Durham, North Carolina



Durham, a three-time 100 Best winner, is a diverse community that provides its young people with the support and resources they need. Durham makes its most at-risk youth a priority with The East Durham Children’s Initiative, which provides a holistic support system and resources for poverty-stricken children and families in Durham. Youth can get also get involved in helping the less fortunate through programs like the Durham Youth Commission. This program uses high school volunteers to fill and deliver backpacks of food for less-fortunate community members. Durham also ensures its youth grow up healthy and have access to medical services with Durham’s Partnership for Children. Local high school sophomores can also participate in Junior Leadership Durham to gain a fundamental understanding of the politics and workings of Durham.

Community Programs

  • The Durham Youth Commission is made up of 30 members from each Durham high school that participate in activities including working with the Interfaith Food Shuttle, filling backpacks with food for children and picking up litter in Durham neighborhoods.
  • The East Durham Children’s Initiative provides a holistic support system and resources for children and families within a 120 block, poverty-stricken area in Durham.
  • Durham’s Partnership for Children , serves youth by spearheading multiple initiatives which have worked to expand health services and improve systems for young children.
  • Through collaboration with Durham Public Schools, a comprehensive Transition to Kindergarten Plan was developed. This partnership resulted in further analysis of the Kindergarten Health Assessment forms in order to evaluate the health status of children as they enter kindergarten.
  • To help 11th grade students focus on the 300 most missed words on the SAT, a unique partnership with the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce and Urban Planet Mobile is helping local students by texting them a Word of the Day including an audio link to definitions Sunday through Thursday nights.

Youth Voices

As a child, I always had big dreams but I was scared that I would never be able to attain them.  Now I say, ‘I will change the world.’


Opportunities focused on the success of our young people like Scouting, Girls/Boy Club, libraries, organized sports, one of the best hands-on science museums and so much more are all available in our Durham community.