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SMART ASSETS

ASSET #3: Other Adult Relationships. “Youth are more likely to grow up healthy when they receive support from three or more non-parent adults.”

“Think back to your childhood. Was there one adult you really enjoyed talking with? Maybe it was a grandparent, a club leader, an aunt, a coach, a neighbor, an older cousin, someone in your congregation, or your piano teacher. This person helped you sort through growing-up issues. Even if you can’t recall any specific conversations, you will remember the warm feelings brought by talking with that person.

“Young people need parents to talk to, but they also need other adults to bounce ideas off, to ask questions of, to laugh with, to help sort through sticky situations. Researchers have discovered that young people who have other caring adults to talk with are:

• Less likely to do risky things, such as use alcohol or other drugs or be sexually active.

• More likely to grow up successfully. Even children in abusive, financially stressed, chaotic, or otherwise difficult situations have better futures if they find at least one caring adult outside the home.

• More likely to think they can make a difference and that they matter.

• Better able to succeed in school.”

Like a large, extended ‘ohana, our Hawaii Island community is rich with opportunities to connect youth with caring adults. The Friday Night Crew would like to thank and acknowledge, not one, but all of the people in our community who help develop Asset #3 in many different ways. It’s impossible to single out just one person, when so many of you are working hard and reaching out each and every day.

To our teachers, youth group leaders, rugby, soccer, volleyball and other coaches, scout leaders, ministers, Lifeplan mentors, kumu hula, aunties, uncles, tutus and others—we may not say it often, or often enough, but we know that you care about us, we appreciate our relationship, and we are glad to have you in our lives. We’re not going to be perfect, but because you have our back, we have a better chance to grow up healthy, and we know that.

We would also like to acknowledge and thank Angela Thomas and the organizers of last week’s Hawaii Island Early Childhood Conference, “Be the One,” which focused on ways to build these very important relationships from the very beginning. From all of us to all of you, mahalo nui loa for helping our community develop Asset #3.

“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 nonprofit, of which the Friday Night Crew Youth Group and 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 #5, ©1997, 2003, 2005 by Search Institute, Minneapolis, MN, 800-888-7828. All rights reserved.