The secret to helping children and youth grow into happy, healthy, and responsible adults isn’t really a secret at all. Simply make a point to connect with young people: Get to know them, talk to them, understand them, help them, and build relationships with them. As a caring, trusted adult, you’ll be better able to provide the building blocks young people need to succeed and reach their goals. Adult role models, guides, and friends are very important to young people. With your help, young people can begin to understand themselves and the world around them. We all know growing up isn’t always easy. That’s why young people need adults like you in their lives. The good news is we can change this because we all have the power to build assets in young people’s lives.

During the month of March and April, the Asset Champions are focusing on the following assets:

  • Planning and Decision Making – Youth person knows how to plan and make choices.
  • Interpersonal Competence – Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills.
  • Cultural Competence – Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural / racial / ethnic backgrounds.
  • Resistance Skills – Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations.
  • Peaceful Conflict Resolution – Young person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.

Local Asset Champion, Lee Heithoof gives advise & hope. (Story Published in the Daily Nonpareil on September 1, 2011)

“I have people going through hard times coming to me. They don’t know where to turn, and I have a chance to give some guidance to them and some hope.”

That’s one of the things that makes Lee Heithoff’s job rewarding.Heithoff is managing attorney at Iowa Legal Aid, 532 First Ave., Suite 300.  Iowa Legal Aid is a nonprofit organization that offers free legal help and information on civil law problems for eligible Iowans. In typical cases, the agency helps protect domestic abuse victims, prevent illegal evictions and unsafe housing, secure income such as SSI, Medicaid and disability benefits and prevent consumer fraud and abusive debt collection practices.

Clients have to meet income guidelines, he said – although the agency can help seniors who do not meet the guidelines through a grant program.  Listening to clients’ problems and explaining their options to them requires something other than legalese, Heithoff said.   “You have to speak to them in a language they understand,” he said. “Sometimes you have to tell them what they don’t want to hear. Sometimes we can’t help them – and that’s one of the harder parts of this job.”

See more about Heithoff here.

Asset Champions are individuals that make extraordinary efforts to build developmental assets and create positive connections with young people, and inspire others to do the same. We would like to recognize Kate Jobe for her work at Children’s Square USA and in the community in family mediation, use of art as empowerment, & collaboration with others to support young people.

Kate recently led presentations a the Whispers & Screams Conference titled “The Color of Trauma: Associative” & “The Language of Trauma: Creating”.  Her ability to help young people though their challenges by finding strength in creative art is a true gift.  Visit her personal blog at


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; This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.