On May 23rd in the Amesbury Senior Center, a brave and well-spoken group of local youth presented the regional results of the Attitudes and Behavior survey, which 3,660 students took last fall. These students represented four school districts, Amesbury, Georgetown, Newburyport and Triton. This was the third Community Call to Action meeting, following presentations in Georgetown and Triton. This Community Call to Action helped attendees understand positive youth development and learn about the 40 Developmental Assets in context of their own community looking at data from their own youth. Research has shown, the more assets a child has, the less likely a child is to get involved in high-risk behaviors. This presentation demonstrated this finding with local data and encouraged conversations between adults and youth on how we can partner together to create more opportunities and supports for youth.
A diverse group of community members attended including parents, business owners, teachers, and those working in law enforcement, youth-serving organizations, health care and local government. This wide range of perspectives fostered intriguing discussions between adults and youth about how the Amesbury community can best promote youth assets.
The survey revealed that the average youth in the region possessed 21-30 assets. The ECAB Network strives to see the majority of youth in the region acquire over 20 assets, lessening the likelihood that they will become involved in high-risk behaviors. Youth highlighted favorable statistics such as 84% of youth in the region feel that they have positive family support. They also touched upon interesting gender differences in certain assets and the change in the number of assets that students possess from 6th to 12th grade.
The meeting adjourned with community members brainstorming ways to continue to be asset builders and think of new ideas to promote youth in their communities. This Community Call to Action advocated for the philosophy that all community members have the power to promote youth assets. This positive youth development approach flips the traditional prevention approach that identifies “at risk” youth and focuses on supporting them; instead, this approach focuses on promoting all youth, because all youth could be at risk. If you’re interested in viewing the data from the Attitudes and Behavior survey, it will be posted on the school website shortly. If you want to get involved as a youth asset builder, you could receive newsletters, attend upcoming meetings or become a CHAMPION for the Asset Builder Network. If you want to learn more, please contact Tina Los at 978-992-1671 or firstname.lastname@example.org.