Empowered young people feel they can make a difference

This is the second 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.  The first post explored “support” as an asset.

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

What is empowerment?

According to Minneapolis-based Search Institute, young people need to be valued by their community and have opportunities to contribute to others. For this to occur, they must be safe and feel secure.

The four empowerment assets

The developmental assets framework includes four empowerment assets that help young people feel respected and that they can make a difference in the world:

  1. Community values youth: Young people perceive that adults in the community value youth.
  2. Youth as resources: Young people are given useful roles in the community.
  3. Service to others: Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week.
  4. Safety: Young person feels safe at home, at school, and in the neighborhood.

Assets in action: Adrienne’s story

Adrienne O’Neal, compliance associate at AstraZeneca, volunteers her time with the Black Achievers program. Here she talks about her work to help at-risk adolescents pursue a college education and secure the tools they need to be productive adults.

Ideas for empowering youth

The following tips are courtesy of Search Institute:

  • Provide emotional safety by creating a safe place for young people to share their thoughts and feelings.
  • Encourage youth to voice their opinions and follow through.
  • Support young people in taking the lead in activities.
  • Provide opportunities for meaningful service – be creative, go beyond cleaning up.

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.