Friday, January 25, 2008

County Ranks Among Nation's Best For Young People

County Ranks Among Nation's Best For Young People
By Barry Eberling | DAILY REPUBLIC | January 24, 2008

FAIRFIELD - For the third year in a row, Solano County is among the top 100 communities in the nation for young people, a national group has decided.

County Public Defender Jeffrey Thoma was in Washington, D.C., Thursday to receive the award. It was presented by America's Promise Alliance at the President's Club.

'I think it's a remarkable achievement,' Thoma said in a telephone interview. 'America's Promise has had this only three years and Solano County is one of handful of jurisdictions that has won it all three years.'

Thoma wrote the application for the award. Among the items the county highlighted were:

- Ninety-six percent of children are insured.

- First 5 Solano Children and Families Commission coordinates and supports such collaborative efforts as BabyFirstSolano, which educates pregnant women about being drug- and alcohol-free.

- Thoma's office educates middle school students on the dangers of methamphetamines.

- Community organizations and city teams work together to educate youth about the dangers of tobacco, drug abuse and alcohol abuse.

Thoma talked about efforts by the county, cities, schools and various private organizations. For example, he said, the schools are dedicated to addressing truancy and ensuring students graduate.

'In and of itself, I think it speaks highly of Solano County,' Thoma said. 'Every day we work very closely together ... it's a cooperative effort to engage the children of our communities and give them alternatives to being at risk.'

Solano County's name appeared with the other 100 communities during a segment on NBC's 'Today Show,' he said.

The county is one of seven California communities to receive the honor and the only one in the Bay Area. Sacramento County also made the list.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell founded America's Promise Alliance. The five promises are caring adults, a safe place, a healthy start, effective education and opportunities to help each other.

The alliance advocates partnerships among corporations, nonprofit groups, foundations, policy-makers, advocacy and faith groups. More than 300 communities applied for the 100 best community honors this year.

Solano County 'is proud that our steadfast commitment to our youth has earned such esteemed national recognition for three consecutive years,' county Board of Supervisors Chairman John Silva stated in a press release.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646, Ext. 232, or at

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