Presentation on theme: "Youth Development From Risk to Resiliency Finding the Adolescent Spark Presented By Christopher N. Jensen Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Specialist."— Presentation transcript:
Youth Development From Risk to Resiliency Finding the Adolescent Spark Presented By Christopher N. Jensen Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Specialist Department of Mental Health Merced County
Past Approaches to Youth Development “Management”- we can manage people, places and things to minimize risk factors Not the most compelling vision to engage youth Many youth development organizations focus on at-risk or high risk populations and we use the assessment as our approach to our work This is reflected in many evaluation modules programs measure to show their success Student has not used drugs since in program Student has not had unprotected sex since exiting the program Student reports less criminal activity since program completion
Shifting the approach to youth development to one of Thriving instead of merely Surviving Real aspirations for youth- happiness, connected, success, joyful This vision resembles work of quality, not quantity
The Challenge There are approximately 80 Million youth in the USA Based on a series of scientific studies on “human thriving” performed by the Search Institute: Only ¼ of youth are on a pathway to thriving (they have hope, feel connected, can convey a sense of purpose) ¾ of youth in the USA are not on the pathway to thriving (they are confused, sad, lonely, empty and lost)
The Reason to base Youth Development on Resiliency instead of Risk 2000 years ago, the Greek Philosopher Plutarch gave us one of the keys to human development “Youth are not vessels to be filled, but fires to be lit” Youth development is too often done from the outside in: fill the empty vessel with information, factoid, values, expectations, and demands The real approach to youth development should be to identify, nurture and share our “Spark”, the fire inside.
The core idea in human thriving is the identification of the Spark, or inner fire Spark is the animating energy that gives people joy, hope, direction, and purpose The Search Institute performed a series of national representative studies numbering 7,000 middle and high school youth to inquire about their spark: What is it? Does anyone know it? Does anyone care about it? Does anyone nourish it?
Human Thriving-Spark study results 100% of the youth get the idea of spark right away, they know Most say, “No one has ever asked me this before.” 2/3 could quickly name at lest one of their sparks Another 20% could name their spark with prompting from a caring adult
3 Types of Spark Skill or Talent Music, Draw, Write, Lead, Study Commitment Better the world, Social Justice Quality Empathy, listener, care giver * If you ever have a young person share their spark with you, Thank them for possessing it!
Leading Categories of Spark Helping Leading Learning a particular subject matter Service to the globe Athletics Creative life Number 1 category in which most kids say, “This is when I feel the most alive”, “This is when I feel connected” How are we doing in supporting art, music, dance, drama, movement? Human development is not about tomorrow, it is about right now- How I awaken, How am I seen, How am I embraced, How am I known
Spark is a Life Orientation It does not have to be a profession It is about naming and nurturing what's inside It is a way of being present in the world
Spark may not be pretty at first Leah Adler’s story
Formula for Thriving Spark + 3 Champions + Opportunity Great things happen from experiencing the above 3 ingredients: School performance Engagement Compassion Sense of purpose The biggest challenges are the retention of 3 champions and the connection with the opportunity This is where we come in 1/2 of kids say someone in their family knows their spark 1/3 of kids say that someone in school knows their spark 1/4 of kids say that someone in the community knows their spark
How Sparks Could Be Used? You shall know them by their spark Remember that young people bring a special capacity or gift to share Knowing kids sparks could be at the center of school Teach families the process of the spark dialogue- name, know, and nourish as a spark champion Create a census within cities, neighborhoods, and programs about sparks and put it into the community and map opportunity against sparks and realign opportunity with the expression of spark
When Can You Start? Reflect on your Sparks Kids will want to know Practice the Spark dialogue What is your spark How can I help Who knows it Where do you express it What gets in your way Find a young person in your family or someone else's family What is your spark…I am dying to know
Shifting from Risk to Resiliency We have the power to mobilize people to see differently, to know differently and as we do that, we move toward our young rather than away from them