Forty youths and adults were honored Wednesday during the 2013 Youth Asset Builder Awards at the Community Civic Center, celebrating the 40 developmental assets.
"The developmental assets are 40 common sense, positive experiences and qualities that help influence choices young people make and help them to become caring, responsible adults," Seneca County Juvenile Court Judge Jay Meyer said during the 15th annual Celebrate Youth Luncheon.
"This 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 have power regardless of gender, economic status or race, Meyer said.
"I see the power of these assets and sometimes, unfortunately, the results of not having developmental assets every week in my court," he said.
Assets range from family support, how the community values youth, creative activities, youth programs, motivation, school engagement, caring, personal control to self-esteem.
"In my mind, it is either invest now or pay later," Meyer said. "Invest now in our schools, churches, YMCA, community programs and counseling services or pay later by increasing my budget, my Youth Center's budget and the Seneca County Job and Family Services budget."
Among the honorees was Veronica Ann Kirkpatrick, a student from the Seneca County School of Opportunity. She was nominated by teacher Jennine Kramer.
Kramer said, "Roni has become the perfect role model for our school. Not so long ago, Roni lacked the self-confidence needed to project a positive image of herself. In the past three years, she has proven that self-esteem is essential - not only for herself, but also for the effect she has on her peers, family and the community."
Kirkpatrick is involved at St. Francis, SCAT, has held a position at the Seneca County Humane Society, Special Olympics, student council and participates in a dance class, Kramer said.
"(Roni) is not only a positive role model to the younger students, but to all of us as well," she said
Sandy Reinhart, medical technology instructor at Sentinel Career and Technology Center, nominated senior Ciara Long.
Long also attends Mohawk Local Schools. She is Mohawk FFA president, SkillsUSA president, a Sentinel ambassador, a state medalist in prepared speech, a member of 4-H and a member of the Wyandot County Fair Royalty Court.
"Ciara is what every student should desire to become," Reinhart, said in her nomination. "She sets high goals for herself and is always willing to serve in a leadership capacity. She is always the first to volunteer if needed."
Long plans to pursue a career in physical therapy after graduation.
Tiffin Rotary Foundation sponsored the luncheon along with Tiffin Optimist Club and Family and Children First Council.
To learn more, visit www.search-institute.org/assets or contact the Family and Children First Council at (419) 443-0891.