West metro neighbors St. Louis Park and Edina made the fourth annual list of "100 Best Communities for Young People," released by a national group striving to lower high school dropout rates.

Three other Minnesota communities -- Landfall, Mankato/North Mankato and Northfield -- made the list, released by America's Promise Alliance. St. Louis Park has made the list all four times.


"Whenever we get it, I think people in the community say, 'That's great, now what do we do to prove we deserve it?'" said Karen Atkinson of Children First, a nonprofit child advocacy group in St. Louis Park. "You constantly take stock now."

In Edina, this is the second time the community has applied and its first time on the list.

"We're in some pretty good company," interim city manager Heather Worthington said.


More than 350 communities from across the country applied for the award. Those that made the list showed a commitment to ensure that young people stay in school and are prepared for college and the workforce. Winners each receive $1,000 to host a celebration for the award.


St. Louis Park was recognized for three programs: Building Assets -- Reducing Risk, which helps ninth-grade students make the transition to high school; Admission Possible, which helps promising low-income students obtain admission to college, and "No Shots, No School," which helps students start school with up-to-date immunizations.

In Edina, the award recognizes the community's "Connecting With Kids," an initiative that focuses on developing healthy kids and teens, as well as high graduation rates and number of Advanced Placement classes.

Kelly Smith • 612-673-4141