Is Wellington the all-American city?
The village has been chosen as a finalist for the 2023 All-America City Award from the National Civic League.
Wellington is one of only two Florida cities to make the cut — the other is Port St. Lucie — and one of 20 total cities from 12 states to be named finalists.
The theme of this year’s All-America City Award is “Creating Thriving Communities through Youth Engagement,” with a focus on cities that work to improve the health and well-being of young people.
“Being named a finalist for the All-America City Award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our community,” Village Manager Jim Barnes said. “Wellington is committed to improving the lives of our residents, especially our youth, and we are honored to be recognized for our efforts. We look forward to showcasing our community and competing for the title of All-America City in June.”
To be considered for the award, Wellington had to submit a letter of intent in December, followed by an application in February.
Here’s what you need to know about Wellington’s application. Scroll down below these highlights to read the full PDF.
It was filled out and submitted by Community Services Supervisor Ian Williams. Barnes signed the application.
A few interesting data points from the application: The National Civic League requests some community statistics. For Wellington, a few of those were:
- The population from the most recent Census is 61,637.
- The three largest employment sectors in Wellington are educational services, health care and social assistance; professional, scientific, administrative and waste management services; and retail trade.
- 29% of residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Community story: Williams’ essay on Wellington’s “community story” included a brief history of the village, an overview of the equestrian community and a list of some of the other accolades Wellington has achieved over the years, including being named by Money.com as one of “The Best Places to Live in America” in 2019, and being named last year by SafeWise as one of Florida’s safest cities.
“Wellington has grown from what was once a sleepy bedroom community to a thriving suburban municipality today,” Williams wrote. “With state-of-the-art facilities, engaged residents, strong partnerships with district schools and local businesses, safe neighborhoods, beautiful parks, and unparalleled programming and events, the Village of Wellington truly is a Great Hometown.”
Civic capital: Williams described Wellington vision and five fundamentals in the section of the application for describing the strength of the village’s civic capital.
In the application, Williams wrote about Wellington officials’ efforts since 2020 to better engage the community and “take responsibility for its role in seeking solutions to issues concerning race.” The village held several listening sessions and developed an approach to make Wellington more inclusive, he wrote. Williams listed some of the “new, culturally diverse event offerings” launched since those listening sessions:
- PRIDE Night at the Lakeside Market
- Chinese New Year
- Black History Month Leadership Forum
Wellington also has focused on creating a more inclusive municipal workspace, Williams said. The village has embraced diversity and equity in reaching out to better engage the LGBTQ community, food insecure people, seniors, neurodiverse people and those with mental health needs.
Three projects: Asked to describe three community-driven projects or programs, Williams wrote about HYPE, a program to help Wellington’s homeless students by helping to remove economic and academic barriers; the Tom Atkins Civics 101 course that educates young people on the importance of civic engagement; and SWAG, or Students Working to Achieve Greatness, which addresses the needs of underserved high school students in Wellington.
“Wellington will continue its efforts to improve the lives of its young people,” he wrote. “Whether through academic support, civic engagement or role modeling and mentorship, Wellington’s relationship with its youth will support, honor and help build their vision of a better tomorrow.”
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