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All Kids Are Our Kids. What Communities Must Do to Raise Caring and Responsible Children and Adolescents. 2nd Edition

  • ID: 2214769
  • Book
  • October 2006
  • 448 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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The measure of a society′s health is how well it takes care of the youngest generation. By this standard, we fail. But
All Kids Are Our Kids offers an approach to unleash the extraordinary power of community when people unite around a widely shared vision of healthy child and adolescent development.

All Kids Are Our Kids introduces forty Developmental Assets building blocks of healthy development that are essential for all youth, regardless of their background. The challenge for all segments of the community families, neighbors, schools, congregations, employers, youth organizations, and more is to share in the responsibility for taking action to ensure that all kids have what they need to grow up healthy, successful, and caring. This new edition includes new evidence, cites successful cases, and makes recommendations for energizing individuals, families, and community action.

Praise for All Kids Are Our Kids

"A practical, concrete blueprint for helping young people succeed because of supportive communities."
Donald T. Floyd, Jr., president and CEO, National 4–H Council

"For two decades, Peter Benson has been America′s most eloquent and persuasive voice for a new, positive approach to enhancing the lives of our nation′s youth. If policy makers, practitioners, and researchers read only one book about how to act in support of our nation′s youth, then this is it!"
Richard M. Lerner, Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science and director, Institute forApplied Research in Youth Development, Eliot–Pearson Department of Child Development, Tufts University

"Peter Benson continues to remind us of how far short of the mark we have fallen in meeting the needs of our youngest generation. But then he provides a gift: a unifying vision that we can all rally around: parents, neighbors, youth–serving organizations, and ultimately whole communities committed to the healthy development of all our kids."
Judy Vredenburgh, president and CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

"Benson′s approach is the best formula we have for building communities to meet the developmental needs of young people. Anyone who is concerned about the future of our society should read this book."
William Damon, professor of education, Stanford University, and director, Stanford Center on Adolescence

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List of Figures and Tables ix

Preface xi

ONE Looking Through a New Lens 1


TWO Naming the Positive: The Concept of Developmental Assets 23

THREE Developmental Assets: The More, the Better for All Kids 59

FOUR Directing Energy to Asset Building: Critical Culture Shifts 99


F I V E Creating Asset–Building Communities: Principles, Strategies, and Impact 119

S I X Energizing, Supporting, and Sustaining Community Change 153

SEVEN Mobilize Young People: Tapping Their Power to Build Assets Themselves 191

EIGHT Engage Adults: Unleashing the Power of Intergenerational Relationships 205

NINE Activate Sectors: Integrating Asset Building into Community Institutions 241

TEN Invigorate Programs: Creating Asset–Rich Experiences for Young People 275

ELEVEN Influence Civic Decisions: Seeking Common Ground on Behalf of All Kids 303

POSTSCRIPT Choosing a New Path 331


A Selected Scientific References for Search Institute s Framework of Forty Developmental Assets 339

B Not Just for Teenagers: Developmental Assets from Birth to Age Eighteen, and Beyond 357

C Selected Resources 377

Notes 391

Acknowledgments 413

About the Author 415

Index 417

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In 2000, the federal government spent $21,122 per adult over age 65–and only $2,106 per child in the same year. Clearly, children do not form a vocal constituency, and their needs are going unmet. This second edition of a 1997 book updates the ways that communities big and small can promote healthy growth for their children and teens. We need to shift cultural norms, says Benson, president of the nonprofit Search Institute, so that all residents understand their responsibilities to the young. Put more simply and popularly, this is a reiteration of the African proverb "It takes a village to raise a child." The book targets community organizers and agencies, such as YMCAs, churches and synagogues, libraries, and block associations. Benson cites hundreds of examples where community groups have effected change, including a coffee company in Iowa and a Lutheran church teen group in Pennsylvania. These are not programs aimed solely at reducing drug use or crime but strengthening kids to deal with school, home life, and jobs. An excellent resource for communities.

Linda Beck, Indian Valley P.L., Telford, PA (
Library Journal, November 1, 2006)
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