Back in 1997 - our country`s President and former Presidents met at a conference called the "President`s Summit for America's Future".
One of the goals of this meeting was to make our nation's youth a national priority. With the help and sponsorship of - a global financial institution - a new national partnership was formed.
"America's Promise Alliance" is made up of over 400 national businesses, educators, and policymakers - their goal is to improve the lives of our country's children and youth.
Each year, the Promise Alliance accepts hundreds of applications from communities across the land, in all 50 states, to be considered as "one of the best" places to live in America.
Dedham Town Administrator, , brought this competition to the attention of the Dedham Youth Commission's .
With the help of fellow Youth Commission members Greg Cabral and Angela Osei-Mensah, Blaney worked on and submitted a rigorous application - explaining to the board all of Dedham's programs, services and policies.
After months of consideration, Blaney was notified that our town - Dedham - had been selected as a finalist and placed on the Alliance`s list of "100 Best Communities for Young People in America."
The contest was broadcasted live from Washington, DC, with the winners from each state receiving national recognition, a plaque, and a $2,500 grant.
With his team in place - joined by Dedham Middle School Principal Debra Gately and her "college bound" students, DHS Principal Ron McCarthy, former DYC director Tom Clinton, Town Administrator William Keegan, Joan Jolley from the council of Dedham High School/Legacy Place, and a host of media folks - the group gathered at the Dedham Middle School to watch the "live" broadcast.
As they broke the country down by location, everyone sat anxiously, waiting for the Northeast winners to be announced. You could see the anticipation build as they read the winning communities, state by state.
When they came to Massachusetts, the room was silent - that is until the announcer looked at his list and said "Dedham."
The room erupted in cheers, high-fives, and pats on the back. Now the rest of the country knows what we had, for a long time. Dedham is one of the best places to live........