Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake

The staff at Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake (BBBSGC), a one-to-one mentoring program located in Maryland, are long-time proponents of Developmental Assets® and positive youth development.

BBBSGC recently incorporated the assets into a community action group where a panel of young people could discuss concerns they face today with adults. During the event, one young person on the youth panel specifically stated that he felt disconnected from his school and teachers because most of their interactions were technology-based. Another young person mentioned that there was a lack of peer-to-peer mentoring in schools.

“It was incredible,” said BBBSGC Eastern Shore Director Jessica Mimms of the community action group gathering. According to a survey given after the community event, 86% of participants left with a better understanding of problems youth in the community are facing and how to begin to address them.

The catalyst for creating the community action group and youth panel was a recent Search Institute workshop attended by Mimms and another BBBSGC staff member—the Essentials of Asset Building for Trainers and Facilitators workshop in Georgetown, Texas. “I’ve known about the assets for quite some time, but I felt like it was important for us to be able to train staff directly and for me to have that refresher as well,” said Mimms about attending the workshop on Developmental Assets.

Mimms enjoyed how the workshop facilitator Jim Conway integrated many activities into the two-day event that kept participants engaged. “It was great that Jim actually applied the content to everybody’s daily life and their work with youth. The information is really simple, but wonderful,” said Mimms of the workshop.

After the workshop, Mimms and her colleagues went home feeling ready to share what they learned with BBBSGC mentors but also wanted to take things a step further and reach parents and other youth-serving organizations in their community. By forming the community action group, “We allowed community members to share what they felt were issues and we also had a youth panel that spoke firsthand about what they felt we were doing well in the community and what we could do better,” said Mimms. “We didn’t go into the experience saying we were going to circle back to the Developmental Assets, but people in the audience said we really need to incorporate the assets in our community.”

Not only did the Essentials of Asset Building workshop provide Mimms and her colleagues with the ability to share the Developmental Assets with mentors in their organization, they were able to take the principles and apply them in their community.

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