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Keeping Our Promise to Meridian’s Youth

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Hi, I'm Shelly Houston. I work in the Mayor's Office as the City's Community Programs Coordinator. I'd like to tell you a little bit about one of the most satisfying programs I help coordinate -- it's called Meridian's Promise.

Whether they tell you or not, kids and teens look up to adults and rely on them for modeling healthy behaviors. Therefore it is vital that as a community we send a message that we value and support young people in Meridian and are willing to invest in their success.

That’s what Meridian’s Promise is all about! Meridian’s Promise is an organization of caring local businesses, civic groups, churches, schools, non-profits, and individuals who are mobilizing our community to build the character and competence of Meridian’s children and youth by fulfilling the Five Promises of America’s Promise to Youth.

Founded after the Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future in 1997, America’s Promise is a collaborative network that builds upon the collective power of communities like Meridian to help fulfill the Five Promises it is believed every child needs and deserves in order to succeed.

Research shows that if the Five Promises to Youth are consistently fulfilled, they can significantly advance the health and well-being of our next generation. These Five Promises are:

1. Caring Adults
with which they have ongoing supportive relationships
2. Safe Places
with structured activities during non-school hours
3. A Healthy Start
and future
4. Marketable Skills
through effective education
5. Opportunities to Serve
through community service

These Five Promises contain the seeds for national and local movements capable of advancing the health and well-being of our next generation. Throughout the year, Meridian's Promise puts on or supports a variety of local events, each intended to help fulfill one or more of the Five Promises to Youth. These programs have included included Free Family Fishing Day, the Rigs & Gigs Career Exploration Fair, Old Town Community Clean-Up, the Meridian Classic Kids Fun Run, Kids Day America Health & Safety Fair, and others.     

But, we all must take responsibility and that is why we have “Promise Partners” who are members of Meridian’s Promise.  Becoming a “Promise Partner” is as an indication that you are family-friendly and support the success of Meridian’s youth.  As a member you’ll be presented with a plaque and little red wagon (the symbol of Meridian’s Promise) to proudly display. Best of all, it costs only $50 to join Meridian’s Promise and. With our future in the hands of Meridian’s children, can you afford not to?

If you or a business or group you belong to would like to help support family-focused events in Meridian throughout the year and becoming a “Promise Partner”, I'd be happy to pay you a quick visit to tell you more about Meridian's Promise, answer any questions you might have, explain it to your colleagues, and/or to fill out the easy application form. Simply call me at 489-0531or send an e-mail to shouston@meridiancity.org.

You can also find all of the information you’d need to get started by stopping by the Meridian Mayor’s Office on the third floor of Meridian City Hall, or you can access it online at http://www.meridiancity.org/meridians_promise.aspx?id=199.

I hope you will consider this exciting invitation to take part in Meridian’s Promise.  Together we can make Meridian a community where youngsters are accepted, connected and respected!