Tuscaloosa County, Alabama
- Community name: Tuscaloosa County
- Community or city website
- Population: 178,754
- Graduation rate: 81.5%
- Youth poverty rate: 22.5%
Dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth through joint community efforts, Tuscaloosa County has been named one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People for the second time. By utilizing the resources and talents of the private and public sectors, Tuscaloosa implemented Forerunners, a leadership development experience with 700 youth participants that stimulate interest in community issues and encourage team approaches to problem solving. Adopt-A-School and The Community Solution Network allow businesses the opportunity to adopt schools and facilitate personal interaction between students and adult role models. With a focus on successful secondary school completion, the Director of Graduation Success and Dropout Prevention have created teams to address the unique concerns of individual school systems in an effort to better ensure academic success. Project BETHEL also works with students who have been removed from school due to disciplinary action and provides them with educational services, preparing them to eventually re-enroll in the school system.
Due to in large part of these efforts, Tuscaloosa County now graduates 81.5 percent of students.
- The Alabama Business Leaders' Summit on Early Childhood Investment , organized by the Alabama Partnership for Children and local Tuscaloosa agencies are focused to educate the business community on the importance of early childhood health and education.
- Forerunners , a year-long leadership development experience for 11th graders, holds sessions to stimulate youth interest in community issues, encourage team approaches to community problem-solving and provide young people with the opportunity to interact with diverse participants.
- Following Adopt-A-School's lead, The Community Solution Network was formed as an umbrella organization to prevent dropout by using the resources and talents of the business community to enrich schools. Since 1993, employers have adopted 56 schools.
- Director of Graduation Success and Dropout Prevention works with teams in local elementary, middle and high schools to assess individual student needs with a focus on unique social, behavioral and academic factors.
- Project BETHEL works with students who have been removed from school due to disciplinary action and provides them with educational services, preparing them to eventually re-enroll in the school system.
When the devastating storms hit our city, I was able to see the spirit of organizations come to life. I saw our youth going door to door, asking traumatized victims of the storm if they needed assistance restoring their lives. Our youth was there for their fellow citizens, not asking to help, but begging to help. As I walked through the ruins, young people were on every corner.
This town just experienced one of the worst tornadoes in America’s history, but the community rose up to volunteer and support those who were devastated. In a matter of hours, our school became a relief center with teachers, students and community friends volunteering to help those who had nothing after the storm. I do not believe another city in America could have survived this tragedy as well as Tuscaloosa did.