January 18, 2007 at 8:33 a.m.
While he is out working in his yard kids stop by and talk to him about school or sports or whatever. What makes him so popular is that he is interested in the children.
The Search Institute has identified 40 assets children need to succeed. Included in those assets are: caring neighbors, a community that values children, adults who model responsible behavior, a safe neighborhood, being comfortable with people with different cultures and interacting well with other children and adults.
Chisago Lakes Schools are fortunate to be supported by outstanding volunteers. At the Primary School, along with the dedicated parents, we have four foster grandparents and a senior citizen who volunteer hundreds of hours. Every morning, the children coming in from the bus are greeted at the doors by a Grandma Ade, Del, Lu or Shirley. It is a great way to start the school day!
Throughout the day the foster grandmas, Laurie H. and other volunteers work with students, either one-to-one or in small groups. In a recent survey of students' favorite people to read with, specific volunteers were often mentioned. The children and volunteers all gain from their interactions.
Taking an interest in a child is a gift that can make a difference in the long and the short term. Having positive adult interactions has been shown to reduce juvenile delinquency and risk taking behaviors among young people.
Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors and community members are all in the position to be positive and important influences in the lives of children. Take the time to talk and listen to children and teens - everyone has a story to tell. Who knows the difference you may make?