Children and Families are a City’s Most Valuable Resources

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NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute) grew out of the belief that to thrive, cities need strong leaders who make the education, safety and health of the families and children in their communities a citywide priority.

At this year’s Congress of Cities in Nashville, the YEF Institute celebrated its 15th anniversary with a special, interactive session, Completing the Puzzle for Children and Families, and a video (above) highlighting our work to help local leaders improve the lives of kids and families in their communities.

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Tameika Isaac Devine, councilmember, Columbia, S.C., (center) leads a discussion on “assembling the pieces” to create better communities for children and families. (Alyia Gaskins)

In other Congress of Cities news, we had over 200 youth delegates from cities across the country participate in the conference. The youth delegates had a fantastic program that included a mock Iowa caucus and a singer-songwriter showcase and party at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. In addition, the youth delegates had the opportunity to meet and share ideas with local officials throughout the conference and at a special event at Vanderbilt University. Read more about their adventures in Nashville.

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Leadership of NLC’s YEF Council pose for a photo. From left, Vice-Chair Ken Shetter, mayor, Burleson, Texas; Co-chair Kristin Szakos, city councilor, Charlottesville, Va.; Clifford Johnson, executive director, NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families; Co-chair Bill Peduto, mayor, Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Vice Chair Joyce Sutton Cameron, mayor, Trotwood, Ohio.

NLC’s Youth, Education, and Familes (YEF) Council, co-chaired by Bill Peduto, mayor, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Kristin Szakos, city councilor, Charlottesville, Virginia, convened at the conference and discussed the YEF Institute’s upcoming “education playbook,” which will be a resource for local leaders in small and large cities looking to implement next steps for improving educational outcomes.

And at a celebratory event for Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties, we honored 36 cities and counties and five city leaders for their leadership and commitment to preventing childhood obesity and improving community health.

Emily PickrenAbout the Author: Emily Pickren is the Principal Associate for Communications in NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families. Follow Emily on Twitter at @emilypickren.