Club member Mariko Bown-Kai from the John Howard Society was our guest speaker on November 15, 2017.  She spoke about the  ‘Beasley Youth Developmental Asset Initiative’ and gave an update on the progress of this initiative to club members.  In the past, our club has donated $30,000 to this initiative, which develops the human assets of the children and youth in the Beasley community.  This project, according to club member Paul Lakin, is a replication of a successful Waterdown project.  John Howard is looking to extend their funding for this project beyond December, 2017.
 
Mariko's presentation can be found by going to https://prezi.com/view/oGyvUi8sjaE00Iys3JdT/.

The development initiative engages and challenges adults to develop sustained strength building relationships with people in the Beasley community and seeks to mobilize the talents of young people in this community.  Its aim is to engage adults, activate sectors, mobilize young people, invigorate programs within the community, and influence civic decisions.  This worthwhile development initiative is supported by the Rotary, the John Howard Society, and other organizations in the Hamilton community.

‘Beasley’ has a 20% ethnic diversity.  A community centre houses the programs and is located at Wilson and Ferguson.  The centre hosts a career fair for youth, ‘newcomers’ potluck dinners and a youth action committee which meets every two weeks, with discrimination and sexism being some of the topics for discussion.

The program focuses on Asset Development training.  It asks the question ‘what are the missing pieces in the community?’ This training focuses on commitment to learning, creating a positive identity within the individual, empowerment, and a youth’s constructive use of time.   Rotarians can support ‘Asset Development’ by teaching a life skill or hobby such as knitting or cooking, helping youth to celebrate their unique strengths, promoting leadership opportunities within the community such as Rotoract thereby giving the youth an opportunity to excel, and receiving feedback regarding youth programming.

74% of youth in this programme describe their best friend as modeling responsible behavior.  Only 14% of youth spend three hours of more a week in creative activities.  20% of the youth surveyed perceive that adults in the community value youth and their contributions to the community, and one quarter of the youth describe themselves as receiving support from three of more non parental adults.  A reasonable number of these youth report that violence occurs in the home, which eludes to the fact that mentoring opportunities may exist for adults in this community, however nearly half of the youth surveyed report having a high rate of self esteem.  Almost 70% describe a family member giving support and love to assist the youth in achieving their goals and childhood development.

John Howard Society is in the process of performing a closure survey for this project for which the aim of this survey is to identify on how to best serve the youth.  Mariko can be contacted through the club or through the website thepathto40.com.