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Guest column by Nichole Martin: Annual event aims to empower local youth

Program celebrates the talents and assets youth bring to our families and to our community

Published in the January 18 – January 31, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Nichole Martin

January is a time for reflection and the setting of new goals for the new year. Yet how does anyone achieve those goals? One way is to build a team around you that supports you by giving you encouragement and helps you by giving you their time and talent.

This support and help is especially needed by the youth of our Morgan Hill community. Children are precious, and we work hard to give them a good start but keeping them moving forward on a path to success through their adolescence into adulthood takes a team as well.

Sometimes it’s hard for adults to figure out how to be supportive and empowering for youth when they are managing their own lives.

Fortunately, Morgan Hill hosts an annual event that tackles exactly this topic. The Morgan Hill Values Youth event, in partnership with Project Cornerstone, is designed to assist the community and families in effectively using the Developmental Assets to empower youth.

This program celebrates the talents and assets youth bring to our families and to our community. We truly understand that they will become our leaders, artists, writers, lawmakers, scientists and role models in future years. It becomes our collective responsibility and privilege to ensure these children are raised with the understanding that they can make their dreams into a reality.

Although it is true that young people are following our lead, it can sometimes be hard to navigate the waters of mentorship. Youth need to have meaningful connections with adult role models to learn the basics of adulthood.

They need guidance on how to manage their emotions, how to stay true to one’s self no matter the situation, and how to take the high road when conflicts arise. As adults, we realize these are things we often still seek out through mentors.

Morgan Hill Values Youth is an event that helps to build the teams we need around our community’s youth. It is a wonderful day of shared mentoring and the celebration of the many people and programs serving the children and youth of this city. Their talents and dedication are on display and everyone feels elevated by their passion and commitment to the children of the community. Additionally, participating in the Morgan Hill Values Youth celebration makes you aware of the wonderful assets right here in Morgan Hill that support and encourage the aspirations of our youth.

This year, the event will give an overview of the Developmental Assets. We’ll explore what they are and how do we build them for youth.

Also highlighted will be the importance of health and nutrition (facilitated by the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health) and connecting this to family time. The overall goal is to build stronger family relationships and connections to support and empower youth in finding their voice – making them feel valued, respected and known in a positive way.

The annual Morgan Hill Values Youth event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 21 at the downtown Morgan Hill Community and Cultural Center. This is a free event and all registered participants will receive a complimentary lunch. For more information or to register online visit www.mhvaluesyouth.com or call (408) 782-9154.

This event is hosted by community-based organizations, including Community Solutions, TeenForce, Morgan Hill Unified School District, City of Morgan Hill/ Centennial Recreation Center, Mt Madonna YMCA, Healthier Kids Foundation, Discovery Counseling, LATI and Edward Boss Prado Foundation.

Put this fantastic event on your calendar. Come be a part of a community that values its children – and add yourself to the many mentors in Morgan Hill.

Nichole Martin is the community services coordinator with the city of Morgan Hill. She wrote this column for Morgan Hill Life.