June 1994 // Volume 32 // Number 1 // Tools of the Trade // 1TOT2

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Resource for Building Self-Esteem in Youth

Healthy self-esteem is essential for success in every area of life. It is one of the most dynamic variables that will influence the outcome of a person's perceptions and opinions of themselves and of others, as well as feelings, thoughts, interests, and abilities. To assist Extension professionals, a four-part educational resource series, "Victories: Ways to Build Self-Esteem," has been developed. These field-tested resources, which include a videotape, study and discussion guide, and a resource notebook, provide educators with materials needed to encourage, emphasize, and enhance positive and healthy self-esteem in youth.

Bob Cripe
Extension Agent
4-H/Community Development
Clinton County
Internet address: cripe.1@osu.edu

Cynthia R. Hoover
Extension Agent
Home Economics/Community Development
Perry/Morgan Counties

Ohio State University Extension

Janice Cripe (1992). Victories: Ways to Build Self-Esteem. Videotape, resource notebook, study and discussion guides. Columbus: Ohio State University Extension.

Self-esteem is recognized as a basic personality characteristic of positive and productive behavior. Young people who have a positive self-concept are apt to be better students, have healthier friendships, and progress to adulthood with a greater ability to overcome obstacles. Thus, high self-esteem is the single most important ingredient for success in life.

Eighty percent of children enter first grade with high self-esteem. However, by the time they reach fifth grade, the number has dropped to 20 percent. By the time they finish high school, the number of children having a positive self-image has dropped to a staggering five percent (Canfield, 1992).

As Extension professionals re-discover the importance of high self-esteem in youth and adults, they are constantly searching for innovative ways to assist in this educational venture. "Victories: Ways to Build Self-Esteem," is a four-part series of educational resources designed to encourage, emphasize, and enhance the development and growth of self-esteem. While there are numerous self-esteem resources available for educators today, "Victories: Ways to Build Self-Esteem" is a comprehensive, field-tested curriculum designed for and written by youth development professionals. "Victories: Ways to Build Self-Esteem" includes:

  1. A one-hour videotape. "Victories" is a documentary video filmed in Ohio and New York featuring the thoughts of teachers, Extension educators, counselors, researchers, and volunteers on enhancing self-esteem in young people. The video offers candid interviews with youngsters and teens.

  2. Study Guide. The study guide accompanies the videotape with several activities to reinforce feelings of self-worth. Since the study guide is written in lesson format, it can be used without the videotape.

  3. Discussion Guide. The discussion guide is a companion piece to the video tape which focuses on topics such as, "The Role of Support Systems in Resisting Peer Pressure," "Observation: A Key to Identifying Levels of Self-Esteem," "Techniques for Improving Self-Esteem," and "Programs that Work - Enhancing Self-Esteem."

  4. Resource Notebook. Developed from the current works of noted self-esteem experts and researchers, the 154-page notebook is filled with activities, lesson plans and resources that are designed to help educators and youth workers develop self-confidence and self-worth in young people.

A two-day, state-wide symposium, featuring the "Victories: Ways to Build Self-Esteem" curriculum, offered Ohio Extension faculty and youth development professionals an opportunity for "hands-on" training utilizing these materials. Written evaluations of the curriculum materials presented at the symposium indicated the following results:

  1. Increased knowledge and awareness - 48% very, 43% somewhat, 9% slightly.

  2. Provided useful, relevant information - 76% very, 20% somewhat, 4% slightly.

  3. Stimulated participant to try something new - 72% very, 20% somewhat, 8% slightly.

  4. Plan on using the resource materials presented at the symposium - 100% responded yes.

Additional evaluative comments included the following comments: "two thumbs up . . . great activities," "wonderful exercises," "excellent selection of activities to cover a broad range of ages," "activities were enjoyable and will be shared," and "the concepts taught were extremely useful for the groups I teach".

By preparing themselves to teach principles of self-esteem, Extension educators can help individuals overcome negative thoughts about themselves while discovering their unique qualities and potentials. This program provides a critical, and much needed tool for Extension educators who want to help youth leaders learn how to develop positive self-esteem in young people so that they can grow into capable, productive adults.

Materials available from the Office of Information and Applied Communications, Kottman Hall, Columbus, Ohio 43210. Videotape - $25.00. Resource notebook and accompanying study and discussion guides - $10.00.


Canfield, J. (1990). Self-esteem in the classroom [Videotape]. Culver City, CA: Self-Esteem Seminars.