How can I help young people thrive?

At Fuller we’re grateful to be surrounded by colleagues who strengthen our work. One of FYI’s early research partners was Dr. Pamela King, a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent spirituality and “thriving,” or holistic flourishing.

Pam turned us on to the Search Institute and all of their great research developing the 40 Developmental Assets. Many of you have told us through the years that you’ve found this work helpful in framing your ministry with young people or training your congregation to support holistic ministry approaches (listen to a workshop led by Kara and Pam).

We often get asked for more resources to help congregations or communities learn how to build relationships with young people, whether through intergenerational mentoring or other avenues. So I’m always on the lookout for ideas.

Recently I became aware of a website that responds to some of these needs. The Step-it-up-2-Thrive Resource Center is a free online toolkit of resources for youth workers, volunteers, parents, and teenagers themselves. It was developed out of a research-based theory of change championed by the Thrive Foundation for Youth (one of FYI’s supporters as well) in partnership with Tufts University.

The toolkit is built around:

  1. The identification of “Sparks”—kids’ strengths, passions, and interests that are sometimes hidden
  2. Development of a growth mindset
  3. Reflection about indicators of thriving and risk factors that might hinder thriving
  4. Goal development and management

Each section has an overview plus downloadable/printable handouts for leaders, parents (in Spanish too), and students. There are free downloads for the entire series, including manuals.

Whether you need support for parent training, small group leaders, or resources for mentors, you might find this toolkit accessible and adaptable to your context. Let us know how you use it and what you find most helpful!