Search Institute has identified 40 “building blocks of healthy development that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible” and calls these “developmental assets.”
We’ll use these assets as the spring board for weekly chats about parenting and raising successful kids.
The assets differ somewhat among age groups and the St. Johns Village Project has the potential to help teen moms, their kids, and the kids of the older moms develop assets such as:
Family support: Parents and/or primary caregivers provide high levels of consistent and predictable love and support, physical care (for young children), and positive attention. The St. Johns Village Project aspires both to help our teen moms understand the importance of their affection in their children’s lives and also, where needed, to facilitate support for our teen moms from their parents.
Other adult relationships: With the family’s support, children and youth experience consistent, caring relationships with adults outside the family. For the teen moms, their young children, and the children of the older moms, the St. Johns Mentoring Project community is designed to offer the consistent support of the older moms.
Caring neighbors: A young person’s network of relationships includes neighbors who provide emotional support and a sense of belonging. St. Johns Village Project is neighborhood-based and therefore intends to build a community in which all the moms and their kids feel (literally) at home.
Community that cherishes and values youth: Young people are welcomed and included throughout community life. SJVP aims to help teen moms integrate more fully into the family life of St. Johns, and to develop a culture that obviously cares for all the children.
Children seen as resources: The community invests in child-rearing systems of family support, and high-quality activities and resources to meet children’s physical, social, and emotional needs. SJVP wants to provide high-quality activities for moms and their kids through the monthly play group and regular outings for the mom matches.
Service to others: Youth have opportunities to perform meaningful and caring actions for others in the community. Informally or formally the play group will tackle an ongoing service project throughout the school year.
Neighborhood boundaries: Neighbors encourage young people in positive, acceptable behavior, as well as intervene in negative behavior in a supportive, non-threatening way. SJVP will nurture strong relationships among moms, so that taking responsibility for monitoring the behavior of each other’s kids becomes easier to do.
Adult role models: Parent(s), caregivers, and other adults model self-control, social skills, engagement in learning, and healthy lifestyles. SJVP offers older moms a chance to serve as role models for teen moms and their kids, as well as for each others kids. As time goes on and our teen moms grow into adulthood, SJVP envisions the former teen moms acting as adult role models for all the kids too!
Positive peer relationships and influence: Parent(s) and caregivers seek to provide opportunities for the young child to interact positively with other children; for older youth, it’s an asset if their best friend models responsible behavior. The SJVP play group environment provides teen moms opportunities to be together in solidarity, while bringing together the toddlers and babies for socializing and fun.
Positive/high expectations: Adults encourage and support young people in behaving appropriately, undertaking challenging tasks, and doing the best they can. SJVP mentors will offer consistent and reliable attention to the teen moms, encouraging them, demonstrating faith in them, and celebrating successes with them.
Play and creative activities: Young people have daily opportunities to play in ways that allow self-expression, physical activity, and interaction with others. SJVP encourages the young children of all moms to play and use their imaginations during play group and independent outings.
Out of home and community/youth programs: Young people experience well-designed programs led by competent, caring adults in well-maintained settings. SJVP offers teen moms and their kids a neighborhood program designed with their unique needs in mind.