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City of Decatur named an All-America City award recipient

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City of Decatur named an All-America City award recipient

The city of Decatur was named a 2023 All-America City by the National Civic League. Photo courtesy of the city of Decatur.

Decatur, GA — The city of Decatur received the 2023 All-America City Award from the National Civic League. The city was one of 10 communities recognized for their work to engage all residents and improve the health and well-being of young people.

Decatur was recognized for its civic engagement efforts focusing on inclusivity and youth, Mayor Patti Garrett said.

The theme of this year’s award was “Creating Thriving Communities through Youth Engagement,” which has amplified Decatur’s community-driven plan to create and offer opportunities for high school-aged youth to participate in the city’s decision-making process and become effective leaders in shaping the future of the city, according to a press release.

The 2023 All-America City Award event was held in Denver. The Decatur delegation presented to a panel of judges and shared the various ways youth are engaged in the city, from their efforts to become a child-friendly city to improving the skate park at McKoy Park. The delegation was made up of the Decatur Youth Council, the Child Friendly Cities initiative teen leadership team, city staff and elected officials.

This is the second All-America City awarded to the city of Decatur. Decatur received its first award in 2018.

During the conference, the award recipients were announced in a random order, which Garrett said was nerve-wracking.

“As each city’s name was called, we anxiously awaited to see if Decatur was next,” Garrett said. “The first five cities, then the sixth city…Dallas. We were the seventh city’s name to be called. The entire delegation from Decatur jumped up in loud celebration and made our way to the stage. I was beaming with pride and was especially proud of the youth who told their story so effectively. Seeing their excitement and thrill is something I think we will always remember.”

She added that the competition was a learning experience, a networking opportunity, and a chance to hear insights and stories from cities of all sizes.

“Being named a finalist in and of itself is a tremendous achievement and source of civic pride,” Garrett said. “Youth from the Decatur Youth Council and the Leadership Team of the Child Friendly Cities Initiative participated in the presentation and provided the enthusiasm, confidence and even the story itself. One of the roundtable facilitators told me how engaged the youth from Decatur were in the process and the roundtable conversations, saying that they are proud of the city and are grateful for its engagement and opportunities, noting ‘but it could be better.’ We all came away with ideas on how to do just that; after all, our mantra for the week was ‘We Are Decatur!'”

The All-America City Award recognizes communities in using inclusive civic engagement to address issues and create stronger connections among residents, businesses, and nonprofit and government leaders, the press release says.

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