EDITORIAL: All-America: National award recognizes city’s innovative programs

Courtesy photo Members of the city of Mission's delegation for the National Civic League's All-America City Award are seen Monday in Denver celebrating after learning that the city had won the recognition.

Congratulations to the city of Mission, which has earned the designation of “All-America City.” The National Civic League announced the award at a June 23 reception in Denver.

Mission was one of 10 U.S. cities to receive the award. Other finalists included Edinburg, which has earned All-America status three times in the past.

This is the first time Mission has won the award, but the Rio Grande Valley has been well represented in the past. In addition to Edinburg, local All-America cities include Brownsville (twice), Harlingen, Hidalgo, McAllen, Pharr and Weslaco.

The designation, given since 1949, recognizes U.S. cities of all sizes that show community involvement and innovation.

“Each of the winning communities demonstratedcivic engagement practices that are inspiration,inclusive and promising in their ability to unitemembers of the community

to collectively and collaboratively help solve our country’s most pressing and complex issues,” the league states on its website.

In seeking the award, city officials make presentations that show three different issues in their communities that they have addressed. This year they were asked to focus on “creating healthy communities through inclusive civic engagement.”

Mission touted its All Inclusive Committee, which “oversees city efforts regarding inclusivity in decision-making.” Its projects include a city tennis program that provides venues and equipment for lowincome residents and sponsors an international tennis tournament for blind players. Using grants and other funding from various sources, the city is building a tennis center to house such programs and to help residents fight obesity and improve their overall health.

A second is a package of programs that provide grants and training for people who want start their own businesses, and resources to help young women establish careers.

Third is the city’s new Food and Service Center that provides food to those who need it as well

as financial help and other services to veterans and other residents who need help.

Tangential endeavors the city included in its presentation include its annual cycling Wellness Ride and Mission Pawsible, a program to rescue and find homes for animals in the city.

In communities that practice civic engagement, “we see fewer intractable problems and a higher quality of life,” the league’s website concludes. “Communities with inclusive civic engagement — where everyone has a place at the table to define, direct and implement public services and amenities — experience greater equity, display greater civic pride and exhibit stronger civic responsibility.”

We applaud Mission’s officials and its residents, who have demonstrated the benefits of working together to improve life for everyone. We encourage their neighbors to follow their example — not only to practice civic engagement, but also to show their own efforts to others, through future All-America presentations and other programs.