About Strength-Based Approaches

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Too often, helping youth is focused around identifying and fixing problems. We begin by asking "What's wrong?" and "What's missing?"

When the starting point is what a person lacks, dependency is created on the helping professional.  And dependence is disempowering.  Starting with a problem also lowers positive expectations and blocks the identification of a youth's unique capabilities and strengths – which limits opportunities for change.

Strength-based approaches start by asking "What's right?" They are founded in the belief that every youth has a unique set of strengths and capabilities and the potential for growth, change and success.  Strength-based approaches also recognize the youth themselves hold the key to their own transformation.  The power to change is within them.

When we look for successes, strengths and abilities as a starting point, it changes the helping relationship from fixing someone, to nurturing someone's innate potential. Instead of dwelling on problems and seeing hopelessness, strength-based approaches focus on opportunity, empowerment, capacity building and hope.

The Discovering Strengths toolkit gives community workers, teachers and service providers access to programs that use a strength-based approach to helping youth. But programs alone are never enough. Relationships are key. And so are the attitudes, beliefs and approaches to helping that every community member brings to working with youth.  The Portal itself is designed to help anyone working with youth to take a strength-based approach to what they do.

Joining the portal gives you access to assessment toolsprogramstraining and additional resources to help facilitate strength-based programming and environments for youth within your community.

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