The Search Institute links research to practice with a focus on the whole child – and the understanding that it is through developmental relationships that young people acquire developmental assets. These assets are reinforced in community where young people’s success is everyone’s top priority.

In 2013 the Student Success Core Team partnered with the Search Institute to identify indicators to measure progress toward success for all students in the Itasca area. Here’s a post from their website, reminding us how the holidays are a great time to really connect with kids!

With a little patience and planning, the holidays can be used to nurture many aspects of the developmental foundation that kids need to succeed. Here are some examples to try with the young people in your life.

Nine Ways to Build Assets During the Holiday Season

    1. Plan a holiday shopping event in your home or a community center. Ask adult volunteers to collect and/or donate inexpensive gifts, wrapping paper, tags, and bows so children can select gifts and wrap them for family members. Get more tips like this from Who, Me? Surprisingly Doable Ways You Can Make a Difference for Kids calendar.
    2. Take the time to talk with young people about the needs of others. Then find a way to volunteer together by collecting canned food, visiting a nursing home, serving a meal at a soup kitchen, or asking them for ideas about what you can do to help others.
    3. Attend holiday concerts, plays, or programs presented by young people. For more ways to support the arts, check out our book Keeping The Arts Alive: Creating and Sustaining Youth Programs That Matter. (It’s on special this month in the Search Institute store!)
    4. Take a trip to the library where holiday-themed books, music, and films can be checked out with a free library card. Choose a seasonal book (with advice from a librarian if needed), and take it home to read out loud together.
    5. Consider donating blood to the Red Cross and explain to the kids in your life why you chose to do that.
    6. Make celebrations about being with friends and family, rather than focused on gift giving. Start a tradition of asking all party guests to bring items to donate to a shelter. Here is a list of donation ideas.
    7. Give gifts of time or activities, such as a trip to a park, an afternoon of baking, or a visit to a museum, rather than material goods to the young people in your life.
    8. Connect with young people by taking time to be together, listen to what is important to them, and thank them for their presence in your life.
    9. Develop rituals and traditions that suit your family’s lifestyle even if they don’t seem traditional or are different from what others are doing. Celebrate the New Year, for example, by always letting each family member choose one food as part of the meal. Or invite another family over for board games and popcorn. Find more holiday tips like this on ParentFurther.