Santa Maria was named as an All-America City on June 20, 1998 –one of only 10 cities from across the nation to receive this coveted designation that year. This is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected community recognition programs.
Being an All-America City does not mean that we have a perfect city.
The All-America City Award, sponsored by the National Civic League, recognizes exemplary grassroots community problem-solving and is awarded to communities of all sizes that collaboratively tackle challenges and achieve results. The designation honors the way people care for their community and take responsibility for their future. It recognizes partnerships and progress, creativity and collaboration, perseverance and pride.
The City’s application for this award focused on the diverse of our community, the many needs of our children, and the positive effects local programs such as the Santa Maria-Bonita School District’s Healthy Start Program, Los Adobes de Maria housing complex, and Peace Week 1997 had on the community. In detail:
- Healthy Start Program: The school district, working with medical, social services and law enforcement communities, initiated the Healthy Start Program. This program addresses nutrition, education, safety and health concerns. Volunteer dental professionals conduct clinics to end children’s pain. English and literacy classes for parents connect them to local agencies to meet their needs. Compounding our educational challenges, the school district has the largest group of Mixteco students outside of Mexico.
- Los Adobes de Maria: The affordable apartment complex with on-site facilities offers residents a chance to overcome cultural barriers and attain upward mobility. The can attend citizenship, literacy, and financial planning classes.
- Peace Week: A coalition of community organizations, leaders and representatives crated Peace Week. Workshops united people of all background, schoolchildren created posters with peace themes and took part in peace circles at their schools, community members signed pledges committing themselves to be peace makers.
Santa Maria’s designation extends into perpetuity. The City put its goals and objectives into a plan to enhance the civic health and pride in Santa Maria’s accomplishment. The City also maintains its All-America City Committee to create and coordinate community-based projects which address the 10 components of the All-America City Civic Index. The ten components are Citizen Participation, Community Leadership, Government Performance, Volunteerism and Philanthropy, Inter-Group Relations, Civic Education, Community Information Sharing, Capacity for Cooperation and Consensus Building, Community Vision and Pride, and Inter-Community Cooperation.