1998 CITY LIVABILITY AWARD WINNERS
Outstanding Achievement Award
Albany: Mayor Gerald D. Jennings
Two years ago, the City of Albany saw the need for a comprehensive program that would supply the children of today with the opportunity to develop the life skills needed to become successful adults. The result was the creation of Kid Improvement Districts (KIDs), a youth oriented inner-city redevelopment and anti-crime initiative. KIDs is a multi-faceted program that incorporates youth sports, job creation, crime and drug prevention, life-skills training, and urban land reclamation.
Rather than working separately, local organizations, volunteers, schools and City departments are now united in efforts to improve living conditions in Albany's inner-city neighborhoods. Public housing residents receive job training and serve as program volunteers. An historic nature preserve was restored and is now a scientific-nature learning center for area youth. Children are benefiting from after school sports and educational programs and are being taught life skills by volunteer coaches and mentors. Hospitals have been enlisted to provide free clinics within schools in the target neighborhoods so that every child can be guaranteed access to health care.
As a result, children are benefiting from expanded services, mentoring relationships and safe havens to learn and grow; neighborhoods are being enriched and revitalized; drug and other criminal activity are being reduced; and low-income and public housing residents are being given the opportunity to gain employment and job training in exciting, community-based projects. All of these investments are important parts of any healthy and thriving community and show children that opportunities exist for them and that the community cares for their needs, interests and futures. KIDs have truly succeeded in triggering a wave of volunteerism and civic involvement for the benefit of children in the City's most at need neighborhoods, repairing the neglect of the past while providing hope for the future.