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Page last updated on December 10, 2018 at 3:15 pm

Thank you Isadore (Member, Commission on the Status of Children and Youth and Beverly’s son), and welcome everyone!  

Thank you to all the members of the Commission on the Status of Children and Youth.  You are doing wonderful, noble work. Someone once said, and I heartily agree that “Nothing you do for children is ever wasted.”  I would also like to thank Beverly Calender-Anderson and the staff of the Community and Family Resources Department for everything you do on behalf of our Bloomington families.  

And before I congratulate the young people being honored tonight, I want to extend a special recognition to the parents. Parenting is the hardest job you’ll ever have, but it’s nights like tonight that remind you that it is also the most rewarding. Parents, you are to be commended for the work you are doing, day in, day out, to build up these outstanding young people of integrity.  On behalf of all of us, thank you for raising the leaders of tomorrow.

And of course we’ve known this for a long time, but it’s nice to know that folks around the country are becoming aware of what a special, nurturing community Bloomington is--only last month did Livability-dot-com name Bloomington the fifth-best place in the country to raise a family.  We know that we are really first, but we are humble enough not to insist on that point!

This national recognition is a tribute to the work of the CFRD and the Commission on the Status of Children and Youth, to make sure our families have what you need to thrive.  Bloomington is a place where we put families first, where we prioritize safety, and quality of life, education and health, social justice and cultural diversity, and all of the elements that support strong, smart, kind human beings.

Being here tonight is a tremendous honor and a great delight.  There is maybe no greater privilege than to get to salute the young people of our community, for work you are doing that goes beyond yourself and your own needs -- work that shows generosity, growth, and respect.  Not every young person has the courage to stand up for what you believe, or the maturity to think about the way your actions affect other people (and not every grownup does either!) You are exceptional, and that’s why you are being distinguished with these awards.  And you are also role models for your peers, setting standards for what it means to be part of a community.

During this last year, we’ve seen plenty of example setting from the young people in our community, and your counterparts around the country.  From the courthouse square to Capitol Hill, you and your peers have made sure your voices are heard, on issues that affect you directly. Maybe you aren’t old enough to vote, but you’re having an impact.  In Bloomington, we’ve been so impressed by the conviction of our young people that we’ve given you the opportunity to weigh in some of the choices we make about allocating resources. Just this fall, our city council passed a proposal that allows for youth participatory budgeting for the 2019 year.  We hear you, we are inspired by you, and we know we can learn from you.

This is your time to shine.  Congratulations to all of our nominees. You are radiant and we are basking in your glow!   With no further ado, I would like to present the 2019 SWAGGER Awards.