Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Gauging How Youth Are Doing in Your Community

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Gauging How Youth Are Doing in Your Community

Article excerpt

The Presidents' Summit for America's Future in 1997 generated enthusiasm and energy about how to make this country a better place for youth.

America's Promise-The Alliance for Youth, the organization formed to follow up on the commitments made at the summit, has joined forces with Search Institute to help communities gather information about how their young people are faring.

Survey findings from nearly 100,000 students in the United States show that young people do not have many of the essential ingredients in their lives for healthy development.

Search Institute has been studying developmental assets of young people since 1989. The original survey was based on 30 assets that, when present in young people's lives, were strong predictors of positive, healthy choices. Throughout the 19961997 school year, Search Institute surveyed youth in 213 towns and cities across the United States using an expanded and somewhat revised framework of 40 assets that are critical to positive development.

The revised survey measures young people's experiences of the 40 developmental assets and the five fundamental resources of America's Promise:

* Ongoing relationships with caring adults

* Safe places and structured activities

* A healthy start for a healthy future

* Marketable skills through effective education

* Opportunities to serve

According to the survey results, only 8 percent of the youth surveyed experience at least 31 of these 40 developmental assets. In fact, the average young person surveyed experiences only 18 of the 40, and less than half of those surveyed experience at least 25 of the assets.

The survey is designed for use in schools and will provide communities with a snapshot of Search Institute's 40 developmental assets and the resources of America's Promise in the lives of sixth- to twelfth-graders. A report that summarizes the analysis of the findings will be available to each community that participates. …

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