Sarasota County, Florida
- Community name: Sarasota County
- Website: https://www.scgov.net/
- Population: 379,874
- Graduation rate: 66.2%
- Youth poverty rate: 22.0%
An emphasis on education and youth safety are key factors in Sarasota County being honored as a 100 Best community winner for a second time. Sarasota has made education a top priority with programs like the Early Learning Coalition and Literacy Empowers All Families. The Early Learning Coalition integrates leadership and community resources to promote high-quality early education and family support by allocating resources to the school system and implementing programs for childhood development and readiness. Child safety is supported by organizations such as the Safe Children Coalition, which provides abused, neglected or abandoned children with access to child welfare services including case management, independent living and adoption. To address youth poverty, the Schoolhouse Link program ensures that homeless youth are able to enroll in school and have access to a quality education. For lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people, ALSO Out Youth provides services to ensure that they have access to safe places and mentoring support from adults to enhance their self-esteem.
- The Early Learning Coalition integrates leadership and community resources to promote high-quality early education and family support by administering resources to the school system and implementing programs for childhood development and readiness.
- TheLookUp941.org is a local website that allows all stakeholders and residents to access information about available services for young people.
- ALSO Out Youth has provided services to LGBTQ youth ensuring safe spaces and supportive adults to enhance self-esteem.
- The Schoolhouse Link program ensures that homeless youth are able to enroll in school and have access to education.
- Literacy Empowers All Families is a community-wide initiative funded by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County to address early literacy from preschool to middle school.
“I am very grateful for the opportunities that Sarasota has given me, whether it was service hours, a job, a lesson in history, or my future career plans. Sarasota has always been there to help and I am proud to call it my home town.”
“Sarasota County’s programs have enabled me to continue to do what I enjoy and work towards scholarships for college in the future.”—Erik