Small actions can have enormously beneficial impacts in asset building

The following article was submitted as part of a yearlong campaign organized by the Vision for Non-Violence Sylvan Lake Chapter

Submitted

The following article was submitted as part of a yearlong campaign organized by the Vision for Non-Violence Sylvan Lake Chapter and Building Bridges sub-committee to raise awareness of the family violence and bullying that takes place in Sylvan Lake and area, and the resources available to help cope with them.

Development assets are 40 opportunities, skills, relationships, values and self-perceptions that all young people need to lead successful lives and to avoid engaging in risk-taking behaviours.

Developmental asset framework was created by the Search Institute, a non-profit, non-sectarian organization whose mission is to provide leadership, knowledge, and resources to promote healthy children, youth and communities. The framework is a research-based tool that encourages all individuals to make a difference.

The 40 Developmental Assets are broken into eight categories: Support, Empowerment, Boundaries and Expectations, Constructive Use of Time, Commitment to Learning, Positive Values, Social Competencies and Positive Identity.

Supporting environments where assets can be built is one of the most important things we do in the healthy development of young people. Here are a few principles that will help guide us in our efforts:

● Everyone can build assets: Building assets isn’t just about great families or schools or neighbourhoods. It requires consistent messages across a community.

● All young people need assets: While it is crucial to pay special attention to youth who struggle – economically, emotionally or otherwise – nearly all young people need more assets than they have.

● Relationships are key: Strong relationships between adults and young people, young people and their peers, and teenagers and children are central to asset building.

● Asset building is an ongoing process: Building assets starts when a child is born and continues throughout high school and beyond.

● Consistent messages are important: It is important for families, schools, communities, the media and others to give all young people consistent and similar messages about what is important and what is expected of them.

● Intentional repetition is important: Assets must be continually reinforced across the years and in all areas of a young person’s life.

Building assets is uncomplicated and does not cost money. Making sure your child knows their neighbours, showing a young person that his or her opinions are valued by regularly asking for input and knowing what your child is doing in school are all small actions, but their impacts are enormously beneficial. It’s simple – the more assets youth possess and experience, the more likely they are to succeed.

The Sylvan Lake SPARC committee is dedicated to engaging all community members in building assets in our children and youth. To find out more information on the small things you can do every day to build developmental assets in our children and youth, or to find out more about SPARC, contact Krista at 403-887-1137 or visit www.sylvanlake.ca/fcss/youth/bully.