MARCH Asset of the Month:
Young people spend three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or other arts.
The Importance of Creative Activities
For many young people, creative activities can fulfill what Peter Benson describes as a
“spark”—the hidden flames that tap their true passions, motivate and inspire them to
achieve and create, and keep them on a positive path. Youth who have sparks, and
are surrounded by people who recognize and support their sparks, have higher grades
in school, are more socially competent, are more likely to volunteer to help other
people, have a greater sense of purpose, and are less likely to experience depression.
Creative activities are one of the most common categories where youth find their
sparks. Even if creative activities not a young person’s life passion, they still provide
benefits like fostering creative problem solving, critical thinking, and discipline, and
provide opportunities to connect with instructors who are role models and caring
adults. Unfortunately, most youth in Santa Clara County don’t participate in creative
activities. In Project Cornerstone’s 2011survey, 66% of 4th-6thgraders and only
24% of 7th-12th graders reported that they spend three or more hours each week in
lessons or practice for music, theater, dance, or other arts. To help raise awareness of
their importance, March is Creative Activities month in Silicon Valley.
The following discussion topics can help young people recognize the value of creative
activities and identify new kinds of creative activities that they might be interested in:
•Think back on the art you’ve created. Is there a particular piece that you’re
most proud of? Why?
•Who is your favorite musician? What do you like about their music?
•If you could be a professional artist, what would you be—painter, dancer,
singer, actor, sculptor, crafts person, or writer? Why?
•If you could take lessons in anything, what would you learn?
•How do the creative activities that you do teach you more about yourself?
By the way, creative activities can be directly linked with Asset #9—Service to Others.
Senior citizens, hospital patients, and military troops (just to name a few) truly enjoy
it when young people send them cards or useful handmade gifts, or perform their
skits and music.
The activities below offer a starting point to help integrate creative arts
into everydayactivities, and to use creative activities as an opportunity for asset building.
•Help your children identify their creative sparks! Expose them to a variety of
creative activities, and find follow-up lessons when they find something they’re
•Help your child understand that their mentors in creative activities are caring
adults in their lives.
•Advocate for your school to provide balance for students by serving as a voice
for arts programs.
For all adults
•Demonstrate the importance of creative activities to young people. Make an
effort to find out about the creative activities of the youth in your circle, and
share the creative activities in which you participate. Don’t just share what
you’ve created—explain why you enjoy your activity and how you feel while
you’re engaging in it.
•If the young people in your life participate in creative activities, support them!
Attend their art shows, performances, recitals, and concerts.
At school or in youth programs
•Make an effort to ensure that the creative activities you provide take into
account young people’s different interests and skills. For example, some young
people who do not enjoy drawing or coloring may prefer opportunities in
photography or digital arts.
•Help kids get exposed to a variety of creative processes through a “Give It a
Try!” For an art “Give It a Try,” obtain a variety of art supplies and sample
projects. Encourage kids to try a process that they haven’t tried before. Have
sample projects and instructions available for kids who don’t feel confident or
inspired enough to come with a new idea, but be sure to allow kids who have
another idea about what they want to make.
About the Asset-a-Month Program
The goals of the Silicon Valley Asset-a-Month program are to help align adults
throughout our diverse community in their efforts to promote positive youth
development by fostering developmental assets. For more information about the
Asset-a-Month program, contact Project Cornerstone at (408) 351-
6482 or firstname.lastname@example.org