Forty-three youths and adults were honored in the 2012 Youth Asset Builder Awards Wednesday over lunch at the Community Civic Center.
This is the 14th year for the Celebrate Youth Luncheon. Sharon George, executive director of Seneca County Family and Children First Council, welcomed the members of the community.
Those honored are individuals who display 40 developmental assets or help others develop them.
An invocation was given by Rev. Jan Kucera. He began with a story of children overcoming giants.
"Kids are just kids and are not afraid to take on giants. Those that display these assets will continue to grow and develop," Kucera said.
Awards were presented by Judge Jay Meyer of Seneca County Juvenile Court and Karen Eatmon of Family and Children First.
"Today is one of my favorite days of the year," Meyer said. "This is a victory lap for our honored youth and adults here today who do so much for the kids in our community."
"The Developmental Assets are 40 common-sense, positive experiences and qualities that help influence choices young people make to help them to become caring, responsible adults," he said.
The awesome thing about the assets is that they have a power for all young people, Meyer said. The more assets young people experience, the better. Youth with high asset levels are less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors and are more likely to engage in thriving behaviors.
One student honored was Aaron Grajeda of Fostoria Junior/Senior High School, who was nominated by teacher and student council advisor, Carol LeForge.
Grajeda is not a high schooler. At 20, he could have graduated with the class of 2012, but wanted to return to improve his English.
"English is important to Aaron because he has many things he wants to do in life, and learning is one of them," LeForge said.
"I believe that I can honestly say Aaron possesses all of the 40 character assets," she said.
Tiffin Middle School Principal Robert Boes nominated two students who helped another student who was being bullied.
Lauren Buskirk and Madison Zimmerman helped a younger student who was being bullied on the bus. They have continued to work with her as mentors, instilling strong values and assets they both possess, Boes said.
Tiffin Middle School is proud of the two students for their leadership, compassion and overall ability to do the right thing, he said.
Molly Lofton of the YMCA nominated Brook Frankhauser and Tyler Schwartz. Both are dedicated lifeguards.
"Brook is an outstanding leader and models the YMCA Core Values of caring, respect, responsibility and honesty," Lofton said.
Of the 43 honored Wednesday, seven were adults recognized for instilling developmental assets in youths and others.
One of the adults was Brandon Aydt, nominated by Sharon George.
"One day when my son, Spencer George, was practicing kicking at Columbian's football stadium, a Tiffin University football player came and introduced himself."
That football player was Aydt and he is a kicker for the team. Aydt watched George, a student at Calvert Elementary School, practice and gave him a few pointers.
Aydt later asked when George's next football game was and said he would be there. Aydt not only came, wearing the team's colors, but he brought his girlfriend as well. Since then Aydt and Spencer George have met for several more practices and Aydt is an incredible role model for Spencer, Sharon George said.
Tiffin Rotary Foundation sponsored the luncheon along with Tiffin Optimist Club and Family and Children First Council.
To learn more, visit www.searchinstitute.org/assets or contact the Family and Children First Council at (419) 443-0891.