Join the Assets Movement (JAM) refers to a community movement geared towards preventive solutions rather than interventions. The Search Institute is an organization with over 50 years of research around relationships and development in adolescents. They have identified 40 developmental assets that help children and adolescents achieve healthy development. These assets are divided into categories that are external (in the environments and community) and internal (values, beliefs, and skills). The goal of JAM is to bring these assets to the community and have the Eastern Panhandle become what they call an Asset Building Community. There are activites underway to help facilitate these developmental assets.
The 40 Developmental Assets Conference on March 11, 2016 is one such project. The conference will host a variety of trainings and information on the 49 developmental assets. In attendance will be Idress Gooden and Stella Moon, certified Search Institute trainers from RESA 7 and 5. Gary McDaniel and Wendy Baraka of Morgan County Schools will be in attendance as well as many talented social workers and community members teaching from the Eastern Panhandle. Online registration is available for the conference.
A benefit concert featuring Landau Murphy Jr. and former lead vocalists from The Temptations, Platters, and Drifters will occur the evening of the conference at the Living Room in the Martinsburg Mall. Tickets cost between $25.00 and $40.00 and include various benefits such as a meeting with Landau and photo opportunities.
Both of these events will provide funding for survey evaluations in Jefferson and Berkeley counties as well as education about the developmental assets. This work does not happen on its own. There are very dedicated people behind the scenes, striving to pull this together.
Coordination for this project occurs through a group called the 40 Developmental Assets Sub-Committee. The committee is “working to reduce at-risk behaviors by encouraging the growth of developmental assets among all children in the Eastern Panhandle.” There are multiple organizations within this committee dedicated to bringing these resources and assets to our community. The organizations in attendance included The Children’s Home Society of West Virginia, Catholic Charities, Burlington United Methodist Family Services, RESA 8, Morgan County Partnership, EastRidge Health Systems, Morgan County Starting Points, United Way of the Eastern Panhandle, Shenandoah Community Heath Center, New Life Community Church, and others. These organizations vary through the area and come from all three counties. The Family Resource Network of the Eastern Panhandle (FRN) is one of the main organizations behind this endeavor. The mission of the FRN:
Serves as a voice of the people in our community, and serves as forum to communicate the needs of the families in our community. The FRN facilitates collaborative efforts among agencies and organizations to ensure accessible, affordable and efficient family services. The FRN is committed to improving the diversity, scope, quality and effectiveness of these services throughout the entire Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.
I attended the last 40 Developmental Assets Sub-Committee and was impressed by the dedication and ideas that the group generated. The FRN and subcommittee are looking for volunteers and community members interested in spreading the word of the 40 developmental assets. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 3, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. at the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia S.T.E.P. office located at 613 Winchester Ave., Martinsburg, WV 25401. Please consider attending and help build assets in our community. You can also email the director of the FRN, Christin Rice, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.