Asset Corner #87


March’s Asset Category: SOCIAL COMPETENCIES.

Learning social skills is a lot like learning to play the piano in that you need to learn some basic competencies and you need someone to teach you those skills. You need time to practice, guidance as you gain experience, and feedback along the way. Social competencies are the skills and life perspectives young people need to develop into healthy, competent adults. These skills are important daily, but they’re even more crucial when young people encounter the tough times in life. Young people who can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations are more likely to avoid risky behaviors and focus on positive attitudes. 

This month’s column will focus on Asset #35 – Resistance Skills:

The art of resistance and reasoning
Learning resistance is one of the most important social skills to develop. This skill gives young people the confidence to say “no” to people or situations that make them uncomfortable. Learning to assert themselves also helps young people make their voices heard and express opinions. With these skills in hand young people make appropriate decisions and stand firm in what they believe.

Here are the facts
Research shows that young people who can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations are more likely to avoid risky behaviors and focus on positive attitudes. About 41 percent of young people, ages 11–18, say they can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations, according to Search Institute surveys. Speaking up for themselves takes practice, but with your help, young people can learn to take a stand.

Tips for building this asset
Teach young people resistance skills, but also teach them the values that support why they would take a stand on an issue. Having many conversations with a teenager about drug use, sex, safety, and personal boundaries increases the chance he or she will make a safe choice when, for example, asked to ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking.

Also try this
In your home and family:
Model and role-play resistance skills, specifying what to say or not say. Talk with your child about what was easy and what was difficult. Focus not only on how to resist, but also on what to say “yes” to.
In your neighborhood and community: Offer a safety net to the young people you know. Let them know they can call you if they feel pressured or tempted to do something unsafe or unhealthy.
In your school or youth program: Learn about people in the world who stood up for their values and resisted what everyone else was doing (such as Rosa Parks and Gandhi). Discuss why they were able to do so.

Congratulations to the teams from Normandy & Valley Forge High Schools for their exemplary efforts representing the District on recent episodes of Academic Challenge. Both teams of 3 students each did a great job and should be proud of themselves, as should the community at large.
It's not too early for our youth to start looking into summer employment. One of the benefits of our Collab & MyCom initiatives is their connection to Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.). The organization has once again received funding to help match youngsters between the ages of 14 - 24 to meaningful summer work experiences. Visit for details and/or to register. If you're an employer and would like to support/participate in the program, visit the site & click on the "Employer" link for information.   Focus on the Future Action Teams successfully completed their immediate charge & reported their short-term recommendations at the BOE meeting on Tuesday Feb 21st.  In all cases, the recommendations were well thought out, focused & have the potential for dramatic & positive impact on the District’s future.
“Focus on the Future” Action Teams are: Athletics & Extra Curricular Activities       Community Engagement, Finances, Technology, Facilities Usage & District Operations, Curriculum & Instruction,  Restoring Trust in the DistrictAction team recommendations should be available here .
In addition to preparing for Youth Advocacy Day on March 30,theMyCom Tri-City Youth Planning Steering Committee is looking into ways to a) improve & expedite communications among its members, b) improve the distribution of youth surveys, c) develop a Tri-City Youth Council, d) address transportation challenges youth experience, etc. Watch for details of the first quarterly meeting open to the community at large, scheduled for March 23rd at the Collab (Hanna Elementary) where progress will be shared and input solicited.
The Collab's (at Hanna Elem on Snow & Chevy Blvd) next Mobile Food Pantry will take place on Thursday, March 9th. Help is needed in the morning (9:00 am) to unload & set-up, and again in the afternoon (2:00 pm) for distribution. During their afternoon distribution UH/Parma Medical Center, Community Health Nurses will be offering free blood pressure screenings. Contact Kira Karabanovs, Dir. of Family & Community Engagement if you have any questions or for details on how you can get involved. Email:; ph: 440.842.7022.
Pass the word that, free tax preparation for low & moderate income families will again be available at the Collab, by appointment only, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm every Wednesday, from January 25th to April 13th. Call 211 for an appointment and/or go here for more details, to make an appointment online, or if you'd like, learn how you can become a tax prep volunteer.
Coming soon to the Parma Hts. Branch Library (440.884.2313):
>  Party with the Pigeon:
For ages 2-8 with a caregiver. Join us for some hilarious stories, hands-on activities, and fun crafts celebrating the characters of author Mo Willems. Registration is required. Location: Parma Heights Library, Monday, 3/6 at 6:30 p.m. 
>  Reader Boost Camp: This 4-week program is for parents and children in grades 1-3 who are struggling with their reading skills. While parents meet with a Learning Specialist, a librarian does fun reading-based activities with the kids. Then, families participate in activities together. Space is limited. Registration is required. Location Parma Heights Library, Thursdays 3/16, 3/23, 3/30 and 4/6, 6:30 p.m-7:30 p.m.
If you have or know a student in the 6th through 12th grade and he/she likes to read & bake then encourage them to enter the Library's Bake-a-Book contest. Registration closes April 14, 2017. Judging will be held April 22nd  in the Parma-Snow Branch Auditorium. Go to for official contest rules and/or to register.
Individuals w/disabilities, their parents, caregivers and any interested families are invited to attend the first meeting of Partners for Community Connections, a new parent network supporting individuals w/disabilities and their families – . Contact Erin Hinkel at to register for the meeting taking place on Monday, March 13th, from 10:00 am to Noon at the Maple Hts. Library, 5225 Library Ln, Cleveland 44137.
Take advantage of this really fun and unique opportunity .... Camp Cheerful (located in Strongsville) will again offer their homeschool horseback riding classes this Spring!! The classes are held on Monday mornings at 10:30 - with one exception....April 10th there will be both a 10:30 and an 11:30 class.
The Spring Dates are as follows:  March 13th 10:30   April 10th 10:30 AND 11:30    May 8th 10:30  May 22nd 10:30.
Here are the basic details: classes are for typically developing (i. e. no disabilities or health issues) children ages 4 - 18. Each class costs $25 and includes a half hour of riding and a half hour of a ground activity. There is NO commitment.....sign up for just one class or as many as your schedule allows. All sign ups and payments have to be finalized 2 weeks before each class.
In order to sign up, please email Marla Rzeszotarski at the following:
date(s) of the class(es) that you would like - names & ages of your children.
Contact Marla with any questions or to get more information!!  The Summer schedule will be coming out soon!!  Stay Tuned!!

Visit, for more information about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them. Or go here  for great asset-based parenting tips, tricks, activities and ideas.

Gene Lovasy

Community Volunteer/Activist

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 11:23 PM, 03.01.2017