A new study, Teen Voice 2009: The Untapped Strengths of 15-Year-Olds – finds that a majority of 15-year-olds lack high levels of each of the concepts: “sparks,” “teen voice” and “relationships and opportunities.” These three factors, when experienced at high levels and combined, provide young people the support they need to set and keep a positive course in the midst of a critical time in their lives.
St. Louis Park High School senior Hannah and junior Moriah, participated in a panel discussion when the study results were released at Best Buy’s headquarters last month to more than 300 people. Both of these young women have been involved in Children First and the Youth Development Committee and are well versed on Developmental Assets as well as Search’s most recent research on Sparks. “Sparks” are individual talents, passions or gifts teens say give them energy and motivation to do well in life.
During the panel Hannah and Moriah shared their experiences with leadership, community involvement and training others about Sparks. Hannah shared her spark, which is working with children. She will be studying elementary education at Bethel University in the fall. Moriah’s sparks are theater and architecture. Both credited their the ability to nurture their interests to the supportive adults in their lives who find opportunities for them to grow their sparks.
Visit Best Buy’s website, @ 15, to check out more about the study and view a webcast of the panel discussion.
Photos: Top- The panel at Best Buy was moderated by Gene Roehlkepartain from Search Institute and featured area high school students including Moriah (third from left) and Hannah (sixth from left). Bottom- Moriah shared her knowledge about flaming Sparks in teens. Photos by Shelly Beissel.