Working together to maximize assets in a community may be more important than the number of assets available.
Like individuals and families, communities have strengths and vulnerabilities that influence life and foster resiliency. Neighborhoods, schools, churches, businesses, and government organizations are all part of this multifaceted influence.
Economic vitality is one factor necessary for community survival. A sagging economy increases risks and diminishes long-term opportunities for families. Other factors, such as those identified for rural communities by researchers DeWitt John, Sandra S. Batie, and Kim Norris, may increase resiliency.
Support and resource networks buffer stress and promote self-reliance. These networks include natural helpers like family and friends, as well as family-friendly professionals. Researchers John P. Kretzmann and John L. McKnight defined personal, cultural, and material resources as building blocks for maximizing community resiliency.
Atelia I. Melaville, Martin J. Blank, and Gelareh Asayesh found that education and human service providers strengthen family resiliency when they provide programming this is comprehensive, preventative, family centered, integrated, flexible, diversity sensitive, and outcome oriented. Working together to maximize assets in a community may be more important than the number of assets available.
A Search Institute study by Dale A. Blyth and Eugene C. Roehlkepartain found that supportive community resources, including peers and caring adults, significantly reduce risks for children. The study also found that combining opportunities for volunteerism, leadership, mentoring, and personal growth with prevention programs correlated with lower risks for 245 Midwestern youths.
Peter L. Benson recommended four strategies for community change based on this study. They are: