Tuesday, December 06, 2005


[2 December 2005 - PEN Weekly NewsBlast] Ten years ago, resiliency theory was relatively new to the fields of prevention and education. Today, it is at the heart of hundreds of school and community programs that recognize in all young people the capacity to lead healthy, successful lives. The key, as Bonnie Benard reports in this synthesis of a decade and more of resiliency research, is the role that families, schools, and communities play in supporting, and not undermining, this biological drive for normal human development. Of special interest is the evidence that resiliency prevails in many extreme cases. In most studies, the figure seems to average 70 to 75 percent and includes children who were placed in foster care, were members of gangs, were born to teen mothers, were sexually abused, had substance-abusing or mentally ill families, and grew up in poverty. In absolute worst case scenarios, when children experience multiple and persistent risks, still half of them overcome adversity and achieve good developmental outcomes. An understanding of this developmental wisdom and the supporting research, Benard argues, must be integrated into adults’ vision for the youth they work with and communicated to young people themselves. Read sample chapters online.

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