Understanding that youth are vulnerable to high-risk behaviors, NYS engages a positive approach to prevention by building protective factors in all young people, instead of deploying deficit-based tactics focused on traditional at-risk groups or youth already in crisis. Rather than a singular event or program, prevention is an ongoing effort to promote healthy behaviors and systems to support children and families.
NYS’s prevention efforts and expertise extend beyond prevention in Newburyport, and formally include other area municipalities.
Youth Assets- Every two years the City of Newburyport surveys youth to identify strengths and needs framework based on 40 Developmental Assets*, or protective factors. Data reported are considered measures of community health, and used by NYS, the School Department, and other community groups to shape youth programs and services (e.g., increasing youth “resistance” skills by working with schools to change their Wellness curricula, offering self defense classes for young women to elevate “safety” skills)
BEACON Coalition- A community-wide, initiatives-based collaboration to reduce high-risk behaviors in Newburyport’s young people. Partners represent all community sectors: government, public services, education, child development and mental health, healthcare, social services, and community organizations. BEACON Coalition has addressed everything from depression, self-harm, and suicide to improving goal setting skills and encouraging more outdoor play.
Essex County Asset Builder (ECAB)- NYS heads this regional group in creating connections and supports for individuals, families and organizations from Amesbury, Georgetown, Newbury, Rowley, Salisbury and Newburyport. Using a scaled model similar to BEACON Coalition, ECAB relies on partnerships from all sectors in the community to apply a Positive Youth Development Approach and help youth thrive. Each community has begun efforts to engage young people ad better meet their needs: Triton Regional School District implemented the 40 Assets, Amesbury created the Partnership for Amesbury Community and Teens (PACT), and Georgetown has committed to establishing a youth rec center.
Suicide Prevention- In 2018 the State of Massachusetts recognized the City of Newburyport for NYS’ long-term efforts in creating a community-wide approach to suicide prevention. NYS has partnered with Newburyport Public Schools and The Samaritans on It’s our 20% campaign to train teachers and community members on signs of suicidal thinking, provide young people with awareness and resources, and identify at-risk individuals earlier. Over the past 10 years, there has been a 50% decrease in self-reported suicide attempts.
*Developed by the Search Institute
Download the 40 Assets lists here:
40 Assets List 3-5
40 Assets List 5-9
40 Assets List 8-12
40 Assets List 12-18
We are supporting this approach with evidence from the Search Institute and the “Profiles In Student Life” survey. The Search Institute provides information on the power of the developmental assets to both reduce high risk behavior and promote thriving indicators which result in academic success.
Learn more about the BEACON Coalition– the City’s collaborative to reduce high risk behavior and increase assets.