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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.
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.
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.
Understand the 8 asset categories the Search Institute has found crucial to helping young people grow up healthy.
Download the assets by age group and understand how to build these assets through each developmental stage in life.
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.
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.
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.
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!