(ARA) – In this age of metal detectors, locker searches and zero tolerance policies, senior citizens armed with candy arent what most young people expect to see when they enter their high school. But thats exactly what Bernice and Don Camery and other adult greeters in Worthington, Minn. do on Thursday mornings. They arent paid to be there. They arent under any obligation. They are there because they know how important it is to make school a welcoming place for kids and they know their personal efforts can make a difference.
The thing that Bernice and Don, and others like them, may not know is that research supports their actions and shows that young people need and want caring adults in their lives and that one person can make a difference.
Through years of research and surveys of hundreds of thousands of young people, Search Institute has identified 40 experiences and qualities, known as developmental assets, which have a tremendous positive influence on young people from all walks of life. These assets form a foundation for positive, healthy development.
Consider these examples Imagine a few hours in the life of a teenager in a community that is truly committed to asset building: The day would start with a healthy breakfast with one or more family members. The newspaper delivered that morning would have a front-page story about a new youth-run, adult-supported youth center opening up downtown.
School would start at 9 a.m. because the district would be paying attention to research on adolescent sleep patterns. The parental figure in the family would be home until the bus comes because her or his employer would recognize the importance of family-friendly policies, including flexible scheduling. The bus driver would smile and greet the student by name; other riders would also smile and offer to share a seat.
Once at school, the young person would see a clean, brightly decorated building and friendly faces in the hall. The student would finally settle in to the first class of the day with a teacher who was well funded, supported by colleagues, supervisors, and students, and passionate about the subject he or she taught.
All of these are examples of what Search Institute, a nationally-recognized organization that provides leadership, knowledge and resources to promote healthy children, youth and communities, calls asset building. Asset building is based on the institutes 45 years of research and surveys on the experiences and qualities that all kids need to grow up healthy, caring and responsible. The asset concept is simple and based on common sense: young people need positive external supports and internal strengths to succeed in life. And, most important, they need others to help nurture these assets.
The asset approach is like exercising ones right to vote: Its important, its powerful, it can be done after a lot of deliberation or on the spot, and its your power — no one can do it for you.
To learn more about the power you have to build developmental assets for kids visit www.search-institute.org/whatsnew for a free downloadable sample of Search Institutes resource You Can Make a Difference for Kids or call (800)888-7828.
Courtesy of ARA Content