In the News, New Content, Things to Do, Uncategorized

Little Free Library: Helping Build Neighborhood Communities

49% of youth in our region feel as though they live in a caring neighborhood environment. Research shows that young people are more likely to be successful and feel loved if they grow up in a supportive neighborhood. Summertime is an excellent opportunity to host neighborhood gatherings and start playgroups where your children can get to know their neighbors and build friendships. By reaching out to your neighbors and forming a community, it’s easier to feel comfortable letting your children play outside and hang out with neighborhood children.

One way to encourage youth (and adults) to establish a neighborhood community and read for pleasure is by taking part in or starting your own Little Free Library! Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. Visiting a little free library or starting your own helps promote assets like establishing a caring neighborhood environment where young adults can get to know their neighborhoods through a shared passion of reading.

To find a Little Free Library near you visit:

Community Partners, Events, In the News, Things to Do

National Night Out: Salisbury Police Station

The Salisbury Police Force is hosting a National Night Out On Tuesday, August 7th from 5:00-7:00pm! National Night Out fosters police and community partnerships to create safe and caring neighborhood environments. It provides an opportunity for community members to build relationships with law enforcement officers. There will be Police Station Tours, Touch a Truck, music and food!

This event helps build many of the 40 Developmental Assets® in youth. For instance, it provides young people with local police officers who can serve as adult role models, modeling responsible and positive behavior. This community-building initiative also helps build the assets of establishing a caring neighborhood and strong neighborhood boundaries. Events like this will help young people know that the community values them by creating meaningful relationships between law enforcement and families.

Click HERE to view the flyer for this awesome, asset building event!

Community Partners, Events, In the News, New Content, Things to Do

Georgetown Rocks Project

This past May, 6th graders at the Penn Brook Elementary School in Georgetown created a Kindness Garden as their gift to the school.  Youth and their families were invited to an evening event where they could paint rocks together that reflect the CARES values. Penn Brook Principal, Margaret Maher explained, “It will be a “growing garden,” as families can continue to add their own rocks.” This project created an opportunity to build the CARES values of Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, Self-Control though youth and adults working together to create positive messages to share with their school and greater Georgetown community.  It is a great way for the youth to give back and feel like they can leave a positive impact for returning students.

In addition to highlighting values, this project is a great example of how Georgetown is currently building Developmental Assets® for their youth.  By creating a caring school climate, fostering creativity, supporting family involvement, promoting compassion, this project demonstrates how the Georgetown community truly values youth.  This past year, Georgetown started a partnership with the Essex County Asset Builder Network to help create and expand supports and opportunities for youth in the community.

Things to Do

NBPT Teen Trips Interview

The Teen Office at Newburyport Youth Services serves as a powerhouse for asset building by providing quality teen programming in the greater Newburyport area. Teen Trip staff work hard to empower the youth in their programs while also forming lasting friendships. Teen Trips are open to young people entering grades 7 through 12. The Rec Center is open three nights a week from 6-10pm for teenagers entering grades 7 to 10. A summer pass to the Rec Center costs $25, which is an amazing deal for 3 nights a week of fun activities, making new friends and pizza!

A couple examples of the Teen Trips we offer:

  • Boda Borg
  • Surfing
  • Indoor Skydiving
  • Arcadia National Park and much more!

Teen trips and the Rec Center empower, challenge and support youth in a variety of ways. Read on to learn more about our awesome staff member, Laura Johnson and her experiences with NBPT Teen Trips:

What’s your favorite teen trip?

“Saco River Tubing and Arcadia are my favorite trips. Lee loves the Six Flags teen trip.”

What’s your favorite part of running these trips?

“A lot of these kids have not had these experiences before so it’s so rewarding to see everyone broadening their horizons, including staff! Personally, I’d never been to New York or Montreal so it was awesome to be able to visit these places for the first time. Being able to share experiences with the teens in our programs makes the experiences even more worthwhile.”

How do you empower youth?

“We try to give teens choices about the activities that we do and our schedules on trips. Especially on the overnights we give them choices about what we’ll eat and the activities we’ll do. Giving them that independence to make choices I think makes them more confident. I also love watching the kids interact with each other. Often kids are thrown into trips with kids they don’t normally interact with but by the end of the trip they’re all really close.”

How do you challenge youth?

“We challenge youth by providing them with new experiences. Some of our trips are physically and mentally challenging, like White Water Rafting so communication is key and we have to work together as a team.  Our trips also build communication skills in youth. If a child is having an issue, they have to communicate with staff and with their peers directly in order to resolve the issue. This builds not only communication skills but also social skills.”

How do you support youth?

“The more kids come to our programs, the closer we get with them. I’ve gotten very close with a number of kids who frequent our programs.”

New Content, Things to Do

The Importance of Setting Family Boundaries

57% of youth in our region feel as though their families have set clear rules and consequences for their behavior. This means that 57% of young people in our area possess this important Developmental Asset®, which will help them to lead regulated and successful lives. Research consistently shows that young people are more likely to exhibit positive behaviors and attitudes and less likely to become involved in high risk behaviors if their parents establish clear boundaries. Creating boundaries also includes parents knowing their child’s whereabouts. This article will help you to set limits in your home in a positive way that promotes the development of your child.

Here are some ideas on how to create fair boundaries within your home, neighborhood and community:

In your home and family: Meet monthly as a family to discuss boundaries: Are they fair? Do they still work? Do they reflect your values and principles? Adjust them as needed.

In your neighborhood and community: Communicate with your neighbors about the rules and boundaries in your family. Ask for their support. For example, neighbors can remind children to ask a parent’s permission before accepting sweets.

In your school or youth program: Divide students or participants into groups. Have each group discuss family boundaries and consequences. Identify the reason for each rule.


New Content, Things to Do

Encouraging Young Readers

According to the Attitudes and Behavior survey, only 19% of youth in our region read for pleasure. The Search Institute has identified reading “just for fun” as a protective asset in youth, helping them to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Reading also promotes greater vocabulary knowledge and encourages youth to put themselves into the shoes of others, helping them understand different points of view.

Reading stories with your children can also be a great way to promote family communication and show your children that you care. This article provides ideas on how to inspire a love of reading in youth. Read this creative article to discover new ideas such as having your child read to a pet or stuffed animal. The article also mentions ways to “bring stories to life” by acting out scenes from a child’s favorite book together. Instilling a love for reading in your child will not only help them to live a more compassionate life but will also become an activity that the two of you can pursue together.

In the News, New Content, Things to Do, Uncategorized

Building Stronger Family Communication

The Community Call to Action meetings sparked discussions about ways to promote positive family communication. Youth revealed statistics on youth behaviors and attitudes, including that 84% of youth in the region feel that their families provide high levels of love and support. Meanwhile, only 41% of youth feel that they communicate well with their parents. In this question, students were asked if they feel as though they could talk to their parents about tough topics or reach out to parents for advice on relationships, drinking, etc. The resulting conversation led to defining what positive family communication looks like and the difference between feeling loved and establishing positive communication channels between parents and children.

In our busy, 21st century culture of over packed schedules and constant technology, it can be difficult to find time to communicate with children in healthy ways. Positive family communication can lead to stronger relationships where children feel comfortable sharing their feelings and seeking guidance from parents. This TIME article provides suggestions on how to establishment positive communication rituals.

Here’s some information about the asset, Positive Family Communication and some ideas on how to build it in your home:

Here are the facts

Research shows that young people who experience positive communication with their parents are more likely to grow up healthy and are more willing to seek their parents’ advice and counsel. About 28 percent of young people, ages 11–18, enjoy positive communication with their parents and are willing to seek their parents’ counsel and advice, according to Search Institute surveys. Practice consistently communicating—talking and listening to young people—with an open mind and heart.

Tips for building this asset

Positive communication also means listening to understand a young person’s perspective, not to advocate your position. Be available when young people need you—and even when they think they don’t. Take good care of yourself so when your children want to talk, you can give them your full attention.

Also try this

In your home and family: Make it easy for your child to spend time talking with you: Keep an extra stool or chair in the kitchen, den, home office, or workshop area. When you’re in the car together is a great time to chat, too.

In your neighborhood and community: Ask young people you know caring questions, such as: What was the best thing about school today? What was the best act in the talent show? Why? Listen to their answers and respond accordingly.

In your school or youth program: During parent meetings, discuss the importance of positive communication between parents and children.