In an ongoing series in this column, we highlight one of the 40 Developmental Assets that have a powerful positive impact on young people’s growth. Asset #4 is Caring Neighborhoods.

Research shows that young people are more likely to grow up healthy, caring and responsible if they live in a community with caring neighbors. It may not be as easy in the fast-paced digital age in which we live, but if we know the youth of our community are positively impacted by a supporting and caring neighborhood, perhaps we can all take a little more time to foster such an environment.

Getting to know the youth in the neighborhood takes small gestures. It’s as simple as greeting them when you see them or stopping to ask a few questions as you get your mail. Cultivating friendships and demonstrating to young people that you support them and care about them takes a little more effort. Perhaps you ask them what sports they play and you go to one of their games. Perhaps you ask them to lend a hand with a small household task you need to finish. These young people will inevitably feel cared for and needed, which is healthy and empowering.

Today’s neighborhoods might be different from those of the past, but we can all insure that our neighborhoods are safe havens where young people feel known, supported, understood, and even loved. Growing a generation of healthy, caring and responsible youth is worth it.

The full list of developmental assets is available online at searchinstitute.com. For information about RPC, go to coalition@ridgefieldct.org, ridgefieldpreventioncouncil.org or facebook.com/ridgefieldpreventioncouncil.