8 Keys to Thriving: A Wise Poor Mom’s Friend

dart board 6In business, whenever you want to influence someone, it pays to start with a clear statement of what you want that person to think.  Then you choose what you can (truthfully) say and do that will result in them thinking exactly that.  This makes you effective and efficient because your actions are focused on the outcome you want.

Silicon Valley YMCA’s Project Cornerstone uses this approach to help parents and teachers influence youths in ways that promote their success.   The program provides easy-to-follow advice that is specific to each child’s age.

What is Project Cornerstone?

A whole county right in the heart of Silicon Valley found that most of  its young people  “were missing the positive relationships, opportunities, values, and skills— known collectively as “developmental assets”—that provide the foundation for a healthy, successful future”.  Research indicated that the more of these “developmental assets that young people possess, the more likely they are to avoid risky behaviors and engage in positive, healthy activities”. So, 14 years ago the city  of San Jose established Project Cornerstone to build up the cornerstone of its future, its children.  The city and its partners* developed, applied and enhanced the tools over time by working with parents and with teachers.

Eight Keys and How to Use Them

8keys smlThe program identified 8 things that are “Keys to Thriving”.  For each of those, they provide:

  • A statement that children feel/believe if they get enough of that “key” to thrive.
  • A simple 2-page “Ideas for Parents” document with tips on how to foster that belief in children of different ages from newborns through 18 years of age!

Busy and stressed low-income mothers can use these tools to become more conscious parents; they can identify and direct their own attention to specific the areas which are missing or underdeveloped in their child’s life.

Below are the “keys” and the desired feeling/belief statement.  Click on any of the 8 Keys to Thriving to see its downloadable Ideas For Parents sheet.

1.  Support

What the young person should feel:  I mean something to the people in my world.

2.  Empowerment

What the young person should feel:  I make a difference in the world.

3.  Boundaries and Expectations

What the young person should feel:  I know what’s expected of me and what behaviors are “in bounds” and “out of bounds.”

4. Constructive Use of Time

What the young person should feel:  I have balance in my life between activities that challenge me and activities that refresh me.

5.  Commitment to Learning

What the young person should feel:  I like to learn new things.

6.  Positive Values

What the young person should feel:  I try my best to “do the right thing,” and I believe it’s important to help others.

7.  Social Competencies

What the young person should feel:  I know how to make good choices and build positive relationships.

8.  Positive Identity

What the young person should feel:  I feel good about myself and I have a bright future.

 smile boy 2

A lot of other great information and tools are on the 8 Keys to Thriving Youth page and the rest of the Project Cornerstone website.



* One of their partners is a company called the Search Institute, which developed many of their tools including the 8 Keys materials.


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