UP-stander Actions For Adults

Being an Asset Builder is a full-time opportunity! Purposefully take advantage of opportunities to intentionally greet, include and engage youth as a caring adult in your community! Project Cornerstone calls the positive things you SAY and DO to support youth: UP-stander Actions

Here are some UP-stander Actions to help you create moments in time where youth feel valued, respected and known:

 Notice, name and celebrate the good things you see and hear youth doing in your “sphere of influence”! By catching youth doing something good, you build assets that support the positive behaviors we want to promote.

At home: Catch ‘em being good!

  • “Hey, son! I noticed that you unloaded the dishwasher. You are really responsible about doing your chores. It makes me so proud to know that I can count on you.”

In the neighborhood: Take an interest in activities.

  • Your neighbor asks you to be a sponsor at their school’s walk-a-thon. You respond, “I am glad to hear about your walk-a-thon. I am happy to support you and your school. Thank you for keeping me informed on what you are doing to keep our schools strong. Keep doing good things for your classmates and your school.”

In the community:  Let youth know that you notice their contributions.

  • You see a group of young people picking up trash near your local coffee shop as part of a Community Service Project. Walk over and tell them. Introduce yourself:  “Hi. I see that you are helping to keep our town litter-free. What a difference you are making in how this corner looks. It is much nicer to hang-out here without the litter in the bushes. Thanks for being good citizens!”

Help build resiliency in tough times…Youth will make mistakes and need your guidance as they overcome difficult dilemmas. Listen, validate and facilitate problem solving to support youth when they face obstacles.

At home: Tell youth (frequently) that you are available and accessible. Notice changes in mood and demeanor. Give youth your full attention. When they share a worry:

  1. Listen with empathy. Say things like, “That must be hard. It sounds like that really hurt. It sounds like this is weighing heavily on your mind.”
  2. Validate their emotions. Say things like, “You are angry. You are hurt. You are afraid this might be the end of your friendship.”
  3. Facilitate problem solving. Say things like, “What do you think you will do next? What will you try next time? How will you deal with this?” Allow opportunities for brainstorming several solutions.
  4. Ask for analysis of each possible solution: “What do you think will happen if you try that?  Do you think that might work? Are you willing to try one of these ideas?”
  5. Encourage youth to try their idea. Tell them you are “there” for them and want to hear how it went.
  6. Re-visit the conversation. Notice and name the steps toward resolution. Celebrate positive steps and be prepared to repeat the problem solving steps. Be an ally. Let youth know that you believe in them.
  7. Use each success as a reference point as other difficult situations arise. Help youth focus on their skills as problem solvers and their success in overcoming obstacles in the past. Help youth see their power and ability to face and overcome difficulties.

In the neighborhood and community:  By first building relationships, adults can be a great influence on youth in the neighborhood and in the community, even in times of trouble.

  • Seek out opportunities to get to know your neighbors, youth at the corner store, and at community gathering places. By first connecting with youth with a smile, calling them by name or commenting on a positive experience (“I have seen your skills on that skateboard. Amazing!”), you will have more influence when they need your guidance.
  • Aim for a ratio of positive to negative interactions with neighborhood youth that reaches 5:1 or more…  Find lots of opportunities to notice, name and celebrate the good things youth are doing in your community! Your influence will be magnified when they look to you as someone who is “on their side”.
  • Try a 10-Second Interventionwhen you need to offer guidance or correction.
    • Make a connection by saying hello and using their name.
    • Calmly and briefly state the behavior you observe.
      • “You are riding your bike across my lawn.”
      • “That’s inappropriate language for our neighborhood.”
      •  “Driving fast around that corner is dangerous.”
  • Then, move on. No lecture, argument or further discussion.
  • Later, make special efforts to re-connect with youth following the 10-Second Intervention.
    • Express your gratitude for small steps; even “approximately right” behaviors.
      • “Thank you for using the pavement when you ride your bike. I appreciate how responsible you are.”
      • “Thank you so much for watching your language. I am glad we are neighbors.”
      • “I really appreciate how you are driving carefully through the neighborhood! Thanks!”
      • Be someone that gives youth in your community confidence in adults! Youth need lots of support. But, they also need lots of caring adults in their lives who will provide clear, consistent boundaries and high expectations, too.

 It isn’t easy being a positive adult role model! But, we need to role model lots of UP-stander Actions so that youth will learn positive ways to interact with others and get along in the world. Youth are watching. They learn from us.

 Fortunately, youth tell us that just smiling, knowing their name and saying hello are ways that adults can get started making youth feel valued and known. Use UP-stander Actions to show youth that you are a caring adult they can count on when they need support!

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