Empowerment Teens Need (part 1)


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.


Gary L. Hopkins, MD, DrPH, MPH is currently an associate research professor at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan where he is also associate director of the Institute for Prevention of Addictions, Director of the Center for Prevention Research and Director of the Center for Media Impact Research.