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      Area youth learn more ways to help community

      Assets have different meanings. Theyâ??re sometimes referred to as an economic resource or a piece of property. But in Iron Mountain on Tuesday, high school students focused on a different kind of asset: the building blocks of qualities and values they can offer to their schools.

      At the 15th annual Youth Asset Celebration, hosted by the Dickinson-Iron Healthy Youth Coalition, students from seven area schools came together to share and brainstorm other ways they can initiate change and help their peers.

      â??Some schools have been doing Game Nights instead of having dances or after-parties after prom,â?? said Kingsford Student Body President, Ali VanRemortel. â??Theyâ??re having activities at the school where kids can get together and make better choices.â??

      Students were introduced to asset models and examples of resources they can practice in their communities. One group from Florence, â??The Torpedoes,â?? spoke on the projects they've already begun working on.

      â??It's 100 percent just based on helping the Florence community in any way that we can,â?? said Michael Sword, â??whether that's the projects that we just did with the veterans or a Christmas in Florence group that we have where we send presents to kids that can't afford to have presents.â??

      Every student at the summit also received a Youth Asset Report. It shows the results of a survey completed in 2007 where close to 3,000 Dickinson and Iron County students were asked about their asset levels. Not surprisingly, the results showed that students with a higher number of assets also have a lower number of risk-taking behaviors such as illegal drug use and violence.

      In addition to learning new concepts, the students said theyâ??re already recognizing how these assets could affect their futures. â??Itâ??s speaking and helping people and it's dealing with conflict, finding ways to solve problems, and that's just what youâ??re going to deal with your entire life,â?? Sword said.