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A “Promise Place” in Chester

By Carol Brévart-Demm


The Chester Upland School of the Arts is one of 465 “Promise Places” located throughout the country.

The two-year-old Chester Upland School of the Arts (CUSA), founded by Associate Professor of Music John Alston and supported by The Chester Fund, was recognized this summer as a Promise Place by America’s Promise Alliance (APA).

Created by former Secretary of State General Colin Powell following the 1997 Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future, the APA comprises a group of 420 foundations, businesses, and other organizations whose goal is to mobilize Americans to work toward ensuring that all young people graduate from high school ready for college, work, and life.

The APA identifies five resources—the Five Promises—deemed essential for young people to thrive: ongoing relationships with caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, an effective education, and opportunities to give back through community service. Any organization that provides the five resources required to keep these promises may be named a Promise Place.

CUSA’s recognition followed a letter of application from Maurice Eldridge ’61, chair of The Chester Fund; and Wendy Emerich, managing director of the fund. The school received a little red wagon, the symbol of the APA, and a spot on the alliance’s website.

“This designation raises awareness and allows CUSA and The Chester Fund to become more widely recognized. And it’s an honor that supports all that we work to accomplish on a daily basis,” Emerich says.

Currently, 465 Promise Places, located throughout the country, are listed on the Alliance’s website. They are named on a year-round, ongoing basis.

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