Sylacauga has done it again
by LINDSEY HOLLAND
Sep 28, 2011 | 2340 views |  1 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SYLACAUGA — The city has been named one of the nation’s 100 best communities for young people for the fifth year in a row. America’s Promise Alliance names the “100 Best Communities for Young People” annually.

Communities committed to its young people are encouraged to apply. The award recognizes cities and towns that are actively working together to improve the well being of their youth through educational and support services. The award also recognizes those towns that are helping to end the nation’s drop out crisis.

Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enhancement offers a number of outreach programs for those in the Sylacauga community. In August it held its annual school supply distribution day, providing more than 500 of the area’s students with needed items before the start of school. Also, Sylacauga’s Promise Committee promises caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, effective education and opportunities to help others to area children. SAFE sponsors programs such as BRIDGES and HIPPY, both educational programs that promote quality of life.

Instead of hosting a national celebration in Washington, D.C., as in previous years, this year a grant of $2,500 will be given to every community that is named one of the 100 Best. The $2,500 can be used to help fund a local program or service, within certain parameters, or be used for a local event to celebrate the win.

Margaret Morton, executive director of SAFE, said they have decided to host “Slya-bration 2012” in honor of the designation. The event will be held Saturday, April 28, 2012, at Legion Field. The event will be a concert with food vendors and activities for children.

“There has been a lot of interest in creating a mechanism for continuing our outreach across the state for tornado relief and to develop within our own community a rapid response,” Morton said. “The opportunity has come for us to celebrate not only 100 Best but for us to raise some funds for these relief efforts as well. This 100 Best Syla-bration would be uniquely profiled trough tornado relief. We can take this $2,500 and apply it to budget for the Syla-bration 2012.”

Bryan Taunton is helping plan the event.

“We hope that it will continue each consecutive year,” he said. “Syla-bration meaning that it’s simply a time to celebrate our community.”

Taunton said 70 percent of the proceeds from the event will go toward tornado relief across the state. Those impacted by April’s tornadoes will be able to apply through their individual family resource centers after which three applications will be chosen to receive the funds.

“Twenty percent of what we take in will go towards the creation of our local disaster relief effort,” Taunton said. “Should we ever face a similar situation I think we’re all in agreement that we’re not really prepared to give an adequate response. The remaining 10 percent will go to local needs in our community.”

Big Daddy Weave, a contemporary Christian band, has already confirmed their attendance. Taunton said he is in negotiations with other headliner bands as well.

“It’s going to be a very family friendly event,” he said. “Our goal is to see 15,000 to 20,000 people out there that day. With the long-term direction of this, we want to channel as much back out in the community as we can. This just happens to be a year where there’s a substantial amount of need outside our community. In 2013 we may be focusing more on local efforts again.”

Contact Lindsey Holland at lholland@dailyhome.com.