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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Milford shines as city for youth

By James Tinley
Register Staff
— Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr. returned from Washington, D.C., Monday with a glass star in his hand symbolizing Milford’s designation as one of the "100 Best Communities in America for Young People."
This is the third straight year Milford has been given the distinction by America’s Promise, the Alliance for Youth. Milford is the only community in the state to receive the award this year, and joins an elite club of only a few communities nationwide to receive the honor three times. By winning the award for three straight years, Milford gained honorary lifetime membership as one of the 100 best communities for young people.
"This is a big honor," said Richetelli, shown at right. "It doesn’t start with me. … It’s with the people who make children their priority and our priority in the city."
Richetelli credited the coordinated effort of outreach organizations for Milford’s success.
Project Graduation, a push by United Way and Milford’s Promise to make sure every student graduates high school, was cited as one example of different organizations working in concert for the betterment of the community.
It is funded by a grant from Sikorsky Aircraft and involves targeting students at risk of not graduating, providing them with extra help and internships in Milford businesses. , involving non-profit organizations, the school system and local businesses.
"If one student can be saved from dropping out, it’s all worth it," Richetelli said.
Liz Denhup, a 16-year-old Joseph A. Foran High School sophomore who wrote an essay explaining why she thought Milford was a great place to grow up as part of the city’s application, also traveled to Washington. She said her experience being surrounded by other young people passionate about making their communities better was "profound and gratifying," and that she came back "armed with grand plans." One of those plans is to start a before-school tutoring program for students who have athletics or other commitments after school.
Danielle Dumont, executive director of Milford’s Promise, said the work in Milford has a snowball effect that continues beyond any single person who is helped and into the community.
"It’s bigger than the little things we do," Dumont said. "It’s just a part of ensuring the happiness and success of all the youth in America."
James Tinley can be reached at or 876-3030.



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