Program Excellence Award for Collaborative Children and Youth Initiatives: Populations of 20,000 and Under

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Populations of 20,000 and Under

ICMA's Program Excellence Award for Collaborative Children and Youth Initiatives recognizes collaborative efforts between and among local units of government, schools, community groups, and citizens that promote children and youth as our future's most valuable resource, while fostering creative approaches toward improving the lives and quality of service delivered to children and at-risk youth. This year, ICMA presents the award in the 20,000-and-under population category to the town of Southern Pines, North Carolina, and to Town Manager Kyle R. Sonnenberg.

Recognizing the ongoing needs of at-risk children and youth in the community of Southern Pines, North Carolina, Town Manager Kyle Sonnenberg has guided the local government to initiate an array of collaborative youth efforts. As a result, the community's 9,600 residents can take advantage of programs designed to meet the diversified needs of local youth.

Since 1989, Southern Pines has implemented more than 10 programs that involve the local government and private and public organizations. Together with the Kiwanis Club, the town launched its first Head Start program. Through a fundraising effort that raised over $100,000, the town constructed a brand new Head Start facility, which serves 40 local children, on a site donated by the community. Currently, the town and surrounding neighborhood are developing the remainder of the site as a neighborhood park.

The Southern Pines Police Department initiated the county's first DARE (drug abuse resistance education) program. Although DARE does not cover its personnel costs, private sector contributions offset the cost of supplies, assuring program success despite limited town resources. …