Caribou to host Town Meeting to address youth needs

17 years ago

Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of articles about The Community Alcohol and Drug Education Team’s (CADET) latest efforts to address challenges facing our communities.
    You have two children in school. They are basically good kids, but you know the challenges they face. You do your best to pay close attention to their behavior, their friends, and their activities. But in this age of surveillance cameras, locker searches, and zero-tolerance policies, can and should you do more? Yes!
Being trained with the right tools can make all the difference for you and your children. We can arm our students and community members with the tools to face all sorts of developmental issues, including drug abuse. Learn all about the how to best use the tools everyone has: Developmental Assets®.
Developmental Assets® are the tools to building and maintaining a strong community. Search Institute, an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide leadership, knowledge, and resources to promote healthy children, youth, and communities, created the concept.
How does it work, and what can you do? Well, it can be as simple as offering your support. Here are some ideas:

For elementary-age children:
• Encourage children’s passions and interests;
• Answer their questions. If you do not know, admit it and work together to find out the answer; and
• When children and adults disagree, encourage adults to show they still care.

For middle and high school youth:
• Be available to listen;
• Affirm independence and interdependence. People need each other;
• Find out what teenagers care about and advocate for their causes;
• Ask teenagers for their opinion or advice; and
• Continue to show affection to teenagers by spending time with them — even if you’re not doing or talking about anything special.
These are just a few of the many ideas that go along with Developmental Assets®. They are common sense ideas that have worked in the local school system, and now CADET hopes to carry them forward to the community.
CADET has organized a town meeting to demonstrate how Developmental Assets® can work in the ongoing battle against drug abuse and other issues. The town meeting includes a full day community presentation on Monday, April 2 at the Caribou Performing Arts Center.
The day will begin at school with a Youth Asset Assembly entitled “Remember Who You Are.” It will focus on how the strengths of each individual can be maximized in every day situations.
For community leaders from across Aroostook County, a Community Leaders Asset Workshop will begin at 1:30 p.m. The workshop will be an interactive opportunity for participants to learn the power of the 40 Developmental Assets through lecture, handouts, case study, and shared conversation.
A Town Meeting will be held beginning at 6:30 p.m. The sessions will include dynamic presentations by Ruby Newell-Legner and Lori Hoftner, nationally recognized speakers on positive youth development, community networking and relationship building. Hoftner’s credentials include work following the tragic shootings at Columbine High School in 1999.
“In our continuing battle to raise safe, happy, successful children, ‘Tools To Build A Strong Community’ is a town meeting none of us can afford to miss,” said Susan White, principal at Caribou Middle School and CADET member.
For more information about the Search Institute’s Development Assets, visit www.search-institute.org. For more information about CADET’s Town Meeting, contact White at 496-4240, or Buffy McNeal, director of Central Aroostook Child Development Center and District Chair of the Developmental Asset Team at 493-4249.