US’s "Young Health Program: IM40" launches to encouraging media and stakeholder interest

"Here are the results from a University of Delaware study and they are startling: 27 percent of Delaware’s middle school students report having felt sad or hopeless for more than two weeks; 31 percent of 8th graders report having had sexual intercourse; 28 percent of 6th graders have tried alcohol.

That’s why on Friday, January 20, we stood with Governor Jack Markell, business leaders, educators, community activists and many extraordinary young people as we kicked off the Young Health Program: IM 40." Marion McCourt, Chief Operating Officer, AstraZeneca US

The launch on Friday 20th January was attended by over 100 state, business and committee leaders who packed in to hear details of the $3.4million youth health initiative between AstraZeneca and United Way of Delaware.

The multi-year partnership is aimed at 12 to 15 year-olds who live in high-need neighbourhoods across Delaware’s three counties.

Rooted in the 40 Developmental Asset approach pioneered by the Search Institute and endorsed by Johns Hopkins University, “Young Health Program: IM40” will seek to increase the inventory of an adolescent’s assets – common sense, positive experiences and qualities that relate to such things as support, boundaries, values and commitment to learning.*

Here are some examples of the assets:

  • No. 11 - Family Boundaries: Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person’s whereabouts
  • No. 9 - Service to Others: Young person serves in the community one hour or more a week
  • No. 25 - Reading for Pleasure: Young person reads for pleasure 3 or more hours a week

According to Search Institute, 61% of young people surveyed with fewer than ten assets said they engaged in three or more acts of violence or threatening physical harm in the past year, compared to only 4% of young people with between thirty and forty assets. The more assets a child has, the more likely he or she is to make healthy choices, engage in positive behaviors and activities, maintain good health and succeed in school.

United Way of Delaware is administering the program, and will be working with schools, community centers and social service agencies to help integrate the 40 asset approach into their own work with young people.

"Because of the size of our state and the amazing commitment of our corporate neighbors like AstraZeneca, we believed that we have a truly unique opportunity to work together and affect positive changes in our community," said Michelle Taylor, President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Delaware.

For a full list of the 40 Developmental Assets, go to www.IM40.org.