Protective Factors (Assets)
Protective Factors help us to bounce back from losses and bumps in the road of life, and to resist behaviors or influences that can have a negative impact on us. When we enhance our protective factors and build youth resilience and competence, we are preventing substance abuse:
Protective Factors are all interrelated so that we don’t have to address every factor. It has been shown that if we address one, for instance, youth access to alcohol, we also impact others. Teach a person good problem- solving skills and we are also likely to raise the person’s self-esteem, increase ability to make good choices, and reduce substance abuse.
If we think of prevention in this way, we can see the many elements that interact to decrease risk and the ways in which each of us can get involved.
When asked to identify our community assets, our community listed these top five:
Diverse, caring people
The Search Institute has identified 40 Developmental Assets; the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. The Prevention Coalition enhances Assets 7-10 by meeting at least monthly, identifying local community needs and resources, working collaboratively to build partnerships and build capacity; identify and implement prevention efforts, and evaluate the impact of prevention efforts. This effort naturally builds the following Assets:
Community Values Youth | Youth perceive that adults in the community value youth.
Youth as Resources | Youth are given useful roles in the community.
Service to Others | Youth serve in the community one hour or more per week.
Safety | Youth feel safe at home, school, and in the neighborhood.
Numerous research studies have shown that youth who care about their school are less likely to be involved in violence or use alcohol or other drugs. They are naturally more likely to become good leaders, value diversity, and succeed in school. Among 6th, 8th and 11th grade students in Jefferson County:
84.3% say teachers treat students with respect.
69.5% say students help each other when they are hurt or upset.
Through implementing evidence-based practices, including classroom education, youth leadership, parent education classes, youth workshops, and alcohol- and drug-free events and activities, the Prevention Team directly builds the following eight Assets:
# 2 - Positive Family Communication | Youth and parent(s) communicate positively, and youth are willing to seek advice and counsel from parents.
# 3 - Other Adult Relationships | Young person receives support from three or more nonparent adults.
# 8 - Youth as Resources | Young people are given useful roles in the community.
#35 - Resistance Skills | Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations.
#37 - Personal Power | Young person feels he or she has control over "things that happen to me."
#38 - Self-Esteem | Young person reports having a high self-esteem.
#39 - Sense of Purpose | Young person reports that "my life has a purpose."
#40 - Positive View of Personal Future | Young person is optimistic about her or his personal future.
BestCare Prevention is currently working community partners to assess local needs and resources, and to develop a community-based Trauma Resilience Plan.