Williamsville Central School District

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Youth Wellness

The District is committed to providing necessary resources to prevent behaviors that interfere with a student's development, to intervene when appropriate, and to provide support services to assist all students in their development. Williamsville's comprehensive Youth Wellness Program provides Education/Prevention, Intervention/Referral, and Support Services. Although programs and activities vary from school to school, all promote asset building and positive life choices for students.

A 23-member committee of parents, students, teachers, community members, and administrators oversees this proactive student assistance program. The Williamsville Youth Wellness Council ensures that a set of minimum programs and activities are carried out across the district. A Youth Wellness Facilitator is identified in each school to coordinate programs and activities with student needs.

If you would like more information regarding asset development, prevention, intervention and/or support, please refer to the District website “Wellness in Williamsville” page. You may also contact the Assistant Superintendent for Exceptional Education and Student Services at (716)626-8061 should you desire further details or wish to become involved.

40 Developmental Assets

Reprinted with permission (Minneapolis, MN: Search Institute) © Search Institute (SM) 2002. http://www.search-institute.org All rights reserved.

What is Wellness?

Williamsville Central School District has made a commitment to character education and student Wellness. Along these lines, we have embraced the ‘asset model’ of positive youth development.

Specifically, the Search Institute, a nationally known organization on youth and community wellness, has identified 40 positive experiences and qualities. All of us have the power to bring these qualities into the lives of children and youth. They are identified as developmental assets.

The assets are spread across eight broad areas of human development. These categories paint a picture of the positive things all young people need to grow up healthy and responsible.

While there is no ‘magic’ set number of required assets, we strive for all young people to possess between 31-40. The average for Williamsville Central School District students, grades 8-12, is . Though this is not at a level commensurate with our target goal, the good news is that the assets are powerful and that everyone can build them (we call the intentional goal of helping youth develop these strengths "building assets").

In fact, there are countless examples of people making a positive difference in the lives of youth. Whether they know it or not, they are demonstrating what the Search Institute’s president, Peter Benson, calls the power of one- the potential for one individual to help, to heal, to support, to challenge, and to change, for the better, the life of a young person.

The developmental assets appeal to our common sense, so they are easy to understand. The 40 developmental assets are broken into two major categories: internal and external.

What are the 40 Developmental Assets?

The 40 developmental assets framework is centered upon positive experiences and personal qualities that young people need to grow up to be healthy, caring, and responsible. They are categorized into 2 groups of assets, external and internal.

The 20 External assets are positive experiences, which children receive from the world around them. These assets are supportive, helping youth understand boundaries and responsibilities. They empower youth in their community and guide them to use their time in a positive, constructive manner. Together families, schools, and communities play an important role in promoting this healthy development.

The 20 Internal assets identify those characteristics and behaviors that reflect positive internal growth in youth. These assets focus on positive values, social competencies, and commitment to learning. They will help young people make positive, thoughtful choices and become better prepared to confront challenges in their young adult life.

The first four asset categories focus on external structures, relationships, and activities that create a positive environment for young people.

Support Young people need to be surrounded by people who love, care for, appreciate, and accept them.
Empowerment  Young people need to feel valued and valuable. This happens when youth feel safe and respected.
Boundaries and Expectations Young people need clear rules, consistent consequences  for breaking rules, and encouragement to do their best.
Constructive Use of Time Young people need opportunities – outside of school –  to learn and develop new skills and interests with other youth and adult.
The next four categories reflect internal values, skills, and beliefs that young people also need to fully engage with and function in the world around them.
 Commitment To Learning Young people need a sense of the lasting importance  of learning and a belief in their own abilities.
Positive Values Young people need to develop strong guiding values or principles to help them make healthy life choices.
Social Competencies Young people need the skills to interact effectively with others, to make difficult decisions, and to cope with new situations
Positive Identity Young people need to believe in their own self-worth and to feel that they have control over the things that happen to them.