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Helping youth find hopeful purpose

By Sarah Odendahl I sometimes find myself talking with other parents about the desire to help our children thrive as they grow - but what does thriving really mean? How do we define it? The  4-H Thriving Model describes youth thriving as "social, emotional, and cognitive learning." It also describes seven indicators of thriving, including "hopeful purpose." The model describes a hopeful purpose this way: "Thriving youth have a sense of hope and purpose, and see themselves on the way to a happy and successful future." How common is it for young people to feel this way?  We know that the  American Academy of Pediatrics declared a youth mental health crisis in 2021 , and that Gen Z experiences higher rates of anxiety about extreme weather and climate change and  perceive more dangers in life than previous generations . Two surveys from the end of 2023 asked youth about hope and purpose more directly. Gallup and the Walton Family Foundation report only 64-6
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