This post is part of a series on youth development and 40 Developmental Assets needed by youth ages 12 to 18, as described by The Search Institute.
1) Community Values Youth: where teens perceive that adults in their community place value on youth.
When you are served by young workers at a grocery store, drug store, or fast food restaurant, greet them in a friendly manner and compliment them on something (their good work, their unusual hairstyle, etc).
Be patient with young workers! Don’t show irritation if they make a simple mistake.
Celebrate a young fellow employee’s new job with a lunch date and a tour of your workplace. Talk about your job and the position he or she has been hired to do. Encourage lots of questions.
2) Youth as Resources: where young people are given useful roles in the community.
Solicit young people’s input in decisions that affect them. If you’re on a decision-making board, invite young people to be members—and then really listen to what they have to say.
If you’re in charge of a fundraising or charity event, involve your children or students. They will learn some by watching you in action, but they will learn even more if they’re given a meaningful task to complete.
Encourage kids to mentor their peers. Teach them how they can help other youth by listening to them and helping them work through their problems.