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      Students aim to strengthen their surroundings

      On Tuesday, 7 schools and almost 150 students attended the 14th annual Healthy Youth Coalition's Asset Building Summit at Bay College West. The goal was to help students become a stronger person by building internal and external assets.

      Internal assets are things the students build upon on their own, while external are developed over time through their environment.

      The day's exercises help teens work together on strengthening themselves through their surrounding environment. One external building exercise focused on improving schools through the students' eyes.

      "They have a lot of the solutions to some of the issues in their schools," explains Joyce Ziegler, Co-Coordinator of the Dickinson-Iron Healthy Youth Coalition. "This provides them a say and an opportunity to make their community a safe and better place."

      All the students separated into groups by school and thought of things their student body needs to strengthen. After targeting weaknesses, the teens will now have to work towards finding solutions.

      "We find that over time it has made a positive difference in our schools and our communities," Ziegler says.

      She says youth are a community's assets, and these summits are valuable in helping them build today to create a better tomorrow.