40 Developmental Assets

Why do some kids grow up with ease, while others struggle? Why do some kids get involved in dangerous activities, while others spend their time contributing to society? The Search Institute has identified 40 concrete qualities-- developmental assets --that have a tremendous influence on young peoples lives and choices.

Research shows that the 40 developmental assets help young people make wise decisions, choose positive paths, and grow up competent, caring, and responsible.

One of our goals for the City of Victorville is that we teach everyone the importance and the skills of being an asset developer for the youth of our community.

The numbers are shocking. Kids who can say that they have received 30-40 of the assets have a tremendously higher rate of High School and College graduation rates, and have an equally tremendously lower rate of teen unwed birth. Conversely, kids who claim to have 10 or less of the below assets are much more likely to spend time in prison and have negative drug use issues.

Look at the list below and see how many you experienced. Then think about ways you can provide these assets to your kids and kids in the community. You will notice that parents can only do so much for their own children and they will need the positive influence of others.

External Assets
The first 20 developmental assets focus on positive experiences that young people receive from the people and institutions in their lives.

Support -Young people need to experience support, care, and love from their families, neighbors, and many others. They need organizations and institutions that provide positive, supportive environments.

1.Family Support – Family life provides high level of love and support.
2.Positive Family Communication – Child and parent communicate positively and child is willing to seek advice and counsel from parent.
3.Other Adult Relationships – Child receives support from three or more non-parent adults.
4.Caring Neighborhood – Child experiences caring neighbors.
5.Caring School Climate – School provides a caring, encouraging environment.
6.Parent Involved in Schooling – Parent(s) are actively involved in helping child succeed in school.

Empowerment -Young people need to be valued by their community and have opportunities to contribute to others. For this to occur, they must be safe and feel secure.

7.Community Values Youth – Child perceives that adults in the community value youth.
8.Youth as resources – Young people are given useful roles in the community.
9.Service to Others – Child serves in the community one hour or more per week.
10.Safety – Child feels safe at home, at school and in the neighborhood.

Boundaries and expectations -Young people need to know what is expected of them and whether activities and behaviors are "in bounds" or "out of bounds."

11.Family Boundaries – Family has clear rules and consequences , and monitors young person whereabouts.
12.School Boundaries – School provides clear rules and consequences.
13.Neighborhood Boundaries – Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior.
14.Adult Role Models - Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior.
15.Positive Peer Influence – Child’s best friends model responsible behavior.
16.High Expectations – Both parent(s) and teachers encourage the child to do well.

Constructive use of time - Young people need constructive, enriching opportunities for growth through creative activities, youth programs, congregational involvement, and quality time at home.

17.Creative Activities – Child spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or other arts.
18.Youth Programs – Child spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs or organizations at school and/or community organizations.
19.Religious Community – Child spends one or more hours per week in activities at a religious institution.
20.Time at Home – Child is out with friends “with nothing special to do” two or fewer times per week.

Internal Assets
The second 20 assets identify those characteristics and behaviors that reflect positive internal growth, which increase inner strength.

Commitment to learning -Young people need to develop a lifelong commitment to education and learning.

21.Achievement Motivation – Child is motivated to do well in school.
22.School Engagement – Child is actively involved in learning.
23.Homework – Child does at least one hour of homework every school day.
24.Bonding to School – Child cares about his/her school.
25.Reading for Pleasure – Child reads or is read to for pleasure three or more hours per week.

Positive values -Youth need to develop strong values that guide their choices.

26.Caring – Child places high value on helping others.
27.Equality and Social Justice – Child places a high value on promoting equity and reducing hunger and poverty.
28.Integrity - Child acts with convictions and stands up for his/her beliefs.
29.Honesty – Child tells the truth even when it isn’t easy.
30.Responsibility – Child accepts and takes personal responsibility.
31.Restraint – Child believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs.

Social competencies -Young people need skills and competencies that equip them to make positive choices, to build relationships, and to succeed in life.

32.Planning and Decision Making – Child knows how to plan ahead and make choices.
33.Interpersonal Competence – Child has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills.
34.Cultural Competence – Child has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds.
35.Resistance Skills – Child can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations.
36.Peaceful Conflict Resolution – Child seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.

Positive identity -Young people need a strong sense of their own power, purpose, worth, and promise.

37.Personal Power – Child feels he or she has control over “things that happen to me.”
38.Self-Esteem – Child reports having high self esteem.
39.Sense of Purpose – Child feels his/her life has purpose.
40.Positive View of Personal Future – Child is optimistic about his/her person future.

Anyone can be an asset builder. We will present easy ideas for developing each of the assets. Stay tuned.

If you have questions, concerns or need help drop me an email, or if you feel others can benefit post a comment in the forum. Thank you in advance for making our community better!

Check out the Bulletin Board Each Month for Some Practical Applications