Forum Update #3: How Southington plans to build the asset Community Values Youth!

At the STEPS Community Forum on March 7th, 2012, tables were asked to briefly discuss the focus asset that pertained most to their community sector: Positive Family Communication, Caring School Climate or Community Values Youth. These assets were chosen because they encompass the three places children learn most from: Family, School and the Community.

At the STEPS Community Forum on March 7th, 2012, tables were asked to briefly discuss the focus asset that pertained most to their community sector: Positive Family Communication, Caring School Climate or Community Values Youth. These assets were chosen because they encompass the three places children learn most from: Family, School and the Community.

For example, the parent sector tables discussed how to improve and build the asset of Positive Family Communication – all by discussing a vision of what they wanted this asset to look like in its most ideal form, then coming up with strategies on how to build this asset, and finally an action plan that would help them to implement the strategies so that the vision can become a reality.

After compiling all of the replies, STEPS found some incredible responses to the table discussion and found it important to share the ideas of your very own community leaders and neighbors.

In this week’s “Forum Update” STEPS will present the VISION & STRATEGIES from community leaders, business owners, restaurant managers and more that attended the forum and discussed COMMUNITY VALUES YOUTH.

Vision –

The community and businesses will…

–          Make sure every child feels their voice matters

–          React to the needs of our youth and let them know that together, anything can be accomplished

–          Give kids a voice in the community so they will feel respected and useful and provide them ways to contribute in useful ways

–          Create an environment will become a “Southington giving back to Southington” environment and mindset

–          Increased youth attendance at community events

–          All kids are involved in positive activities

–          Create mutual respect between adults and youth

–          Develop safety zones where in any area in town, an adult is there for youth to reach out to

–         Make sure adults will no longer assume kids are “up to no good” and rather change the misconceptions

–          Listen to kids when they talk

–          Offer a trusting, caring, and non-judgmental environment

–          Be certain that every child has the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities and through the help/sponsorship of partnerships from organizations

 

Strategies –

Businesses can…

–          Host career fairs and job shadows

–          Become mentors at middle schools

–          Be a host of an internship for a high school student

–          Volunteer at youth events

–          Create one-on-one relationships with frequent youth customers

–          Talk more with youth and reaching out to see what they want/need and why it’s not already in place

–          Using the internet to access youth to promote positive values and healthy, safe weekend activities

–          Have a student liaison on all town boards, including the Town Council

–          Hold youth forums with reps from all schools on topics of importance to kids – run by kids with adult guidance

–          Give youth more opportunity to be involved in the town and with businesses

–          Find a way to bring all leagues and groups together

–          Make sure youth are engaged in planning of our town, especially Strategic Planning

–          Start career day visits at elementary schools so local businesses can speak about their careers to encourage new interests and a variety of job opportunities for the future

–          Keep all businesses in contact with each other for partnership opportunities and ways to reach out together to kids

–          Keep the community informed of the great things kids do in town and the good they are capable of

–          Find a place online for all groups to promote opportunities that are available to students

–          Utilize window clings to promote safety zones

–          Place a sign up that says “I support/appreciate our Southington youth.”

–          Bring back teen clubs and free recreational areas in town – and support the ones that already exist

–          Using talents such as music, art and sports to get more students involved and creative within the community – channel creativity into a productive outcome

–          Create surveys at businesses for youth to ask what they like and what they’d want to see there

–          Discount nights for youth at local businesses

–          Student sections of local newspapers – “Student’s Corner”

Now, at the Forum, over 5 tables of employers and local business workers thought up an “action plan” for how they could go about implementing these strategies in their own establishments so that how their business recognized and valued youth was ideal, just like what they envisioned.

STEPS challenges you to think of more vision and strategy ideas — and also challenges you to try a strategy or two suggested by your very own community members, PTO parents, teachers and neighbors! And, what STEPS loved the most about everyone’s discussion was that everyone came up with very simple yet effective, sustainable and important ways to build this asset!

Don’t forget to read the previous Forum Update articles on Positive Family Communication and Caring School Climate!