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Adult and youth academies scheduled - Events launch Helping Kids Succeed initiative in Hastings

It was only a generation ago when we could assume that most youth would progress successfully and painlessly through adolescence into adulthood. Our community was smaller. We knew the teens, and it seemed the vast majority made it. Sure, we remember some kids who struggled. But, as a community, we did right by our kids.

Those "good old days" are gone. While our nation has a rover exploring Mars, too many of us have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor or introduce ourselves to a teen. While our teens have 900 friends on Facebook, they have only one at school. We live in a time of unprecedented change.

Many people in Hastings remember what it takes to help kids succeed. Beginning in May, they're taking action to guide more people to re-create a community that, once again, essentially guarantees our teens make it.

This Youth and Adult Development Academy guides participants to understand, measure and apply the best of the world's youth development research to parenting, guiding, ministering, teaching, counseling and neighboring children and teens. Participants will learn to lead and influence their peers about the elements necessary to support themselves, each other and children and youth in their midst.

This workshop is activity-based, dynamic and fun. It is designed to give youth and adults the tools to change their world. Participants will be able to teach and measure the amount of support a teen has, and, like an insurance adjuster, show the level of risk and resilience that is associated within that demographic. Then we offer a research-based and common sense framework to guide us forward, collect ideas from throughout the community on what kids need to succeed, and compile those ideas into a handbook that we will share throughout the community.

Adult and youth academies are scheduled for May 3 and 4, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday and from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday; and May 10 and 11, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday and from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. RSVPs are required. RSVP to Tara at the United Way of Hastings, 651-438-3337 or email

The Academy will be facilitated by Derek Peterson, International Child/Youth Advocate. Derek Peterson is the Co-founder of the Changing Children's Worlds Foundation. He has been leading in-services, youth institutes, seminars and community workshops on resiliency since 1986. Peterson is the founder of Integrative Youth Development TM (IYD) and has consulted to local, statewide, national and international organizations, associations, programs and individuals around the world.

For more information about the Helping Kids Succeed initiative, to to Additional Information about Derek Peterson's work can be found at and