Sessions planned on how to help teens thrive

Following suicides, local agencies adopt 'developmental assets' model

Community members are invited to get educated about "Developmental Assets," a youth well-being program recently adopted by Palo Alto schools, the city and a variety of youth-serving local agencies.

Described by the PTA Council as "a community framework for helping youth thrive," the assets were developed by the Minneapolis-based Search Institute as "essential elements for supporting the health, resiliency and overall well-being of youth."

In the wake of five student suicides in Palo Alto last year, school and community leaders surveyed youth well-being programs nationwide and settled on the Developmental Assets model.

Upcoming events to explain it to Palo Altans are planned for Sept. 16, Sept. 22 and Oct. 9.

In addition, a six-week "Asset Champion Training Series" begins Oct. 13.

"The Developmental Assets provide a common vision and language for youth and teen well-being," according to a statement from Palo Alto Project Safety Net.

"Research done by the Search Institute has confirmed that the more of these assets kids have, the better they do in school and life.

"Therefore, in this community that cares so much about youth and education, we are asking everyone in the community who interacts with youth or cares about teens to become an asset builder."

The Developmental Assets approach officially has been adopted by the Board of Education, the City Council, the Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA and a variety of other youth-serving local agencies.

About half of the 41 assets are classified as "external," such as "positive family communication" and "caring school climate." The others are classified as "internal assets" and include things like "bonding to school" and social competencies such as "planning and decision-making" and "interpersonal competence."

A survey of Palo Alto's high school students, as well as fifth and seventh-graders, is planned to serve as a "benchmark for our community showing how well we support the healthy development of youth and teens and a signpost toward areas that need to be improved."

For a student to take the survey, parent or guardian consent is required. For questions about the survey, contact Amy Drolette, Coordinator of Student Services for the school district, at or 650 833-4202.

The public is invited to a Sept. 22 panel presentation at school district headquarters, which will provide an overview of the Developmental Assets program.

The event, beginning at 7 p.m., will feature Superintendent Kevin Skelly as well as representatives from the city, the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce, the non-profit Youth Community Service and Project Cornerstone, a San Jose organization that promotes the developmental assets.

The event is sponsored by the Palo Alto Council of PTAs.

Developmental assets also will be the topic of "Assets 101," a presentation by Project Cornerstone that will be offered Thursday, Sept. 16, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Fireside Room at Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Road; and again Saturday, Oct. 9, from 9 a.m. to noon in the Lucie Stern Ballroom at the same address.

Additionally, a six-week "Palo Alto Asset Champion Training Series" will be offered Wednesdays at 7 p.m. starting Oct. 13 at the Palo Alto Family YMCA, 3412 Ross Road. A second session will be offered in 2011.

For more information, contact Anne Ehresman, executive director of Project Cornerstone, or 408-351-6424.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 8, 2010 at 9:40 am

I do hope that all the churches in or around Palo Alto that have thriving youth groups for both middle and high school kids will be invited to attend and take part. I have said it before that we need a comprehensive list of all youth groups for teens which can be easily accessed by teens and parents.

A website which local organizations can access and update with their monthly offerings together with maps would make a great deal of sense.

Like this comment
Posted by Concerned parent
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 8, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Stop by one of the school offices and read the survey questions. Do you really want your child to be asked those questions and answering those questions? I don't.

Like this comment
Posted by another parent
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 8, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Concerned parent: I've also looked at the survey. What questions are you opposed to? After the recent suicides I think any information we can get about our kids would be helpful.

Like this comment
Posted by Gunn Parent
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 8, 2010 at 8:25 pm

To the person who wrote this article. The developmental Assets is not a program, it is an evaluation. The district is going to make sure each student parents signs a permission for the child to take the evaluation. The school will then give the results, and we will take it from there. The results will tell us how well our students are supported in their homes, school or community, which will tell us how well will students will be able to bounced back if they have a problem or are going through hard times. It is NOT a program.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Be the first to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

If you do nothing else, do These Three Things
By Sherry Listgarten | 36 comments | 2,071 views

Lentil Brownies
By Laura Stec | 5 comments | 500 views

Finding Balance
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 298 views


Vote now!

It's time once again to cast your vote for the best places to eat, drink, shop and spend time in Palo Alto. Voting is open now through May 27. Watch for the results of our 2019 Best Of contest on Friday, July 19.