Well, Thriving Youth Australia is finally up and running. This is a collective of people invoved in youth work and education who are seeking to introduce the Search Institute's developmental assets for young people and communities in this country. After having told people about the Search Institute material for about 10 years, it is great to finally be able to go the next step.
The developmental assets are based on research with now over 2 million young people. The major research finding was that building young people's strengths (or assets) reduced their incidence of a wide range of risk factors. ie. it focuses on building the positives. Search Institute identified 40 "assets", half of them internal (attitudes, values, expectations, etc) and half of them external (home, school, community environment). Both the framework and the survey instrument give communities a way to understand their young people, but more importantly, a community development tool that allows young people, parents, schools, local government and community groups including churches to work together to create a healthier community and healthier young people, in the best sense.
Thriving Youth Australia is being auspiced by St. Luke's Bendigo, an Anglican community service agency in rural Victoria with a long and strong focus on strength-based community development. Andrew Fuller is one the steering group which is brilliant because of his work in resilience, and because he's an all round nice guy too!
Last November, six of us went to the Search Intitute national training event and conference in the US to be trained as trainers. I have to say that being at a national conference with 1500 people from all sectors focused on the health and well-being of young people was very inspiring, and particularly to see the churches involved and get a reinvigorated sense of mission within the wider community.
The fledgling blogsite is here.
Search Institute evolved from what was initially a Lutheran social research body into what is now a "non-sectarian" body, but still with good links to religious bodies. They do an enormous amount of research and publishing, now available in Australia through Innovative Resources, who also publish the brilliant Signposts Spirituality cards and loads of other good things. I'd better blog on Signposts.
Anyway, if you're an Aussie and want to know more, here's the brochure.
Download brochure (145 kb PDF).
St. Luke's have just mailed out 8,000 of these brochures and have heaps of communities around Australia interested already.