- Community name: Meridian
- Community or city website
- Population: 75,092
- Graduation rate: 93.2%
- Youth poverty rate: 5.8%
The 2011 award marks the fourth time that Meridian has been named one of 100 Best Communities for Young People for its commitment to improving its graduation rate and making young people a priority. Meridian’s accomplishments include raising their graduation rate to 93 percent and creating programs to encourage their youth to live healthy lives. Among these programs are Backpacks for Kids, a program that provides low-income children with healthy weekend snacks and food every Friday, and Impact Coaching, a drug prevention program that teaches coaches to emphasize the effects of drugs on athletes. The Meridian Boys & Girls Club brings foster parents and children together for an annual educational picnic, and the Alternative Graduation Plan provides an alternative to the Idaho Standards Achievement Test for at-risk seniors to achieve the requirements necessary for graduation.
- The Mayor’s Youth Advisory Commission provides a forum for youth to discuss ideas, policies and programs with the mayor on a weekly basis.
- The Meridian Boys & Girls Club helps to provide free services, such as an educational picnic and free memberships to the YMCA, to children in foster care.
- The Backpack for Kids program sends over 150 backpacks filled with food home with low-income children every Friday to ensure they and their families don’t go hungry during the weekends and holidays.
Impact Coaching trains athletic directors and coaches to become certified mentors to provide curriculum on drug and alcohol prevention.