TASK FORCE 1 WEB OF SUPPORT
A vital piece of the Cradle to Career Initiative is the importance of mentors or significant individuals in the lives of young people. Behind every successful person is a “team” of individuals who has helped guide them along the way. An approach that has worked successfully in other communities over the years is Derek Peterson’s “Web of Support” concept which states that all people need at least five trusted adults in their lives. Without a “web of support” in place, it would be extremely hard for an individual to reach their full potential.
Over the past decade, Muncie residents have consistently identified mentorship programs as high priority. But establishing successful and sustainable programs has proven challenging.
Many Muncie organizations are adopting the unique “Web of Support” framework to lead our children and youth to thriving and resilient lives.
The approach, developed by child development expert Derek Peterson, is based on extensive research and insights from neuroscience, evolutionary biology, child/youth psychology, and genetics.
View the Web of Support “napkin talk.”
According to Derek’s research, each child in our community needs at least five positive and caring adults, or “anchors.” Anchors can be family members, family friends, teachers, coaches, members of a faith community, etc. Anchors make sure that youth have tangible needs met – things like shelter, clothing, and spaces for learning, growing, and living. They also model intangible attributes – like integrity, courage, vision, humor, and forgiveness – that are critical to youth development. Anchors have high expectations for the child and communicate those expectations.
Tangible and intangible “strings,” held by at least five anchors, weave a web of support to protect youth from harm and lead to thriving and resilience. A web’s strength also is influenced by a child’s attitudes and behaviors, past adverse experiences, social norms, and each anchor’s own web of support.
Through this approach, our children, youth, and community members are empowered to seek and strengthen their own webs, rather than relying on external programs to meet demand.