Alachua County, Florida

 

  • Community name: Alachua County
  • Community or city website  
  • Population: 247,336
  • Graduation rate: 76.4%
  • Youth poverty rate: 19.6% 

Overview

Alachua County, a two-time 100 Best winner, has been recognized nationally for its outstanding high schools and accessible library. For example, the Neighborhood Resource Center is a full service library and family resource center that serves low-income neighborhoods in Alachua County and has been recognized by Harvard University’s School of Government as one of the few Bright Idea programs.  

Alachua is also dedicated to supporting young people with additional challenges. Its Independent Living Program devotes resources to assisting teens transitioning out of the foster care system so they can become self-sufficient while its Aquabilities program offers adapted aquatics lessons and activities for youth with developmental and physical disabilities. Health is another top priority in Alachua County—the CHOICES County Health Educators program focuses on education about preventable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity, through an exercise and education series for at-risk youth. CHOICES also sponsors a weekly summer program for youth that targets nutrition, physical activity and tobacco use. 

Community Programs

  • Using the UF Family Data Center, leaders in Alachua County provide resources for dealing with high crime neighborhoods by creating  resource centers and a Health Department clinic.
  • The Independent Living Program helps teens in the foster care program become self-sufficient and also provides employment opportunities or post-secondary education for students with disabilities.
  • Casey Family Programs and Alachua County work together to provide, improve and prevent the need for foster care.
  • The Library Partnership, a program conceived with funding and planning from Casey Family Programs and recognized as a Bright Idea program by Harvard University’s School of Government, is a Family Resource Center and a full-service library that serves a low-income neighborhood. .
  • CHOICES County Health Educators , a group that focuses on preventable diseases, conducts an exercise and education series for at-risk youth and holds a weekly summer program targeting nutrition, physical activity and tobacco use. 

Youth Voices

My uncle always told me about the Reichert House—I decided to stay in the program because I knew for a fact that I could have 10 fatherly figures that could keep my head up, and also keep me out of trouble. After about a year I became and still am a Leader at Reichert House and I love it. I have went from a D and F student to an A, B,C+ student and I give my thanks to the Reichert House.

—Isiah

I loved going to the Club when I was young. Through those opportunities my leadership ability and potential began to become evident. Then my father, who was also my best friend, died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 54. This left a huge void in my life and I reached out to the Club to fill the void. The Club opened their arms to me and my family and our relationship hit a new level.

—Austin