Building assets in children is not a project or program. It is a journey that should take place during the developmental years (ages 0-20) of all children. Parents are the first and most important asset builders in a young person’s life. Parents provide an essential role in establishing the moral, academic and community fabrics of a child’s life. From infancy, parents can begin building assets in their children to give them a solid foundation for development. Some books parents might find helpful in learning how to build assets in their children include:
- What Young Children Need to Succeed: Working Together to Build Assets from Birth to Age 11. by Jolene L. Roehlkepartain, and Nancy Leffert. Free Spirit Publishing, Minneapolis, MN. 2000.
- What Kids Need to Succeed: Proven, Practical Ways to Raise Good Kids, by Peter L. Benson, Judy Galbraith, and Pamela Espeland. Free Spirit Publishing, Minneapolis, MN. 1995
Yet parents cannot do this alone. We must join together to build assets in our youth in order to strengthen our community. We must recognize that EVERYONE can build assets in youth. Its not about having the perfect youth program or an advanced degree in human services. Building assets is about RELATIONSHIPS. People build assets in youth by developing relationships and having interactions with youth that say “I care.” Whether you are a parent, a teacher, a pastor, a store clerk or a neighbor, you can build assets in youth.
Get started today! Read the 40 Developmental Assets. What one youth do you know that you could begin to build assets in? What ONE thing could you do? If building assets feels overwhelming, start small. Could you thank the bagger at the grocery store by name and tell them you appreciate her putting your eggs on top of the sack? Could you wave and smile at the children on your block walking to school every day?
Ready to take more on? Try reading one of these books on building communities to build assets in youth. Great KIDS make Great COMMUNITIES has these and others available for lending in our office:
- All Kids are Our Kids: What Communities Must Do To Raise Caring and Responsible Children and Adolescents, by Peter L. Benson. Jossey-Bass, San Fransisco, CA. 1997.
- Stopping at Every Lemonade Stand: How to Create a Culture That Cares for Kids, by James Vollbracht. Penguin Press, New York, NY. 2001.
Lastly, take a look at ways to build Assets in Allen County Youth. Local ideas for our local youth!