Build those 'lollipop moments'

Submitted photoBridgitte Taylor talked about the importance of the 40 Developmental Assets.

The 40 Developmental Assets consist of positive supports and strengths that young people need to succeed.

In May, community members had three opportunities to learn more about them by attending "Everyone's an Asset Builder: 40 Developmental Assets" at the Southeastern Indiana YMCA. The sessions were led by Safe Passage youth services prevention coordinators Bridgitte Taylor and Lindsey Wallpe.

Taylor presented information at the May 15 evening gathering. "Safe Passage has a (domestic violence) shelter, and we provide residential services," she revealed. "Case managers help with immediate support for victims, including helping them find a job and clothing, getting their kids back in school and getting protective orders for them."

"I've been at Safe Passage for about three years, and I love my job .... Youth services is part of my job, and I get to work with all the kids that come into our shelter with their moms. I got trained by Search Institute, which did years of research and created this list of 40 assets (please see box). The more of these kids have, the more successful they'll be."

"I grew up in a household where there was domestic violence .... One of my co-workers at Safe Passage, Kim Bohman, was there for my supervised visits. She was a great support for me."

"When I first started at Safe Passage, I worked in the Kids' Club .... I found that one group of kids liked telling scary stories, so I let them be in charge of that, and they loved it. From then on, I found what they loved and built on that.

"A lot of time in youth-serving agencies, we see what the kids need fixed or how we can help them, but it's important to build on the things they're really good at. As an asset builder, that's what you're going to do."

Taylor explained that the assets are divided into two categories: "External assets are those that center around relationships and opportunities that young people experience in their families, schools and communities. Internal assets are the competencies and values that youth develop internally to guide their behaviors and choices."

"No one asset is more important than another. It's how many you have."

"It doesn't matter what your gender or economic status is, the more assets a child has, the more likely he/she will excel in any situation and be protected against problem behaviors. The less assets a child has, the more likely he/she will use drugs or not do well in school."

The 24-year-old pointed out, "I grew up in Versailles. When my twin sister and I were in second grade, we decided we wanted to write a newsletter. We went door to door and asked our neighbors what they were doing that day. We said we were selling a newsletter, and it's 25 cents. We went back home and typed up the information on the computer and brought the newsletter to them. Not one single person told us no .... That was just one way how neighborhood support was built in my life."

"I work part time at Amack's Well, and I see a lot of kids hanging out there .... There's no harm in going up to someone and saying, "Hi, how are you doing today?'

She revealed some principles of asset building:

• Everyone can build assets;

• Relationships are key;

• Asset building is an ongoing process;

• Consistent messages are crucial; and

• Repetition is important.

She ended her presentation by showing a TED Talk featuring Drew Dudley, founder of Day One Leadership, who discussed a "lollipop moment."

Dudley said he approached two freshmen students, one male and one female, on their first day of college. He gave the male a lollipop and told him he needed to give it to the "beautiful woman standing next to you."

About four years later, the female who received the lollipop told Dudley how that moment was significant to her life as a first-year college student. She knew she was supposed to be there because it felt like home, and she was dating the male who gave her the lollipop.

Dudley said he doesn't remember that moment, but was astounded by the impact his actions had on her.

He said that was a "'lollipop moment,' a moment when someone said or did something that you feel made your life fundamentally better."

Taylor told attendees, "Being an asset builder is all about creating those 'lollipop moments' with the kids we work with."

Diane Raver can be contacted at diane.raver@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.

40 Developmental Assets

External assets

Support

1. Family support

2. Positive family communication

3. Other adult relationships

4. Caring neighborhood

5. Caring school climate

6. Parent involvement in schooling

Empowerment

7. Community values youth

8. Youth as resources

9. Service to others

10. Safety

Boundaries and expectations

11. Family boundaries

12. School boundaries

13. Neighborhood boundaries

14. Adult role models

15. Positive peer influence

16. High expectations

Constructive use of time

17. Creative activities

18. Youth programs

19. Religious community

20. Time at home

Internal assets

Commitment to learning

21. Achievement motivation

22. School engagement

23. Homework

24. Bonding to school

25. Reading for pleasure

Positive values

26. Caring

27. Equality and social justice

28. Integrity

29. Honesty

30. Responsibility

31. Restraint

Social competencies

32. Planning and decision making

33. Interpersonal competence

34. Cultural competence

35. Resistance skills

36. Peaceful conflict resolution

Positive identity

37. Personal power

38. Self-esteem

39. Sense of purpose

40. Positive view of personal future

Diane Raver can be contacted at diane.raver@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.

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