The Power of Assets

What are assets?

The Search Institute has identified 40 positive experiences and qualities- Developmental Assets- that all of us have the power to bring into the lives of children and youth. The assets represent commonsense priorities for helping youth grow up healthy and successful. Provided within 8 broad areas of human development, each of us can play a part in helping young people develop and nurture these assets. 

Why do we need them?

Research underscores the incredible power of these assets in young people's lives. When young people have more of these Developmental Assets, they are much more likely to lead healthy, positive, productive lives. They simply do not make as many harmful decisions as youth who don't have these assets. They have fewer problems with alcohol and other drugs, violence, and sexual involvement. 

An increase in assets means a decrease in the crises young people may face, so the crises don't consume everyone's energy. By promoting assets, we spend less time dealing with the fallout from problems that may otherwise result and more time enjoying youth's gifts. 

Building assets together.

Spread across eight broad areas of human development, every adult in our community can play a part in helping our youth develop these assets. Provided here are assets by age groups along with activities and resources. 

In your home and family: Post a list of the 40 Developmental Assets on your refrigerator. Each day, do at least one thing to build assets for each family member.

In your neighborhood and community: Learn the names of the young people who live around you. Find out what interests them and ask them about those interests.

In your school or youth program: Plan asset-building activities as a part of the curriculum or program. For example, engage young people in service-learning projects, social skills training, or reading for pleasure. 

Site Content

8 Domains of Developmental Assets

8 Domains of Developmental Assets

8 Domains of Developmental Assets

Understand the 8 asset categories the Search Institute has found crucial to helping young people grow up healthy. 

Assets by Age Group

8 Domains of Developmental Assets

8 Domains of Developmental Assets

Download the assets by age group and understand how to build these assets through each developmental stage in life. 

Conversation Starters

Additional Asset Resources

Additional Asset Resources

Not sure how to get started? Find a list of conversation starters here to explore a young person's assets and ways you can help build them together. 

Additional Asset Resources

Additional Asset Resources

Additional Asset Resources

No matter what your role is in our community, you can be an asset builder. CASA has a comprehensive list of Developmental Asset Resources and Activities. 

8 Asset Domains


Young people need to be surrounded by people who love, care for, appreciate, and accept them. 


Young people need to feel valued and valuable. This happens when youth feel safe and respected. 


Youth need clear rules, consistent consequences for breaking rules, and encouragement to do their best. 


Young people need opportunities- outside of school- to learn and develop new skills and interests with other youth and adults. 


Young people are actively engaged in their academics and are committed to their success. 


Young people need to develop strong guiding values to help them make healthy life choices. 


Youth need the skills to interact effectively with others, to make difficult decisions, and to cope with new situations. 


Young people need to believe in their own self-worth and to feel they have control over the things that happen to them. 

Assets by Age Group

Developmental Assets 3-5 (pdf)


Developmental Assets 5-9 (pdf)


Developmental Assets 8-12 (pdf)


Developmental Assets 12-18 (pdf)


Conversation Starters

 The Search Institute has provided us with conversation starters to begin important conversations with the youth in our lives. You can download the cards here. Enjoy! 

Boundaries and Expectations (zip)


constructive use of time (zip)


empowerment (zip)


support(2) (zip)


CASA Developmental Assets Library


We've Got Assets!

CASA is committed to helping our community partners build assets in our local youth. Below is a comprehensive list of resources available to you. Please contact us if you would like to obtain a copy of any items listed below or have any additional questions about how to build assets; at home, in your organization, or in our community! Email

CASA is also available to present on any topic regarding developmental assets to your organization and any topic listed below. 

Ignite Their SPARKS

A student's SPARK is what he or she is really passionate about, an activity that unleashes his or her energy and joy. Discovering that spark can help a student express his or her personality and make a unique contribution to the world. 

Igniting Sparks is available for Grades 3-6, Grades 5-8, and Grades 9-12. The instructor manual includes 101 activities that help students build relationships with one another, tap into their unique learning style, and recognize their sparks. Most activities can be adapted to fit students of any age. Best used in classroom or group settings. 

Building Assets is Elementary/ The Best of Building Assets Together

Building Assets is Elementary are activities designed for children in grades 4 through 6. This workbook provides activities to help children explore the qualities, values, and opportunities he or she will need to do things like negotiate rules, resolve conflicts, act kindly, and make healthy living choices. Each chapter focuses on one of the eight domains: Support, Empowerment, Boundaries and Expectations, Constructive Use of Time, Commitment to Learning, Positive Values, Social Competencies, Positive Identity. 

The Best of Building Assets Together is designed for youth in middle school and high school. This workbook provides activities to help young people explore their lives and set goals to make their dreams come true. Through active and interactive learning, reflection, projects, and worksheets, young people learn the importance of assets, strengths in their lives, sources of support, and areas for growth. The activities help young people understand the important things they need to grow up healthy, empowering them to take charge, make wise choices for themselves, and have a positive impact on the lives of others. Chapters focus on: Building Developmental Assets, Breaking the Ice, Raising Self-Awareness, Building Skills, Promoting Leadership, Strengthening Relationships, Improving Communication, Developing Character, Promoting Diversity, Setting Goals, Recognizing Hopes, and Realizing Dreams, and Becoming Involved in the Community. 

Engage Every Student/ Engage Every Parent/ Strong Staff, Strong Students

Engage Every Student: Motivation Tools for Teachers and Parents: Topics in this book include Understanding Motivation, Factors and Traits That Affection Motivation, Using Different Approaches for Different Learners, Fostering Self-Esteem and Enthusiasm, Strengthening Social Skills, Creating Strong Relationships with Parents and Adults; all through an Asset Building Lens!

Engage Every Parent! Encouraging Families to Sign On, Show Up, and Make A Difference: A tool for schools, youth programs, clubs, athletic teams, and faith communities. This tool assists organizations in Identifying Your Goals for Parent Engagement, Communicating Effectively with Parents, Reaching Out to Build Positive Relationships with All Parents, Meeting Parents One-on-One, Icebreakers for Group Gatherings, Recruiting and Managing Parent Volunteers, Empowering Parents to Be Successful Leaders, and Appreciating and Celebrating Parent Involvement. 

Strong Staff, Strong Students: professional development in schools and youth programs: Section 1 explores some issues that face adults who lead staff development efforts and offers ways to deal with them as well as best practices for creating an effective staff development program and incorporating the Developmental Assets into your staff development program. Section 2 provides staff development activities and materials with ideas to help your staff strengthen and deepen their understanding of the Developmental Assets. Section 3 offers ideas on putting all of these elements together to build a comprehensive and cohesive staff development plan. 

When Parents Ask For Help: Everyday Issues through an Asset-Building Lens

This book provides reproducible handouts for people raising adolescents. This book can be used all together or to target specific issues caregivers may be facing. Topics Include: Getting along: Parents and Adolescents, Getting Along: Brothers and Sisters, TV, The Internet, Chores, Curfew, Food, School and Homework, Graduation and Beyond, Bulling/Being Bullied, School Violence, Friends, Other Caring Responsible Adults, Dating, Sexuality, Stress Management, Self-Acceptance, Anger Management, Depression, Jobs Outside the Home, Money, Appearance, Body Image, Separation/Divorce, Single Parenting, Race and Ethnicity, Substance Abuse, Tragedy. This workbook can be used by parenting professionals, parents, and other caregivers. 

What Adults Need to Know about Kids and Substance Use

This book is comprehensive and covers the why and the where of teenage drug use- family and home dynamics, social pressure, genetics, where kids go to get drugs, being proactive and reactive, prevention tactics, how to facilitate conversations with teens about drug use, how to reach the best possible outcome in any scenario, drug treatment and how to work with young people who are going through it, specific drug facts, their physical and emotional effects and ways to identify their use.