DanversCARES’ Continued Focus on Positive Youth Development

Over the past decade, DanversCARES has encouraged families to aspire to “healthier decisions, healthier lives, healthier futures”. The topics addressed and programs offered may vary, but our goal always remains to encourage the healthy, positive development of the children, youth and families of Danvers. The Positive Youth Development approach is the guiding concept for the work of DanversCARES, as this wholistic approach not only calls for direct work with students of all ages, but also education and engagement of parents, teachers and community members.

What is Positive Youth Development?

Positive Youth Development is an intentional, prosocial approach that engages youth within their communities, schools, organizations, peer groups, and families in a manner that is productive and constructive; recognizes, utilizes, and enhances young people’s strengths; and promotes positive outcomes for young people by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and furnishing the support needed to build on their leadership strengths.” (Source: Youth.gov)

We have chosen two applications of the Positive Youth Development approach to guide our programming:

  • Social Emotional Learning (SEL) – SEL is the process of developing students’ and adults’ social and emotional competencies—the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors that individuals need to make successful choices. (Source: Department of Education)
  • Developmental Assets®️ Framework – Search Institute has identified 40 positive supports and strengths that young people need to succeed. Half of the assets focus on the relationships and opportunities they need in their families, schools, and communities (external assets). The remaining assets focus on the social-emotional strengths, values, and commitments that are nurtured within young people (internal assets). (Source: Search Institute)