If you could, would you prevent your child from engaging in risky behaviors, like drugs? What if you could do something in your community that would guarantee healthier lives for the area’s youth? There isn’t one magic solution when it comes to keeping children healthy and safe, but there are things that can be done to increase those chances. Several years ago a nonprofit organization called the Search Institute came up with a list of 40 positive items, called assets, which kids need to succeed. This list includes things like a family that provides love and support, a safe home and neighborhood, opportunities to participate in creative activities, and a healthy sense of personal power. Not all 40 of these assets are required, but rather, the more of these items a child has in his or her life, the less likely the child is to partake in risky behaviors.
So, what can you do? Start by reading a list of all 40 Assets at www.search-institute.org/assets. Consider whether there are actions you can change in your own household or as you walk through the community. It may be as simple as listening to a child tell about his or her day and showing that you care, or more complicated, like helping with the planning of the future teen center.
If you would like to get involved further with the 40 Assets community campaign in Winston, watch for news of upcoming events or contact WACP at [email protected]. In 2002, an assets survey of Douglas County youth in this age range found an average of 17 assets out of 40. An ideal “healthy” range starts at 30.