The League of California Cities has selected the city of Monrovia as a 2013 Helen Putnam Award winner. The 2013 award winners were honored during the Opening General Session of the League’s Annual Conference & Expo at the Sacramento Convention Center held Sept. 18 – 20.
Monrovia won the Ruth Vreeland Award for Engaging Youth in City Government for the city’s Youth Employment Service (YES) program to provide job training, mentoring and internship opportunities to Monrovia-at risk youth.
Now in its sixth year, YES has successfully graduated over 135 at-risk kids. The program provides mentoring and intervention features geared toward high school students, specifically those who have failing grades, unstable home lives, a police record or simply bad attitudes. Launched in 2007, the program is designed to address the community’s need to improve the quality of life and opportunities for local youth in response to gang violence in some areas of the city.
Studies indicated that the relative effectiveness of combating gang activity was to place 70 percent of its efforts on prevention and intervention, and 30 percent on suppression. In Monrovia, the allocation of resources was reverse: 80 percent was being spent on suppression, while only 20 percent was being spent on prevention and intervention. At the time there were fewer job opportunities for the city’s youth and funding for internships. YES was started to address these issues by partnering with the Santa Anita Family YMCA, Monrovia Unified School District and the Monrovia Chamber of Commerce.
“We are honored to receive the Helen Putnam award and are very proud of the YES program’s success. Of those youth who have graduated, we’ve seen grade point averages increase by 14%, absenteeism decrease by 200% and tardiness decrease by 145%,” said Mayor Mary Ann Lutz. “Many of these youth have focused their energies back into the community, which makes the YES program even more rewarding.”
Established in 1982, the Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program recognizes outstanding cities that deliver the highest quality and level of service in the most effective manner possible. Monrovia was one of 13 cities out of 149 applicants throughout California to receive this coveted award.
Particular attention and credit is given to applications specifically advancing the League’s strategic priorities (www.cacities.org/priorities), which are determined each year by the board of directors.
The award is given annually in 12 categories: CCS Partnership Intergovernmental Collaboration Award; Community Services and Economic Development; Economic Development through the Arts; Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics, and Community Involvement; Health and Wellness Programs; Housing Programs and Innovations; Internal Administration; Planning and Environmental Quality; Public Safety; Public Works, Infrastructure and Transportation; the Ruth Vreeland Award for Engaging Youth in City Government; and the League Partners Award for Excellence in City-Business Relations.