Building positive values

Assets help youth increase expectations for their future


Positive value assets

Anyone can build these assets that help youths develop the strong values they need to guide their choices.

- Ages Birth-1: Create caring atmospheres for babies at home, in child care centers and in other places

- Ages 1 to 2: Teach toddlers to care for others by sharing or giving hugs

- Ages 3 to 5: Teach children how to care for special things like seeds and plants

- Ages 6 to 11: Have children write thank-you notes or show appreciation in some other way for gifts and acts of kindness received

- Ages 12 to 15: Encourage teenagers to volunteer with at least one local, national or global organization

- Ages 16 to 18: Discuss the values of characters in books and films. Share with teens your own values regarding honesty, sexual activity, alcohol and other drugs, equality and other topics

These six assets are internal assets. They help develop the belief system and convictions that guide positive decisions and behavior in youth.

- #26 Caring

Young person places high value on helping other people

- #27 Equality and Justice

Young person places high value on equality and reducing hunger and poverty

- #28 Integrity

Young person acts on convictions and stands up for his or her beliefs

- #29 Honesty

Young person tells the truth "even when it is not easy"

- #30 Responsibility

Young person accepts and takes personal responsibility

- #31 Restraint

Young person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs

Visit for a complete list of the 40 Developmental Assets.

— Young people continually learn values from their families, friends, schools and community. Values are imparted intentionally and unintentionally. Kenny Morris, a Soroco Middle School seventh-grader, exemplifies positive values in action, particularly Asset #30: Responsibility.

Steph Rio, a Partners in Routt County school-based mentor, nominated Kenny as an "incredible young man" committed to the school's Green Team. The Green Team collects and sorts the school's recyclables while encouraging peers to care for their environment.

More than 40 students are involved with the team. Kenny stands out as someone who gets the job done with initiative and without needing supervision. He leads by skillfully training other students in Green Team responsibilities. Kenny has received two Green Team Awards at Soroco Middle School's quarterly Pride Assemblies. The awards honor students who demonstrate respect, pride, responsibility and other positive values.

The El Pomar Youth in Community Services program builds positive value assets in the three Routt County high schools. Students learn about service, philanthropy, and local non-profit organizations. The Colorado Springs-based El Pomar Foundation gives a $7,500 matching grant to schools raising at least $500. Students make grants to local nonprofits that reflect their school's EPYCS mission statement. The EPYCS program teaches the value of integrity, equality, justice and caring for those in need in our community.

The positive values assets focus on what individuals believe to be important in life, determine the course of action they take and influence the ways they direct their energy and resources. According to the 2005 Search Institute's Profile of Our Youth survey, the following percentage of Steamboat Springs High School students possess each positive value asset: Caring 39 percent, Equality and Social Justice 41 percent , Integrity 67 percent, Honesty 58 percent, Re-sponsibility 55 percent, Restraint 22 percent. Steamboat Springs High School students have an average of 16.9 of the 40 assets. The national average for assets is 18.6.

As young people's assets increase, they experience fewer feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression, and exhibit higher hopes and expectations for their future and the future of others. Researchers have set a benchmark of at least 31 or more assets for each young person. Young people need to develop strong guiding values and principles to help them make healthy life choices. One strong, honest and caring person in a child's life can make a positive difference.

If you know of an asset-builder in our community who deserves to be highlighted, contact Grand Futures at 879-6188 or the Yampa Valley Community Foundation at 879-8632.

The Youth Wellness Initiative is a collaboration between Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, the Northwest CO Community Health Project, the City of Steamboat Springs, and the Steamboat Springs School District.


424now 9 years ago

Kudos to the orginazations and young people listed in this article.

Good jobs all.


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