Area youth development group seeks coordinator

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A youth development committee is seeking a coordinator who will promote its communitywide asset-building initative to foster positive development of the community's young people.

Last week, the United Way of Southeast Missouri allocated $5,000 of its remaining funds from the 2005 campaign to the youth development committee. That money, along with another $5,000 from the Community Caring Council, will fund the youth development coordinator.

The part-time coordinator will work with various groups that affect young people. That person will also coordinate with local schools and develop plans, strategies and outcomes for promoting the 40-assets initiative.

"Because we are a new initiative, we're trying to pull it all together in the right way. Right now we're just trying to build the infrastructure of the group," said Denise Stewart, co-chairman of the youth development committee.

Post filled by September

Stewart said the committee hopes to have the position filled by September. "The major thing now is getting a coordinator in place before we plan what to do for the remainder of the year," she said.

On Monday morning, a group of about 15 members of the committee met to discuss issues that will further promote the assets initiative.

Family support, high expectations, engagement in school, integrity, the ability to resolve conflict peacefully and self-esteem are among the 40 building blocks the not-for-profit Search Institute has identified as important in the development of healthy, caring and responsible children.

At a conference in March, the 40 developmental assets initiative was presented to more than 200 people at the Community Caring Council's 17th annual THRIVE Conference. Since then, a youth development committee has been spreading the message of asset building to the community and various organizations that interact with youths.

The youth development committee -- made up of members from the Girl Scouts, United Way, Community Caring Council, Perry County Task Force and other youth-serving organizations -- also discussed attending various youth development seminars. These seminars will train committee members how to further promote the 40-assets initiative in the community, Stewart said.

"Our goal is to make asset building so common that there is no thinking about it," Stewart said.

The next youth development meeting is at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 16 at the Girl Scout Otahki Council office, 1432 Kurre Lane in Cape Girardeau. All interested parties are welcome to attend. For more information contact Stewart at 334-7741 or co-chairman Donna Taake at 243-3581.

jfreeze@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 246

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