Tahlequah Public Schools is proud to sponsor the Tahlequah B.E.S.T. Community Coalition (B.E.S.T. stands for Bringing Everyone’s Strengths Together). BEST has been in existence for over 10 years and is funded through the Drug Free Communities grant and Partnership for Success grant through the Office of Drug Control Policy and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association. The focus of BEST is to bring together a wide variety of community partners and individuals to work toward the common goal of improving the physical and mental health of the youth and adults of Tahlequah.
A community education component offered to the community is a presentation given by community preventionist employed by the school called “Operation Aware”. This component focuses on assessing substance abuse trends of 6th, 8th 10th and 12th graders and then presenting this information to the community to raise awareness of issues that are affecting the healthy development of our youth. “Operation Aware” also provides tools for community members and parents to assist them in supporting their child through these risky years of development. “Operation Aware” promotes the use of The 40 Developmental Assets.
Search Institute states that The Developmental Assets are 40 research-based, positive experiences and qualities that influence young people’s development, helping them become caring, responsible, and productive adults. Based in youth development, resiliency, and prevention research, the Developmental Assets framework has proven to be effective and has become the most widely used approach to positive youth development in the United States and, increasingly, around the world. The framework has been adapted to be developmentally relevant from early childhood through adolescence.
So, who needs The Developmental Assets and why are they important? Over time, studies consistently show that the more assets that young people have, the less likely they are to engage in a wide range of high-risk behaviors and the more likely they are to thrive. Research shows that youth with the most assets are least likely to engage in four different patterns of high-risk behavior, including problem alcohol use, violence, illicit drug use, and sexual activity. When they have higher levels of assets, they are more likely to do well in school, be civically engaged, and value diversity. The positive power of assets is evident across all cultural and socioeconomic groups of youth in the United States as well as other parts of the world.
Furthermore, levels of assets are better predictors of high-risk involvement and thriving than poverty, family structure, or other demographic difference. However, the average young person experiences fewer than half of the 40 assets. (Search Institute) There are many ways you can use the Developmental Assets framework to strengthen your relationships or work with children, youth, or families. These assets are not revolutionary or complicated and they apply to all kids, not just children at risk.
A copy of the assets is available on the search-institute.org website or a copy can be provided to you by calling the Safe Schools Coordinator at Tahlequah Public Schools at 918-458-4191.