Surry County, Virginia
- Community name: Surry County
- Community or city website
- Population: 7,128
- Graduation rate: 90.0%
- Youth poverty rate: 17.2%
Graduating 90 percent of its student body, Surry County is dedicated to preparing students both inside and outside the classroom. Advancing Youth Development and the Community Builders Network have afforded young people the opportunity to learn valuable lessons about health and happiness from their mentors. Since 2007, the Precious Jewels program has given more than 60 middle school girls the chance to learn social graces from mentors. Similarly, the Beyond the High School Years program teaches young people skills ranging from table and phone etiquette to completing job applications and writing thank you notes in an effort to prepare them for their post-academic future. In a unanimous vote, Surry County Board of Supervisors implemented a rigorous curriculum to unite members of the county under one shared vision, allowing for a focused and nurturing environment for children. This is Surry County's second 100 Best win.
- Orchestrated under the Board of Supervisors, Advancing Youth Development curriculum is a plan to prioritize youth by joining various groups in the community together under one shared vision. Community Builders Network was organized by the Community Service Board as a coalition to provide youth/adult partnerships to keep young people healthy and drug free. It has sponsored 5 youth-focused events, including Community Awareness Block party, Youth Dance, and Youth Forum.
- The Precious Jewels program has mentored more than 60 middle school girls ages 10 to 14 since 2007, teaching them to view themselves and each other positively by focusing on health, nutrition and self-respect.
- Surry County's Proud Fathers Group organized more than 50 programs in the last 8 years to get fathers involved in the lives of their children. They also have mentored youth who may not have adequate, positive male role models in their lives.
In school, I participated in the SAGE Dual Enrollment Program and Upward Bound which are two programs that helped to prepare me for my future college life. Because of these programs, I feel more confident and prepared to become an adult.
In upcoming weeks, I will be graduating as the Valedictorian of my class. As I write this, tears come to my eyes as I think about why I love Surry County so much. Our school system has offered me many opportunities and has provided several of the best teachers to help me to maintain all As throughout my education.