What should you do to build assets in young people? Follow the example of some of St. Louis Park’s young people.
St. Louis Park Rec lifeguard Charlie Bahnson went out of his way to encourage a young boy. After going up the long stairway to the tube slide, 8-year-old Alex, who is slightly autistic, was upset and wouldn’t go down the slide. As he and him mom climbed back down, he was teased by some teens in line. Charlie sought the family out and apologized for the kids’ behavior. He explained how scared he was the first time he went down the slide. Charlie asked Alex if he would like to go down the slide with him. Alex did and loved it. He felt safe with a lifeguard. “I’ve worked at the Rec Center for seven years now and I always try to put #kidsfirst,” explained Charlie via a facebook message.
Nine-year-old Marshall Schmitz has been a regular watching the construction of Highway 100. His fascination earned him a hard hat and vest from the M.C. McCrossen construction workers. Marshall’s keen eye was key in helping a man whose small dog was being attacked by a pit bull. Because of the relationships he developed, Marshall was able to alert one of the workers Derrick Johnson who restrained the pit bull until police arrived. Their bravery was highlighted on the local news.
Charlie and Marshall provide a great example for us all. Asset building can easily fit into your day, it doesn’t have to cost anything, it’s about relationships, and an intentional action can make a tremendous impact.