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SMART ASSETS

ASSET #8: Youth as resources. “Youth are more like to grow up healthy when they are given useful roles in the community.”

According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word “resource” means, “1. Something that can be turned to for support or help. 2. An available supply that can be drawn upon when needed.”

“When we start seeing children and youth as valuable resources, our young people will start feeling empowered and contribute to our communities, our schools and our families in meaningful, thoughtful ways.”

In other words, when young people are asked for their input, allowed to express their opinions and to help make decisions, they not only feel more useful, they truly are playing useful roles.

“That’s what this asset is all about: giving young people useful roles. These roles start for children at home. As children grow, they have roles in their cultural groups, their schools, their congregations, their clubs, and their community. And children and youth know when those roles are useful and meaningful, and when they are not.”*

The Pantry, and our Friday Night Crew Youth Group, would like to recognize Five Mountains Hawaii and Executive Director Robin Mullin for providing youth leadership opportunities in meaningful ways—via quality programs such as LifePlan Institute Hawaii Island, North Hawaii Drug-Free Coalition, or NHDFC, and Teen Get Fit Hawaii.

For example, NHDFC’s recent underage drinking campaign, “Models Not Bottles,” put youth to use as resources every step of the way. The over-arching theme, “Kids want role models, not bottles,” was an idea that young people came up with in a brainstorming session with Mullin and other NHDFC adult leaders.**

From there, youth worked side-by-side with the NHDFC media team to expand the concept. Young people wrote television and radio commercials, then performed as “talent” on the screen and on the airwaves. They appeared in the original documentary film, “Perils and Pearls in Paradise: Hawaii Alcohol Stories and Facts.” And, as the film traveled to screenings around the island, youth sat on the panels talks at community town hall meetings. With a little coaching, they were confidently able to speak in public, and to present their points with poise and clarity.

And that’s just one program. With the support of Five Mountains Hawaii, young people have been able to travel to national CADCA training conventions for the last several years. LifePlan has mentored hundreds of young people island-wide, and, as the concept evolves, North Hawaii youth are helping produce dances and bowling nights, poster contests, beach clean-ups, and in many other ways playing very meaningful roles as valuable resources.

Thank you, Robin Mullin and Five Mountains Hawaii, for helping our community cultivate Asset #8!

“40 Developmental Assets” (values, experiences, and qualities that help kids succeed) were identified and introduced in 1997, by the Search Institute of Minneapolis. They have shown that young people with more assets are more likely to be successful and have positive experiences, while those with fewer assets are more likely to get involved in risky behaviors. To see the full list and learn more, visit www.search-institute.org

With gratitude to North Hawaii News, The Pantry and its Friday Night Crew youth group share a different one of the 40 Developmental Assets each month. The Pantry is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization, of which the Friday Night Crew Youth Group & Community Coalition, Mama’s House Thrift Store and Waimea Artists’ Guild are components. For more information, call 887-2289.

*Excerpt reprinted with permission from Ideas for Parents, Newsletter #11, ©1997, 2003, 2005 by Search Institute, Minneapolis, MN, 800-888-7828. All rights reserved.

**Kids Want Role Models Not Bottles is an equal opportunity program funded through the County of Hawaii - Mayor’s Office, Hawaii Department of Health, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention: Strategic Prevention Framework-State Incentive Grant SPO 13944.