What's on Guilford Youths' Mind

Interested in learning what children in grades 7 through 12 are thinking? The Developmental Assets for Youth (DAY) It's Worth It initiative conducted two surveys of Guilford adolescents, the first in 2009 and the most recent in 2012, and is presenting results from the latest one on Friday, May 21 at the Community Center from 6 to 8 p.m.

"We're very excited to share it. I think that the Guilford community will find it very valuable..It's important for them to know what our kids are thinking," said DAY Prevention Coordinator Dana Pelliccio.

After reaching out to the Guilford Public School District, the DAY completed its survey in October 2012. Responses were compiled from 1,558 students from Elisabeth C. Adams Middle School and Guilford High School. The survey's questions were taken from the Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets guide, which, according to DAY is a "research-based framework that identifies basic building blocks of human development. The Developmental Asset framework covers extensive territory, including the experiences of young people and their commitments, values, skills, and identity."

Questions that students answered included "How many times in the last 12 months have you been at a party where other kids your age have been drinking?" and "How strongly do you agree that, in your town, you feel like you matter?"

DAY Co-Chairs Lisa Ott and Peter Palumbo will host the community forum, presenting the results in detail and comparing the 2009 results to the 2012 results. The evening will include a forum about what the community can do to address particular concerns.

The forum "is really an opportunity for adults in the community to hear what's on kids' minds," said Ott. "I thought it was very interesting to see the results. We have improved in 38 out of the 40 assets that are measured in the survey, but there are a number of areas that still are very important for the adults to focus on."

In addition to the survey, DAY has teamed up with town departments and agencies to promote positive behavior for the town's youth, holding events catered to the kids, many being held on early dismissal days, to give younger people something to do after school. Recently, DAY volunteers have met with teens and are now working on launching a social media campaign to reach out to the youth in a manner with which they are most familiar: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites.

Parents of children and teenagers are encouraged to attend and participate in the community forum next Friday.

"I know it's a busy time of year, but it's really very interesting to hear what's going on in their minds and the information is really important for parents of younger children as well as parents of adolescents, because it starts much earlier than parents are aware of," Ott said.

To view the survey results, visit www.itsworthitguilford.org.

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