“Support” crucial to developing healthy youth

This is the first in a series of posts that take a closer look at the developmental assets that are at the foundation of the AstraZeneca Young Health Program: IM40.

There are a total of 40 developmental assets that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. The 40 developmental assets are grouped into eight categories.

Today’s post explores “support” as a category of external assets provided by families, individuals and communities.

What is support?

According to Minneapolis-based Search Institute, young people need to experience the presence, care, help, and love of their families and many others. They need organizations and institutions that provide positive, nurturing environments.

The six support assets

The developmental assets framework includes six support assets that provide a conduit for all other asset building:

  1. Family support – Family life provides high levels of love and support
  2. Positive family communication – Young person and her or his parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek advice and counsel from parent(s)
  3. Other adult relationships – Young person receives support from three or more nonparent adults
  4. Caring neighborhood – Young person experiences caring adults
  5. Caring school climate – School provides a caring, encouraging environment
  6. Parent involvement in schooling – Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school

Assets in action: John’s story

Through his work with Penn Fusion Soccer Academy, AstraZeneca’s John Pelkowski is supporting young people in his community who share his family’s love of soccer. 

Ideas for building support

The following tips are courtesy of Search Institute:

  • Greet young people with a smile – use his/her name
  • Think “support” verbally and nonverbally
  • Listen attentively
  • Find creative ways to celebrate their successes and help them deal with failures
  • Focus on developing long-term relationships and think about how to sustain them over time
  • Show up, be a cheerleader, encourage, ask questions

For more information about the Young Health Program: IM40, visit www.im40.org. To connect with other asset builders on Twitter, use #YHP40 or visit us on Facebook.