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How To Create Healthy, Caring, And Responsible Children

Our role in helping families pursue the building blocks of healthy development
Raising happy and healthy children in todays society is a big challenge because it is
the hardest, most responsible yet satisfying task a parent could face. It is also the job for
which people receive the least formal training. Preparing all young citiens to become
thriving and contributing members of society re!uires the collaboration of families, schools
and communities as a whole.
Researchers at "earch Institute, a nonprofit organiation in #inneapolis, #$,
released a framework of %& 'evelopmental (ssets which identifies a set of values, skills,
e)periences, relationships, and !ualities that enable children to develop into successful and
contributing adults. "tudies have shown that the more of these assets a young person has, the
more likely he or she is to succeed in many aspects of life such as leadership, health, and
achievement, while lessening the chance of drug use, violence, or underage drinking.
*he %& 'evelopmental (ssets are broken down into four separate age groups
including +arly ,hildhood -ages ./01, 2/.rd grade -ages 0/31, #iddle ,hildhood -ages 4/561,
and (dolescents -ages 56/541. +ach age group has slight modifications for the +)ternal and
Internal (ssets children need to be e)posed to in order to have positive values, e)periences,
and !ualities.

+)ternal (ssets focus on the positive e)periences a young person should receive
throughout their childhood through support, empowerment, boundaries and e)pectations, and
constructive use of time. +)amples of e)ternal assets would be family support, being in a
caring child/care or school climate, providing service to others, being healthy and safe,
having appropriate behavioral boundaries, participating in positive peer relationships, having
adult role models, being e)posed to play and creative activities, and participating in
community programs.
*he Internal (ssets focus on individual !ualities that guide positive choices and help
children to develop a sense of confidence, passion, and purpose in their life. +)amples of
internal assets are engaging youth in a variety of learning e)periences like early literacy,
teaching children to take responsibility for their actions and developing self/regulation skills.
Other e)amples include aiding in the development of positive self/esteem, teaching peaceful
conflict resolution, and forming meaningful connections with educational and recreational
programs.
#any of the %& assets come naturally through family and school involvement, but in
order to get your children e)posed to as many of the assets as possible more community
involvement should take place. One of the goals of 7aseca ,ommunity +ducation and
Recreation -7,+R1 is to improve outcomes for all youth and adults through the use of
successful strategies needed to bring people together through the inclusion of kinship,
friendship, ideas, and culture. *hese efforts aim toward strengthening communities so that
they become places that intentionally e!uip children and youth to be productive and thriving
contributors to society.
If, for e)ample, you are interested in ways to increase the amount of assets your child
is being e)posed to would be to enroll them into a preschool program or child care center. 8y
doing this you will e)pose your child to caring relationships with adults outside of the family,
along with positive peer relationships, play and creative activities, positive e)pectations,
early literacy, resistance skills, self/esteem, sense of purpose, and safety just to name a few.
,ommunity education is a great way to build assets in your child. *here are a
multitude of classes and activities available year round for youth to participate in. "ummer is
a great way to become involved. Offerings include swimming lessons, *ot/9ot:;ab 0s,
8abysitters ,lass, 'ance, (rt, Princess 8all, 'rama, <ymnastics, =orsemanship, Power/
<ym, ,heerleading, ;encing, 8aseball:"oftball, 8asketball, >olleyball, 9acrosse and more?
"earch Institute works with schools, programs, families, and communities to use the
'evelopmental (ssets framework to measure and increase the e)ternal supports and internal
strengths children need to grow up successfully. *he framework of 'evelopmental (ssets
combines a research/based approach to child and youth development with practical,
actionable ways that communities can work together to prepare young people for success in
some type of college, career, and citienship. ;or more detailed information and a list of the
%& 'evelopmental (ssets please visit http@::www.search/institute.org:. ;or more information
about summer classes and activities visit our website at ce.waseca.k56.mn.us, call 4.0/0A6A,
and like us on ;acebook.
#acy 7hiteside
7aseca ,ommunity +ducation and Recreation