Romancing the Bean
By PETER BOLTZ
Express Staff Writer
No, Romancing the Bean is not a hybrid movie of "Romancing the
Stone" and "Jack and the Beanstalk," but a coffeehouse promoting something
called "asset building."
According to Erin Hart of the Blaine County Youth Project, assets are
those things needed by youth to become responsible, caring and healthy adults.
Romancing the Bean is a way the Youth Project has found to give young
people a safe place to go on Friday nights during the school year. The coffeehouse meets
at the Silver Creek Alternative School in Hailey.
In such a setting a young person can learn the assets of interpersonal and
These are just two of the 40 assets or "building blocks of healthy
development" that were produced in a survey by the Search Institute in Minneapolis,
According to Hart, the same survey was administered to 96 percent of the
pupils in Blaine County in grades 6 through 12 in 1998. And from this study, the Youth
Project has been able to learn which assets the young of Blaine County are lacking.
For example, from the survey, the Youth Project learned that only 21
percent of Blaine Countys youth perceive that "adults in the community value
In order to create an "asset" of young peoples feeling
more valued, and to build support for the Youth Project, youngsters like Marissa Evans,
13, have become public speakers.
In the last couple of weeks, Evans has stood before the Ketchum City
Council and the Bellevue City Council to present the different assets and how they are
used as building blocks.
In the upcoming weeks, she plans to speak to the Hailey City Council, the
Sun Valley City Council, the Carey City Council and the Blaine County Commissioners.
In a telephone interview, Evans, who is this years vice president of
the student body at the Hailey Middle School, said she got involved in the Youth Project
after hearing a presentation by Hart.
She said that what she and others are trying to do is "get more youth
and teens to feel more self-confidence."
According to Hart, a lot of asset building has to do with young people and
adults working together, where "adults create opportunities for youth and adults to
This, she said, could be as easy as saying "hello" to a young
person or creating jobs or internships for young people.