I’ve been hearing about a movement where communities look at youth as assets as opposed to liabilities. Can you explain what this means?
Dear For Youth,
The Developmental Asset framework of the Search Institute http://www.search-institute.org/, as categorized building blocks that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible, into two groups of 20 assets: External and Internal. Since you asked about communities, External Assets are highlighted below which are the positive experiences young people receive from the world around them.
1. Family Support-Family life provides high levels of love and support.
2. Positive Family Communication-Young person and her or his parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek advice and counsel from parents.
3. Other Adult Relationships-Young person receives support from three or more nonparent adults.
4. Caring Neighborhood-Young person experiences caring neighbors.
5. Caring School Climate-School provides a caring, encouraging environment.
6. Parent Involvement in Schooling-Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school.
7. Community Values Youth-Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth.
8. Youth as Resources-Young people are given useful roles in the community.
9. Service to Others-Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week.
10. Safety-Young person feels safe at home, school, and in the neighborhood.
Boundaries & Expectations:
11. Family Boundaries-Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person’s
13. Neighborhood Boundaries-Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior.
14. Adult Role Models-Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior.
15. Positive Peer Influence-Young person’s best friends model responsible behavior.
16. High Expectations-Both parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well.
Constructive Use of Time:
17. Creative Activities-Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in
music, theater, or other arts.
18. Youth Programs-Young person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs, or
organizations at school and/or in the community.
19. Religious Community-Young person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious
20. Time at Home-Young person is out with friends "with nothing special to do" two or fewer nights
I hope this helps build your understanding. As you can see – the Asset Approach can dramatically change the way youth are viewed in their community.