Poster designs tout community strengths

Theme of artwork: Assets that build strong kids, families


Staff Writer

Alyssa Aaron Alyssa Aaron Seven students were recognized last week for their poster designs based on the theme “Ocean Township Growing Strong.”

Their artwork was picked out of a field of 100 pieces submitted by students in all of the township’s schools.

They are: Abbey Lewis, first grade, and Carly Smith, second grade, at the Dow Avenue School; Luciana Bazan, fifth grade, Corey Abramowitz, sixth grade, Alyssa Aaron, seventh grade, and Rachael Gerstein, eighth grade, at the Ocean Township Intermediate School and Tracie Ching, 12th grade at the high school.

Tracie Ching Tracie Ching Rich Ponton, director of Human Services, called on each of the young artists whose works were displayed on a bulletin board during the May 25 Township Council meeting, to come forward and point out his or her piece. He explained that the initiative is about building on the positive assets in the community, a program that is sponsored by the township’s Alliance to Prevent Drug and Alcohol Abuse program.

Ponton has said that the program is for the segment of the community that has not come to the attention of Human Services because they don’t have drug or alcohol problems.

Rachael Gerstein Rachael Gerstein It is built on research done by the Search Institute, a nonprofit research organization in Minneapolis, Minn., that came up with 40 factors that are essential to young people’s success.

The factors are called “Developmental Assets” and have nothing to do with a family’s financial situation.

They are: opportunities, skills, relationships, values and self perceptions. The assets are both external and internal. External assets are things that other people provide for youth and internal are things that develop within young people themselves.

Carly SmithCarly Smith The students’ works depicted some of the developmental assets that lead to healthy families and healthy kids: family support, safety, community, creativity, exercise, positive peer influence and education.

Ponton said the new program encourages the community to come together to foster these assets. The list of 40 assets that are linked to prevention of problems and that lead to greater success are outlined in the brochure “Township of Ocean Growing Strong.”

Corey Abramowitz Corey Abramowitz The initiative brings together many departments and organizations including the Human Services Department, Township Council, Board of Education, Police Department, Recreation Office, Project Extend and other nonprofit organizations, youth sports programs, religious congregations and businesses.

Abby Lewis Abby Lewis