To facilitate the power of building on strengths, mentors attending last month’s Seedling Mentor Training were given an exercise that sensitized them to the 40 Developmental Assets and allowed them to identify assets they thought were in their childhood, and to identify those that they thought were in their mentee’s life.
They were then given a picture of a frazzled family sitting in a seemingly chaotic and neglected living room.
When asked to find 10 strengths the family in the picture possessed, the task seemed challenging. But, when encouraged to look through a “strengths perspective” lens, mentors found that positives and potential assets of the family indeed emerged.
Mentors concluded that their horizons were broadened to see that each person’s and family’s array of strengths is unique, and that strengths can look different in different households.
As Seedling mentors, we are especially aware of the potential negative effects that having an incarcerated parent may have on a child. A broken family, the risk of
living in poverty, and the likelihood of the child having experienced trauma are
just a few of the difficulties that our mentees face. Although their situation
appears dire, every child, no matter their life circumstances, possesses individual
strengths or assets. It is our job as mentors to recognize these strengths in our
mentees and build on them.
This approach, called Positive Youth Development (PYD), involves enhancing five key skills important for youth to develop, in order to become healthy, successful adults. Known as the 5 Cs of youth development, they are:
- Caring and Compassion
Click Search Institute to learn more about the 40 Developmental Assets.
~Seedling Mentor Program Staff