Every community has dozens or even hundreds of resources for children, youth and their families, some obvious and well-known, others nearly invisible. You need to know about them all. A map of these assets will help your staff locate resources for clients; help your managers plan agency expansions or contractions; and help your Board understand emerging community needs and the landscape of services already available. Better yet, they can also be an important discovery tool for young people themselves.
Asset-mapping is a method of collecting, organizing and visually displaying community resources of almost any type: adult or teen homeless shelters; jobs programs; day care centers; internship opportunities; food pantries; afterschool programs; GED programs. The process can be quick and informal or structured and elaborate. When structured, the potential applications are almost endless. Asset-mapping, for instance, is sometimes part of a broader needs assessment that informs other planning processes. As published products, asset maps can be made available on paper or via the Internet to inform parents, youth, school personnel, social workers and other community stakeholders about the resources available in their communities. Asset-mapping projects can be particularly compelling for programs working with teens; with adult help, young people can gather information through personal interviews, prepare it for posting, and upload it to a customized map for others to view.
What We Do
- With input from clients, identify the resources of interest to them
- Determine and facilitate design of an end product, including customization of a user-friendly computer interface
- Work with adults or with youth to gather and shape the data
- Populate map (paper or online, or both)
- Conduct evaluation of the impact of mapping on both youth and adults in the community, if desired