Published October 16, 2012
Volume 20, Number 10

PtownLife.Org Is Digital Town Square for City Youth and Families 

There are many amenities that make Pleasanton a family-friendly community, from highly regarded schools to sports programs to arts and cultural activities for children of all ages.

None of these has happened by accident, and a number are the product of the city's Youth Master Plan. First crafted in 2001 and updated two years ago, the plan sets forth “a long-term vision, goals, and strategies for meeting the needs of children and youth in Pleasanton.” Developed with substantial input from the public, it acknowledges the challenges facing youth and '”provides guidance to elected officials, commission members, City and School District staff, community leaders, and youth-serving organizations on how these needs can be met.” The overall intention is to promote “the health, safety, and well-being of Pleasanton’s children and youth today and into the future.”

The 2010 update effort also included extensive outreach to many different community stakeholders. According to Nicole Thomas in the city’s Community Services Department, “During the process, we heard again and again that people are not aware of the many programs and services that are offered for youth and families in Pleasanton. There is no single, easy way to find out about everything.”

It became clear that what was needed was a central source for all that information. This past August, the solution debuted with the launch of the comprehensive website PtownLife.org, a sort of digital town square.

Two years in the making, PtownLife.org is structured around three topics: Live, Work, and Play. The Live section identifies organizations and businesses that serve youth, along with a quick summary of their programs. The Work section is devoted to youth job and volunteer opportunities and career resources. The Play section lists all the parks in the city, with trails, maps, pictures, and details of activities and entertainment from partnering organizations.

“The effort to develop the website was spearheaded by the Youth Master Plan Implementation Committee and Ad Hoc Committee made up of 26 youth and adult community members. The work then continued with the Youth Master Plan Oversight Committee and Youth Commission,” Thomas relates. Jeff Parrett, the Business Community representative on the Oversight Committee, who works for Pleasanton-based Workday, played an integral role in helping to design and build the website.

The site includes articles, pictures, and videos created by the web team of 10 high school and middle school students. To make it interactive, community members can ask questions such as “Where's the best place to buy used jeans?” or “What concerts are coming to the Firehouse Arts Center?” They can also share links to articles or calendar events via Facebook or Twitter.

PtownLife.org site is—and always will be—a dynamic community website. Right now, the city is actively encouraging related businesses and organizations to sign up for their own page, describe what services they provide and for what age groups, and add any events, programs, or meetings to the calendar. “That’s what will ensure that youth and families keep coming back to the site,” Thomas comments, pointing out that registration is free, and the process takes less than five minutes.

“It’s been so exciting to see this happen,” she continues. “We’re really proud that now we can provide that link between all the resources in the community and our youth and families.”

For more information about registering your organization or business, contact Nicole Thomas at nthomas@cityofpleasantonca.gov or 925-931-3474.

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