Lexington celebrated its renewed status as one of the best places in America for children and teens during a spirited celebration at the Lyric Theatre on Friday night.
For the sixth year in a row, Lexington has been named one of the 100 best communities for young people by America's Promise Alliance, the nation's largest organization dedicated to improving the lives of youth.
Lexington is one of 19 cities to have received the award six times, said Jordan LaPier, the organizer of the competition. More than 320 cities entered the competition this year.
LaPier said the award recognizes communities that provide "outstanding services to young people" in five critical areas: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, effective education, and opportunities to help others.
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The competition measures youth services provided by governments, businesses, community groups, schools and non-profits. The city's Partners for Youth agency tallies the organizations and submits the entries.
The recognition comes with a $2,500 award, which was presented by LaPier. Mayor Jim Gray gave LaPier a key to the city.
Several youth groups performed for nearly 600 people who turned out to watch the celebration. Performers included the Leestown Middle School string orchestra, the Gainesway Drummers, the Las Cuatras Paisitas Cumbialeras dance group, Educational Safehouse Performers, GIRLSPACE and the Black Diamond Step Team.