In the fall of 2007, the DeKalb County KEYS Initiative was developed. Our mission is to engage our community in building developmental assets with our youth. By working together, we CAN help our youth succeed.
“Youth who volunteer are more likely to do well in school, graduate, vote and be philanthropic,” cites the UCLA/Higher Education Institute. In addition, “young people who volunteer just one hour a week are 50% less likely to abuse drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or engage in destructive behavior”, according to the Search Institute.
DeKalb County KEYS (Keep Engaging Youth to Succeed) and Kishwaukee United Way are hosting their second annual Care or Be Square Youth & Family Volunteer Fair for DeKalb County middle and high school youth on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at DeKalb Park District’s Hopkins Park Community Center (1403 Sycamore Road, DeKalb) from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Mary Hess, Asset Specialist at DeKalb County KEYS Initiative and Ben Gordon Prevention and Education Program says “Not long ago, our research found only 22% of DeKalb and Sycamore youth report they are given useful roles in the community. The youth & family volunteer fair is one way we can let our kids know that they can make a valuable contribution in the communities where they live. ”
The Care to Be Square Youth & Family Volunteer Fair is free and open to students from all DeKalb County middle and high schools. It is designed to facilitate volunteer connections and help ignite the volunteer spirit that has shaped our thriving community. The volunteer fair hopes to provide young people and their families with a myriad of opportunities that will compliment both their interests and schedules.
Sometimes adults do things they aren’t proud of—swear, watch too much television, argue. Making mistakes is understandable, but remember young people look up to adults. They see you—especially if you’re a parent—as the type of person they want to become someday. They want heroes. That’s why it’s so important to be the best person you can be. Adult Role Models is Asset 14 of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.
After the enormous turnout at the KEY Leaders breakfast, the DC KEYS team went right to work planning speaking engagements, fundraising, and future projects. There is no rest for this motivated team dedicated to serving the youth of DeKalb County.
According to experts, what most young people need more than anything else in their lives is positive social interaction with adults.
These interactions expose young people to real-life heroes. Be a role model for the young people around you, and help them find other responsible adults to be part of their lives as well. The more positive role models young people have, the better!
Also try this:
In your home and family: Do your best to model appropriate behavior at all times. When you make mistakes, admit them. Apologize for missteps.
In your neighborhood and community group: Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with a young person in your neighborhood. Begin by asking: How did you meet your best friend? What is your favorite family tradition?
In your school or youth program: As a group, list questions young people can ask their adult role models to learn more about choices they made. Then, have students or participants interview that person. Discuss their findings.