Archive for the ‘CONSTRUCTIVE USE OF TIME’ Category

Youth Programs

After-school activities: They may be extra but they’re also essential

It’s appropriate that the word extracurricular starts with the letter “E.” But the word should really be essential-curricular. In fact, they’re so important many schools are now calling them co-curricular activities. For many young people, youth programs at school and in the community are the highlight of their day. They meet new people who share their interests or introduce them to new pursuits. They spend time with adults who also enjoy the activity. And they boost their skills. Youth Programs is Asset 18 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

Here are the facts

Research shows that young people who regularly spend time in sports, clubs, or other youth programs have higher self-esteem and better leadership skills, and are less likely to feel lonely. About 57 percent of young people, ages 11–18, spend three or more hours a week in youth programs, according to Search Institute. Young people involved in interesting activities helps bring out their best.

Tips for building this asset

Encourage young people to join a school or community activity that matches their interests, or try one they have never considered before. People can learn a lot about themselves by taking a chance on something new. Clubs and programs can also help young people make new friends of all ages, give them leadership opportunities, and make school more fun. Many groups also let them choose how much time and energy to commit.

Also try this

In your home and family: With your child, make a list of activities he or she wants to learn about. Rank the ideas according to her or his level of interest. Together, research ways to try out the top two choices.

In your neighborhood and community: Check your newspaper for upcoming community activities such as charity lunches, art openings, or athletic events. How many are youth-centered or allow youth participation? If you don’t see many, consider starting an activity for young people with your neighbors.

In your school or youth program: Discuss the following with the young people in your class or program: If you could start a club of your own, what would it be? How would you get it started? What materials would you need?

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.

Creative Activities

The arts for fun and learning

Whether it’s Mozart or the Rolling Stones, Picasso or graffiti, most people like some type of music or art. Being creative—singing, playing the piano, drawing, or acting—can be fun, and helps young people improve basic and advanced thinking skills. Performing and creating works of art helps young people develop cognition (intellectual comprehension), cultural understanding, communication, and creativity. Learning that’s fun and worthwhile—what could be better? Creative Activities is Asset 17 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

Here are the facts

Research shows that young people who spend three hours or more a week in music, theater, or other arts are more likely to grow up healthy. Only 21 percent of young people, ages 11–18, do so, according to Search Institute surveys. It’s important to help young people find creative outlets that are fun, teach them about themselves, and provide a way to relieve the stresses of everyday life.

Tips for building this asset

Everyone is an artist in some way. Think of how you may create a new way to surprise someone on her or his birthday, hum along to the radio, dance when you’re in a good mood. These small bursts of artistic expression are important ways people communicate individuality. By bringing more art and music into young people’s lives, caring adults can help to develop another side of their personalities, talents, and skills.

Also try this

In your home and family: Play magnet art. Here’s how: Visit an art museum as a family. Have each person walk toward the first painting that catches her or his eye (drawing you to it like a magnet). Let each family member explain what he or she likes about the painting he or she chose.

In your neighborhood and community: Encourage the creative energies of everyone in the community by supporting your local community theater.

In your school or youth program: Integrate music into your regular curriculum or program. Start the day with a bit of classical music, followed at lunch by rock and roll or jazz, and end the day with opera. Discuss everyone’s preferences and invite students and participants to help select songs for the next day.

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.

Time at Home

Quality time as a family

Work, school, activities, friends, and other obligations can at times pull family members apart rather than bring them together. You don’t necessarily have to change activities to find family time. Just be creative. Time at Home is Asset 20 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

Here are the facts

Research shows spending quality time together as a family helps young people strengthen skills such as leadership, good health, and success in school. About 51 percent of young people, ages 11–18, spend no more than two nights a week with friends “with nothing special to do,” according to Search Institute surveys. Protecting young people from risky behaviors and helping them develop positive behavior is easier when you spend time together as a family.

Tips for building this asset

Simply start spending time together: First, choose an activity the entire family enjoys. Then, commit to do the activity together one evening a week. Decide if you want to continue the activity or try something different. Ask yourselves: How often do we laugh together? Have fun together? Enjoy being with each other?

Also try this

In your home and family: Cook dinner together, with each family member preparing a dish. Then, for a fun change, eat dessert first.

In your neighborhood and community: Invite your child’s friend and his or her family over for an evening of family time—movies, games, popcorn and other treats.

In your school and youth program: Avoid scheduling practices or meetings that conflict with the dinner hour. It’s important for families to eat together.

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.

Religious Community

Meeting the needs of the spirit

Young people involved in a faith community benefit in at least three ways: 1. They are more likely to have positive values; 2. They have strong bonds with people of different ages and interests; and 3. They spend less time experimenting with risky behaviors than those not involved in such a community. Religious Community is Asset 19 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

Here are the facts

Research shows that young people who spend at least one hour a week involved in activities within a faith-based organization are more likely to: provide service to others, enjoy youth programs, follow and provide positive peer influence, and exercise restraint when it comes to risky behaviors. About 58 percent of young people, ages 11–18, spend one or more hours a week in activities in a religious institution, according to Search Institute surveys. Providing a place for spiritual growth and exploration could help reduce violence, alcohol and other drug use, and sexual activity among young people.

Tips for building this asset

Faith-based organizations strongly emphasize their ideas of positive values. It’s important for parents to choose carefully. When you find a faith community that supports your family’s values, your kids are more likely to internalize these values and make responsible decisions. Visit various faith-based organizations, and include your children in decisions about how and where to be involved. If you’re already part of a faith community, welcome new parents and young people into your organization.

Also try this

In your home and family: Include faith and spirituality into your family’s daily life. Choose ways that best fit with your values, traditions, and culture.

In your neighborhood and community: Become an active member of a faith community and help promote the well-being of young people in your community.

In your school or youth program: Avoid scheduling events that conflict with families’ spiritual or cultural commitments. Use a community calendar of events to help with your planning. If your community doesn’t have such a calendar, consider creating one.

Want to know more about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them? Visit www.search-institute.org/assets.

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Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.