Project Cornerstone was founded in 1999 after a survey showed that most youth in Santa Clara County are missing the positive relationships, opportunities, values, and skills— known collectively as “developmental assets”—that provide the foundation for a healthy, successful future. In general, the more developmental assets that young people possess, the more likely they are to avoid risky behaviors and engage in positive, healthy activities. (Click here to learn more about developmental assets and positive youth development.)
Our original founder is the Youth Alliance, a collaborative of the following community-based organizations: YMCA of Silicon Valley; YWCA of Silicon Valley; Girl Scouts; Boy Scouts; Big Brothers/Big Sisters; Boys & Girls Club; and Estrella Family Services. Project Cornerstone is now an initiative of the YMCA of Silicon Valley.
Project Cornerstone’s significant milestones include the following:
- Project Cornerstone is formally launched by the Youth Alliance with a leadership team headed by County Supervisor Blanca Alvarado, former San José Mayor Susan Hammer and Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools Colleen Wilcox.
- Asset surveys are administered to 7,000 middle and high school students across the county.
- A listening campaign is launched to gain perceptions and opinions of diverse cultural groups in the county, resulting in Santa Clara County’s unique 41st asset—Positive Cultural Identity.
- School Partnerships work begins in 19 middle and high schools.
- A Public Policy Team is formed to infuse assets into 17 cities and Santa Clara County government.
- Students at partner middle and high schools attend leadership retreats, which form the foundation of today’s Expect Respect bullying prevention workshop.
- The City of Morgan Hill is the first to pass a resolution adopting the developmental assets as a guiding framework for youth-related policies and programs. By 2011, six more cities have passed resolutions and/or launched asset-building initiatives.
- The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors passes a resolution adopting the developmental assets approach as a framework guiding child and youth-related policies, programs, and services in the county.
- The first parent study group is formed, revealing that parents are eager to learn to better connect with their children and other community youth.
- Search Institute, the creator of the developmental assets model, spotlights Project Cornerstone's success by holding the national Healthy Communities/Healthy Youth conference in San José.
- FIRST 5 Santa Clara County adopts the developmental assets framework.
- ABC and Los Dichos parent-led character education programs begin in elementary schools.
- Asset surveys are administered to 14,000 students in 4th through 11th grades.
- The California Department of Education incorporates the developmental assets into their criteria for the California Distinguished Schools award.
- Kids in Common incorporates developmental asset measures in their countywide Children’s Agenda.
- Project Cornerstone publishes a cookbook of family recipes, stories and photos from contributors across Silicon Valley.
- The YMCA Board of Directors formally integrates Project Cornerstone into its organizational structure.
- Service learning programs are piloted in six middle schools.
- 1,500 adult volunteers deliver literature-based parent engagement programs in Silicon Valley schools.
- Peer helper programs are piloted in Campbell Union High School District
- Countywide asset survey results are released. Participants include 38,000+ students in more than 200 elementary, middle and high schools in 26 Santa Clara County school districts.
- During the 2010-11 school year, the School Partnerships program was active in more than 170 schools, training more than 2,800 adult volunteers to deliver literature-based programs that reached more than 33,000 students; facilitating Expect Respect bullying prevention workshops to 2,342 students in 84 schools; and training nearly 1,200 teachers in forging stronger connections with their students and creating a caring and supportive school climate.
- During the 2011-12 school year, the School Partnerships program was active in more than 180 schools, training more than 2,900 adult volunteers to deliver literature-based programs that reached more than 38,000 students; facilitating Expect Respect bullying prevention workshops to 2,715 students in 73 schools; and training over 1,700 teachers in forging stronger connections with their students and creating a caring and supportive school climate.
- Project Cornerstone is recognized with the Bold Steps for Children award for its commitment to making a difference for children.