Helping Kids Succeed (HKS) Community-Wide Initiative

Supporting positive, healthy development for children, teens, & young adults in Hastings.

  • Our Vision: All kids in Hastings are strong, resilient, & connected.
  • Our Mission: Ensure every young person in Hastings has a strong web of support.

Webs of Support

Our Helping Kids Succeed initiative works to:

  • Educate students and adults about the power of webs of support
  • Encourage students to connect to Anchors and strengthen their personal web of support
  • Explain the importance of Anchors to adults in the community
  • Reduce substance use of young people with stronger webs of support


Since 2013, we’ve used the Helping Kids Succeed (HKS) youth development model to equip children and teens to handle the challenges of growing up and to overcome adversity. Learn more here.


Research consistently shows young people with 5 or more trusted, caring adults (“anchors”) in their “web of support” do better on every measure of success, engage in less risk-taking behaviors, and go on to become more successful adults.

  • When young people have strong connections to anchors, they’re far more likely to live healthy, productive, positive lives. They make fewer harmful decisions compared to teens who don’t have caring adults in their lives.

Anchors can be parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, counselors, pastors, neighbors…any trusted, caring adult who believes in a young person and has high expectations for them.

  • Anchors cast “strings” of support underneath children and young people, helping them not “fall through the cracks” while they develop their gifts and talents.

Each young person has a unique web of support, perceived in their mind. Many teens seem to “have it all,” yet they may lack the very connections needed to grow in a healthy way. Strong webs of support are not correlated to income, demographics, race, neighborhoods, etc.


We’ve presented to over 5,000 Hastings students in 8 years, with an empowering message of how to bounce back from challenges and build a healthy web of support for themselves.

In 2000, we collaborated with the nation-wide nonprofit Communities in Schools to provide hands on support for students who are struggling. This collaboration led to over 50 students reporting better mental health, improved grades and academic success, even during the pandemic.

Helping Kids Succeed Projects

Helping Kids Succeed Community Partners Coalition

UWH hosts a community-wide collaboration bringing together leaders and citizens from across Hastings, to collaborate, share resources, and plan events supporting youth and families.

We meet 4 times a year, in February, April, June, and October.

Attendees include representatives from education, law enforcement, health care, government, the business community, as well as parents and concerned community members.

All are welcome!

Contact UWH to be added to the email list.

YES Team

UWH runs a youth leadership development team made up of Hastings High School students.

YES stands for “youth empowerment and support.”

We work with HHS teachers and staff to find “emerging leaders” among the student body, and invite them to participate.

YES Team members learn the web of support model and give presentations to peers, younger students, and adults.

Team members develop valuable skills, like public speaking, project management, and marketing.

We have over 50 team alumni from the past 8 years.

Click here to watch a series of short web of support videos created by past YES Team members.


Helping Kids Succeed Handbook

Our handbook is full of great information, including an overview of the HKS model, data on the power of strong webs of support, exercises to help students and adults understand their personal web, and over 900 creative ideas on how to build stronger webs.

Pick up a free copy at the UWH office or UWH hosted event.

Helping Kids Succeed