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July 4, 2014

YOUTH COUNT: Relationships from youth perspective

For a good number of years you’ve allowed me to share about the need for positive youth development, the power of positive youth development, and the various aspects of positive youth development. Youth Count’s work of strengthening our youth is based on the 40 Developmental Assets: 40 researched-based skills, experiences, relationships, and behaviors that The Search Institute identified as the building blocks that enable young people to develop into successful and contributing adults.

Over the years I’ve shared about these Assets and survey results that report the strengths and weaknesses of Assets in our communities’ youth and have offered many, many suggestions for helping you build these Assets for and with our young people.

Just this year The Search Institute released “A Research Update from Search Institute: Developmental Relationships.” Because it is written in the perspective of the child or young person it gives us an opportunity to think about what building Assets and focusing on positive youth development in a bit of a different way. Here I share the basic  components with you today. See the five basic components, their definitions, and examples:

• Express Care: Show me that you like me and want the best for me. Examples are pay attention when you’re with me and be someone I can count on and trust.

• Challenge Growth: Insist that I try to continuously improve. This can include making it clear that you want me to live up to my potential and holding me accountable for appropriate boundaries and rules.

• Provide Support: Help me complete tasks and achieve goals. For instance, be an example I can learn from and admire and stand up for me when I need it.

• Share Power: Hear my voice and let me share in making decisions. You can accomplish this when you take me seriously and treat me fairly and when you ask for and listen to my opinions and consider them when you make decisions.

• Expand Possibilities: Expand my horizons and connect me to opportunities. One aspect is to introduce me to people who can help me grow.

It really doesn’t matter which perspective motivates you — youth’s view or the traditional perspective of  a list of actions we can take. What is important is you TAKE ACTION on behalf of our young people. Collectively as communities we make positive differences in the lives of our youth.  Be certain that you are a part of it.

You can learn more about The Search Institute, 615 First Avenue NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413; 1-800-888-7828,

Learn more about helping youth at or by contacting Youth Count at HYPERLINK "" or 502-876-2272.


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