Goal: Youth report increased personal and trusting connections to adults and peers in the Palo Alto community in order to foster youth well-being
- A. Infuse the Developmental Assets framework in Palo Alto culture and policies
- B. Create experiences across our community that foster meaningful connections among youth and adults
Building resiliency and connections is a key component to keeping youth safe and healthy. Project Safety Net, in conjunction with Project Cornerstone, a local non-profit helping communities build asset-rich environments, has adopted the Search Institute’s 41 developmental assets model to provide a framework for building resiliency and other positive character traits amongst youth.
Developmental Assets is a framework of 41 building blocks that enhance the health and well-being of children and youth. They are the experiences and opportunities that all young people need to grow into healthy, responsible adults. The Asset model is a highly regarded approach to mobilize communities with a common vision and language for what youth and teens need to thrive.
Through years of research in youth development, these assets have been identified by the Search Institute, an independent research and educational organization based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their research has shown that when these assets are present, they help prevent negative behaviors, risk-taking, and help increase positive, thriving behaviors. Assets are cumulative: the more youth have the better. As the number of assets increases, so does a child’s well-being. As a framework for healthy growth and well-being, assets give communities a set of benchmarks to measure the positive development of their children and youth – regardless of community size, geographic region, gender, family economics, race or ethnicity. Search Institute found that the number of assets a young person has affects how they respond to and maneuver through difficult life experiences. The fewer assets a youth has, the more likely they are to participate in negative behavior to cope with difficult times. Young people who have 31-40 assets are more likely to bounce back from difficult situations and bounce back more quickly.
- Currently, the 41 developmental assets model has been endorsed by PSN, the City of Palo Alto, Palo Alto Recreation, YMCA, and the Palo Alto Unified School District.
- PAUSD employed the Developmental Assets Survey. The survey was given in the fall of 2010 to 5th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade students throughout the District. Results can be found here.
- A PAUSD district representative, Brenda Carrillo, co-chairs Project Safety Net and supports and furthers the efforts regarding Project Cornerstone. Each school has a point person who will help develop a plan for marketing and supporting the efforts.
- Parent education classes have been offered in Palo Alto (at school sites) by Project Cornerstone and the assets have been and are being used as a common language among many youth workers in the community.
- A multi-agency subcommittee of Project Safety Net, the Palo Alto Developmental Assets Initiative, has formed to bring a greater awareness and understanding of developmental assets in the community. The initial goal of the committee is to create a community where every adult is an asset builder.