Burbank, California

A previous winner of the 100 Best Communities, Burbank provides a wide variety of quality opportunities for youth of all ages and a support system throughout the community. All sectors are committed to create innovative programs for youth and families; empower youth and parents to be prepared, resourceful, and engaged leaders; and help sustain the success of overall efforts through current and future investments.

Five percent of the City’s annual budget is appropriated to youth services. Burbank City Council created funding mechanisms to support programs as recommended through youth surveys, summits, and the Burbank Youth Task Force (BYTF). Mechanisms include a Youth Services account that for the past eight years has provided a total of $1,760,114 to BYTF-recommended programs, which connected youth, service providers, and elected officials to ensure that needs are addressed in policy decisions. A 22-member Youth Board serves as a liaison to City Boards and Commissions such as the Youth and Sustainable Burbank Task Forces.

Burbank has created award-winning partnerships like the Youth Employment Program (YEP). YEP supports workforce preparedness and on the job training for youth through Burbank Employment and Student Training (BEST), providing paid on the job training for youth aged 16-21. Students are individually placed in private and nonprofit worksites that match career goals and skill sets. It is a collaborative program led by the City, School District, Chamber of Commerce, Burbank Business Partners (BBP), and the Burbank City Federal Credit Union (BCFCU).

Burbank creates platforms that engage adults and youth during school hours as well as out–of-school opportunities such as Job Shadow Days and Career Days. In addition, the Senior Artist’s Colony and Community Day students developed a mentor program to bridge the gap between senior citizens and youth through art projects. Warner Brothers Pictures partnered with the Young Storytellers Foundation in a mentoring program that focuses on drafting screenplays on cultural heritage, and Cartoon Network started a Reading Buddies Program at an elementary school that now includes youth-adult mural projects, drawing classes, and an innovative outdoor classroom and garden project.

The mayor’s 2007 theme of a "Healthy Community" continued with an ordinance prohibiting smoking in public places and Urban Environmental Accords that secure long-term community health. BUSD’s Safety & Wellness Policy and Community Committee monitors foods on campuses and supports healthy options. School-based youth counseling programs provide psychological support to thousands. The YMCA’s Prevention & Wellness Campaign educates families on nutrition and exercise through programs like "Healthy Family Home," "Food & Fun", and Healthy Kids Day. Youth Fitness Center participation for ages 8-14 is encouraged while fitness programs incorporate video games and interactive machines to keep children moving. The City implements family exercise classes like boot-camp and sports programs that attract over 4,000 youth annually. The Kids’ Community Dental Clinic ensures that low-income children receive high quality dental services.