Arlington County is launching an initiative to make sure all kids have a trusted adult they can talk to.
Dubbed the “Askable Adult initiative,” the program will help to provide “access to adults who listen, provide support and understanding, and answer questions without judgment,” according to a press release.
It is being launched by Project PEACE, the county’s effort to respond to intimate partner and sexual violence, after a recent Arlington Public Schools survey revealed that fewer than half — 42% — of middle and high school students “talk with an adult at home about what matters to them most frequently or almost always.”
A series of workshops are scheduled this fall, starting on Saturday, Sept. 17, for adults interested in helping to support middle and high school-aged youth. The initiative will also be promoted at this week’s Arlington County Fair.
The full press release about the initiative is below.
Access to adults who listen, provide support and understanding, and answer questions without judgment increases youth resiliency. It’s with this goal that Arlington’s Project PEACE is launching the Askable Adult initiative to ensure every young person in Arlington County has at least one supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult–an “askable adult”–in their life.
Project PEACE, Arlington’s Coordinated Community Response to Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence, and its partners believe that everyone has a role to play in supporting the health and well-being of children and youth in our community. The most common factor for youth who develop resilience to stress and adversity is having at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult.
The U.S. Surgeon General recently announced that youth mental health is a national public health crisis. Mental health struggles increase in times of stress, and stressors have skyrocketed with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the same prevention strategies that promote mental health–such as helping youth feel connected–help prevent a range of negative experiences, such as child abuse, bullying, suicide, and violence. Ultimately, youth challenges cannot be addressed solely in isolation but rather through the shared efforts of young people, their families, local communities, private organizations, and all levels of government.
An askable adult is an individual a young person has identified as willing and able to listen, provide support and understanding, and answer questions without judgment. Askable adults encourage positive youth development so that they are empowered to reach their full potential.
The latest data from Arlington Public Schools’ Spring 2020 6th-12thGrade Student Survey reveals that only 42% of Arlington middle and high school students talk with an adult at home about what matters to them most frequently or almost always. The Askable Adult initiative aims to help adults in Arlington step into that role.
The Arlington Askable Adult initiative includes the following components:
- Ongoing Becoming More Askable workshops beginning this fall to support hands-on learning for individuals, groups, and organizations.
- An Askable Adult mobile brochure, published by Project PEACE and its partners Second Chance and the Arlington Foundation for Families and Youth, offers strategies to strengthen skills for being askable and provides local resources to aid in the journey. The brochure is accessible in four languages (English, Spanish, Mongolian, and Amharic) and can be distributed freely to any community.
- A website with regularly updated information, resources to enhance skills and strengthen support, and ways to become involved with the Askable Adult initiative.
The Arlington County Askable Adult initiative will launch to the public at the 2022 Arlington County Fair during the weekend of August 19-21.
About Project PEACE:
Arlington County’s Project PEACE (Partnering to End Abuse in the Community for Everyone) is a coordinated response dedicated to advancing the most effective and efficient array of education, prevention, protection, and support services to end intimate partner and sexual violence in the Arlington community.
Image via Arlington County
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