Indicator 13 - Are you actively using the evidence base of

By Gary Knight,2015-01-15 05:48
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Indicator 13 - Are you actively using the evidence base of

    Asset Building

    All information below is taken from the Search Institute, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide leadership, knowledge, and resources to promote healthy children, youth, and communities. For more information go to

    Studies reveal strong and consistent relationships between the number of assets present in young people’s lives and the degree to which they develop in positive and healthful ways. While there

    is no "magic number" of assets young people should have, data indicates that 31 is a good

    benchmark for experiencing their positive effects most strongly.

    ; The average young person surveyed in the United States experiences only 18 of the 40 assets.

    ; Overall, 62% of young people surveyed have fewer than 20 of the 40 assets.

    The developmental asset framework is categorized into two groups of 20 assets:

    ; External assets identify important roles that families, schools, congregations, neighborhoods, and

    youth organizations can play in promoting healthy development.

    1. Support-Young people need to experience support, care, and love from their families, neighbors,

    and many others. They need organizations and institutions that provide positive, supportive


    2. Empowerment-Young people need to be valued by their community and have opportunities to

    contribute to others. For this to occur, they must be safe and feel secure.

    3. Boundaries and expectations-Young people need to know what is expected of them and

    whether activities and behaviors are "in bounds" and "out of bounds."

    4. Constructive use of time- Young people need constructive, enriching opportunities for growth

    through creative activities, youth programs

    ; Internal assets identify those characteristics and behaviors that reflect positive internal growth and


    1. Commitment to learning-Young people need to develop a lifelong commitment to education

    and learning.

    2. Positive values-Young people need to develop strong values that guide their choices.

    3. Social competencies-Young people need skills and competencies that equip them to make

    positive choices, to build relationships, and to succeed in life.

    4. Positive identity-Young people need a strong sense of their own power, purpose, worth, and


    How You Can Build the SUPPORT Assets

    Elementary-Age Children

    ; Encourage children's passions and interests.

    ; Answer their questions. If you don’t know, admit it and work together to find out the answer.

    ; When children and adults disagree, encourage adults to show they still care. Middle and High School Youth

    ; Be available to listen.

    ; Affirm independence and interdependence. People need each other.

    ; Find out what teenagers care about and advocate for their causes.

    ; Ask teenagers for their opinion or advice.

    ; Continue to show affection to teenagers by spending time with them--even if you're not doing or

    talking about anything special.

    How You Can Build the EMPOWERMENT Assets

    Elementary-Age Children

    ; Encourage children to write letters about issues that are important to them to the editor of your

    local paper.

    ; Ask children what they like and do not like about their daily routines. Make changes to improve


    Middle and High School Youth

    ; Encourage teenagers to volunteer at least one hour a week. Talk with them about what they learn

    from these experiences.

    ; Talk with young people about their feelings and fears about safety. Work together to help young

    people feel more safe.

    ; Help teenagers spend time contributing to their communities. This could range from finding out

    about opportunities and how to get involved to simply figuring out ways to get them there. ; Encourage teenagers to take leadership roles in addressing issues that concern them.

    How You Can Build the BOUNDARIES-AND-EXPECTATIONS Assets

    Elementary-Age Children

    ; Encourage schools, neighbors, organizations, and communities to have consistent boundaries and

    consequences so children know how to act in different settings.

    ; Be firm about boundaries that keep kids safe. Don't negotiate with these boundaries. ; Challenge children to do their best in school, and help them whenever you can.

    Middle and High School Youth

    ; Be patient, calm, and consistent as young teenagers test the boundaries you set. ; Negotiate new boundaries as young people grow older. Work together on what's acceptable and

    what's not.

    ; Ask teenagers where they are going and whom they will be with.

    ; Help teenagers think about their future goals and what kind of boundaries they'll need to meet


    ; Continue to have boundaries for appropriate behaviors and consequences for violating those


    ; Respect teenagers' privacy needs while showing interest in their friends and activities. ; Challenge teenagers to learn through school and other activities.

    How You Can Build the CONSTRUCTIVE-USE-OF-TIME Assets

    Elementary-Age Children

    ; Allow children to have one or two regular out-of-home activities that are led by caring adults. ; Teach children to balance their time so they gradually learn how not to get too busy or too bored. ; Volunteer in programs and activities for children, such as sports, clubs, religious activities, music,

    or others.

    Middle and High School Youth

    ; Encourage families to have a regular family night to do something fun together. ; Help young people look for positive, stimulating activities that match their talents, interests, and


    ; Encourage teenagers to be involved in at least one activity that may continue into her or his adult


    ; Help teenagers think about how the time they spend on different activities helps or hinders them

    in reaching their goals.

    ; Volunteer in programs or activities for older teenagers. Take time to get to know the young

    people involved.

    How You Can Build the COMMITMENT-TO-LEARNING Assets

    Elementary-Age Children

    ; Set daily homework guidelines for children and provide a place for them to study. ; Let children read to you every day as they learn to read. Show them that you are excited and

    proud about their reading.

    ; Help children find ways to learn more about subjects that really interest them.

    Middle and High School Youth

    ; Find creative ways to help young people link their interests with school subjects (such as doing

    special projects).

    ; Encourage young people to collect things like stamps, postcards, leaves, dried flowers, or quotes

    they like. Contribute to their collections.

    ; Ask young people to teach you a new skill or about a subject they're studying in school. ; Help teenagers think about their future goals and the discipline required to reach them. ; Encourage teenagers to take an interesting community education class.

    ; Emphasize lifetime learning, not just graduation.

    How You Can Build the POSITIVE-VALUES Assets

    Elementary-Age Children

    ; Have children write thank-you notes or show their appreciation in some other way whenever they

    receive gifts.

    ; Encourage families to participate in service activities together.

    ; Talk to children about specific examples of people acting on their values.

    Middle and High School Youth

    ; Interact in caring, responsible ways with people of all ages. Encourage youth to do the same. ; Watch television or read books together and discuss the characters' values. ; Talk to young people about your values regarding honesty, sexual activity, alcohol, tobacco, and

    other drug use, and other topics.

    ; Encourage teenagers to volunteer with at least one organization.

    ; Together write letters to the editor or to politicians advocating for or against pending legislation. ; Talk with teenagers about how their values guide their choices and behaviors. Let them know

    how your values influence you

    How You Can Build the SOCIAL-COMPETENCIES Assets

    Elementary-Age Children

    ; Encourage children to use words--rather than just actions--to communicate. ; Encourage children to develop more skills in areas that interest them.

    ; Find ways for children to spend time with people who look, act, think, and talk in different ways.

    Middle and High School Youth

    ; Help young people use healthy coping skills when difficult situations arise. ; Be gentle and supportive in how you respond to young people's fluctuating emotions. ; Help young teenagers find ways to deal with conflict without fighting.

; Slowly begin to allow teenagers more freedom to make their own decisions.

    ; Ask teenagers about their future dreams and help them with planning for how to achieve them. ; Encourage teenagers to practice healthy responses to situations where they might feel pressured

    or uncomfortable, such as being offered drugs by a friend or being challenged to a fight.

    How You Can Build the POSITIVE-IDENTITY Assets

    Elementary-Age Children

    ; When children are facing problems or difficult times, help them think of all the possible ways

    they could deal with the situation. Then help them pick what they want to do. ; Encourage children to find inspirational, positive role models.

    ; Talk with children about what gives your life meaning and a sense of purpose.

    Middle and High School Youth

    ; Expect young people to experience ups and downs of self-esteem during these years, and for it to

    increase as they get older.

    ; Avoid comparing young people with other young people.

    ; Let teenagers know that you are proud of and excited by their talents, capabilities, and discoveries. ; Support teenagers as they struggle with issues and questions of identity.

    ; Let teenagers know that you are willing to listen if they want to talk about their sense of purpose

    in life, including their ideas about how they would like to contribute to the world.

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