Boise, Idaho

A three-time 100 Best designee, Boise, ID is a city that offers a plethora of services catered to youth. The City has opened three branch libraries and launched a mobile recreation van program delivering youth services in low-income neighborhoods. Voters approved a $94 million bond that funded construction of three school-based community centers and an alternative high school preventing 500 youth at risk from dropping out. Private partnerships further leverage tax dollars. This year, the YMCA has raised over $700,000 for after-school programs. The J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation invested over $700,000 in a campaign urging youth to "Go On" with education and training beyond high school.

To date, the city has allocated more than $50,000 in support of major initiatives launched by the Mayor’s Council on Children and Youth, including the development of the After3 website, marketing, materials and professional services.

Since 1998, the City of Boise has appointed youth ages 15-18 to serve on City Boards and Commissions. Teens launched the Youth Police Relations Task Force. Youth members have influenced how the police department hires and places School Resource Officers. The Children’s Home Society of Idaho has been serving children in the Boise area since 1908, first as an orphanage and more recently providing affordable mental health services. In 2004, the Children’s Home Society partnered with the Junior League to create The Bridge, focusing on improving the way children enter the foster care system. The Charitable Assistance To Community’s Homeless (CATCH) is an award-winning program sponsored by the City of Boise, the United Way of Treasure Valley, 15 faith-based congregations and local businesses. CATCH assists homeless families by providing housing and social services. CATCH was founded in 2006, and is currently serving 101 families with 197 children.

Boise is a city built on partnerships. The voters showed their support for a unique collaboration between the City of Boise and the Boise School District by passing a $94 million bond. Funds helped build three elementary schools featuring community centers with free after-school drop-in programs. These facilities also include kitchens for the preparation of healthy meals and the delivery of nutrition education. Operated by the City of Boise’s Parks & Recreation Department, and maintained by the school district, these centers provide a cost-effective means to put services directly into neighborhoods. The city also contributes to the Treasure Valley Math and Science Center (TVMSC), a Boise School District magnet school for secondary students. TVMSC offers highly challenging science, mathematics and applied research classes to students who show strong interest, ability and potential in these areas.

In 2007, the Mayor's Council on Children and Youth used census data and GIS technology for a gap analysis of after-school programs in the community. To help meet the needs of underserved areas, the city launched a Mobile Recreation Van that enables staff and volunteers to provide free neighborhood-based recreational activities, art instruction and healthy snacks. In 2009, the van had 37,504 visits from youth at Title I schools and parks. Boise Parks & Recreation also operates free after-school programs at three school-based community centers as well as neighborhood centers at low-income apartment complexes. Since 2008, the centers have had 85,523 visits.