City of Charlotte Named All-America City for Its Youth Programs

Published on June 15, 2023

2023 All-America City Team

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (June 15, 2023) – Charlotte has been named a 2023 All-America City by the National Civic League for its work focused on youth engagement and development. This prestigious award has recognized and celebrated the best in American civic innovation since 1949.

“I am pleased that Charlotte has been recognized for our years of hard work to provide new opportunities for young people,” said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. “Charlotte has shown the power of involving our youth, and all residents, in identifying and addressing community challenges.”

The City of Charlotte was among 20 finalist cities that competed in Denver, Colorado, for the award. Each finalist presented the story of their work to a jury of nationally recognized civic leaders. The city’s team had representatives from the City Manager’s Office, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD), Community Relations, Mayor’s Youth Employment Program (MYEP), Jamie Kimble Foundation for Courage, Latin Americans Working for Achievement, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and seven youth leaders.

With a 2023 award theme of Creating Thriving Communities through Youth Engagement, the city is being recognized for its work through the following programs:

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Community Services Division

This division is taking an innovative approach to remove barriers that often lead to the inability of youth to have a connection or relationship with law enforcement. It includes the CMPD Youth Diversion program, which since its inception has decreased juvenile arrests by over 30 percent, with 90 percent of youth not reoffending, the REACH (Respect, Engage, Accountability, Character and Honesty) Academy and Youth Envision Academy. Through these programs, local youth are shifting how they engage with law enforcement and recognizing the positive impact of making good decisions.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations’ Community Affairs Division

This division develops, implements, and supports programs and initiatives that advance the department’s mission to empower, collaborate, engage and promote opportunities to create positive outcomes. Two core youth programs are the Peer Club Program and Peer Mediation Program. The goal is to give young people the platform to learn and express themselves in safe and open conversational-style sessions. Both programs provide youth with conflict resolution skills to navigate challenging situations and focus on building their communication skills, leadership skills and overall civic engagement. This year, over 250 youth have been engaged in their programs.

Mayor’s Youth Employment Program

This program provides high school students with work experiences that help them obtain the skills and training required for modern career readiness. It is the largest producer of paid summer internships in the Charlotte-Metro region, providing traditional, virtual and hybrid work experiences. Last year, 300+ youth worked over 45,000 hours, earning more than $524,000 as a cohort. In addition, more than 40 students were offered extended work experiences, including full-time positions. The MYEP has been recognized as a best practice nationally by Bloomberg and as a scalable, statewide innovation by the N.C. Department of Commerce. The city was last awarded the title of All-America City in 2018.   

About the National Civic League

The National Civic League advances inclusive civic engagement through our community assistance programs, including tools, trainings and facilitation services, our award and recognition programs, and nationally recognized research and publications. We promote efforts that seek to listen to, and to learn from residents in ongoing conversations and leverage those insights to help reshape communities so they will thrive.The All-America City Award is made possible through the support of Southwest Airlines – the official airline of the All-America City Award, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, CGI Digital, MissionSquare Retirement, the Colorado Health Foundation, and many others.