A survey done by The Search Institute whose findings have been accumulated in a book "A Fragile Foundation: The State of Developmental Assets among American Youth" has identified 40 assets or building blocks classified into 08 categories required for a healthy development of a child, many of which were found missing in the life of an American child. As a result, an average American child is building his life on a fragile foundation resulting in their problematic behavior. The first four asset categories focus on external structures, relationships and activities that create a positive environment for youth and include loving and caring support from family, friends and teachers, a feeling of being valued and having clear-cut rules about the expected behavior and consistent consequences of breaking them, to be and do their best, opportunities outside of school to learn and develop new skills and interests with other youth and adults. The next four categories reflect internal values, skills and beliefs that young people need to fully engage with and function in the world around them and include commitment to learning and a belief in their own abilities, having strong guiding values or principles to help them make healthy life choices and having Social Competencies to interact effectively with others, to make difficult decisions and to cope with new situations. They also need to believe in their own self-worth and to feel that they have control over the things that happen to them.
As American society was found miserably lacking in providing their youth an environment suitable for their young ones to flourish in, there is an urgent requirement of augmenting the efforts on the scale of a national movement and already more than 300 communities have started initiative to mobilize resources and motivate all sectors of the community to help build those building blocks required for the well-being of our young generation.
One of the most effective ways to the positive development of our youth as envisaged by many organizations which are sincerely working in this direction is through channelizing youthful energy in community building work. This programme for Youth leadership and Development works on the principle of considering youth as an asset to themselves and shifts its stress from youth's needs and problems and lays it on considering them as a powerful tool to tackle societal evils..According to them as pure human capital in community ventures, youth offer tremendous and often untapped contributions. Young people's exuberance and optimism alone can make rich additions to efforts to strengthen communities. Yet all too often youth are seen only as heirs to the future, trustees of posterity who will in some distant future finally take their place as partners in civic life. For many community organizations and programs, youth are underused resources, overlooked and marginalized. However, those organizations and projects that do involve young people as integral and respected leaders and participants, are not only enriching their endeavors, they are also exercising a powerful and promising strategy for youth development.
The Innovation Center for Community and Youth development, a project of the Tides Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting people working for social change is working in strategic partnership with key individuals and institutions and with youth and adult staff and volunteers who share a devotion to the potential of