly half of its budget to youth programs while the city budget supports a variety of youth initiatives from arts to recreation and education. Different sectors are working together in the community to bring more resources to young people including the Boys & Girls Club of Aberdeen, which is working with the Aberdeen Family YMCA to raise funds for programs to further enrich the lives of young people. Its 2011 recognition marks the second win for Aberdeen in the competition.

Community Programs

  • In the BIG Idea Competition, high school students compete for scholarships and cash prizes by submitting a 1,075-word description of a business idea, allowing students to explore opportunities close to home with community support.
  • Ag in the Classroom program, facilitated by the Aberdeen school district, helps inform children about agriculture, a major industry in SD.
  • Annual National Night Out event invites neighborhoods throughout Aberdeen to join forces with 15,000 communities worldwide for crime and drug prevention event, and has proven to be an effective, inexpensive, and enjoyable program to promote community and police partnerships in the fight for a safer community and nation.
  • Sidekicks  provides Foster Grandparents that help teach children to read through one-on-one tutoring. These caring adult mentors serve as guides for Aberdeen's youth at a critical time in their lives so they may realize their potential.
  • The Fallout Creative Community was established in the fall of 2010. They seek youth who have been isolated from creative opportunities due to physical, social, mental, financial or other circumstances. The organization collects information from people for membership to match people with limitations with individuals and groups for creative experiences.
  • Children and Adolescence Systems Services Program works to bring dental care and dental hygiene education to children through a free dental van.
  • Discover Your Child At Home program provides parenting and developmental information training in the home setting to families with children 0-6.
  • The YMCA Learning Tree offers childcare for full and part time children between four weeks of age through first grade. Children that have entered into the foster care system, who need a safe and stable environment, are also placed in their care.

Youth Voices

In the spring, summer, and fall a wonderful organization begins, SPURS, which helps the disabled. Children and adults come to this organization to experience a therapeutic hour of horseback riding. I love this organization because for me it is a release, a sanctuary for the stress of a teenage day.


My Destination Imagination Team, Ray of H.O.P.E., (H.O.P.E. stands for Helping Our Peers Effectively), needed to find a community need. There was an article about the homeless kids in our school system. The team thought that we should help these people.