Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Youth Assets

Extensive research led Search Institute to identify the essential building blocks of adolescent development. In 1990, the institute identified 30 external and internal "developmental assets" that all youth need to grow up healthy, competent, and caring. Through experience, ongoing examination of youth development literature, and conversations with practitioners and other experts, the institute has refined and strengthened the asset framework. In 1996, the institute released studies of youth in two communities--Minneapolis and Albuquerque--that measure an expanded framework of 40 assets.

The 40-asset framework does not simply include 10 new assets. Two new categories have been added, several of the original assets have been combined or revised, and several assets have been added that focus on broader community issues and responsibility for youth development. A survey is now available that allows communities to measure these assets in their youth. In the coming year, Search Institute's asset-building publications and training will be revised to reflect this expanded framework.

Asset Type Asset Name Definition
Support Family support Family life provides high levels of love and support
  Positive family communication Young person and her or his parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek parent(s) advice and counsel.
  Other adult relationships Young person receives support from three or more non-parent adults.
  Caring neighborhood Young person experiences caring neighbors.
  Caring school climate School provides a caring, encouraging environment.
  Parent involvement in schooling Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school.
Empowerment Community values youth Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth.
  Youth as resources Young people are given useful roles in the community.
  Service to others Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week.
  Safety Young person feels safe at home, school, and in the neighborhood.
and Expectations
Family boundaries Family has clear rules and consequences; and monitors the young person's whereabouts.
  School boundaries School provides clear rules and consequences.
  Neighborhood boundaries Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people's behavior.
  Adult role models Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior.
  Positive peer influence Young person's best friends model responsible behavior.
  High expectations Both parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well.
Use of Time
Creative activities Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or other arts.
  Youth programs Young person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs, or organizations at school and/or in community organizations.
  Religious community Young person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution.
  Time at home Young person is out with friends "with nothing special to do," two or fewer nights per week.
to Learning
Achievement motivation Young person is motivated to do well in school.
  School engagement Young person is actively engaged in learning.
  Homework Young person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day.
  Bonding to school Young person cares about her or his school.
  Reading for pleasure Young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week.
Positive Values Caring Young person places high value on helping other people.
  Equality and social justice Young person places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty.
  Integrity Young person acts on convictions and stands up for her or his beliefs.
  Honesty Young person tells the truth even when it is not easy.
  Responsibility Young person accepts and takes personal responsibility.
  Restraint Young person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs.
Social Competencies Planning and decision-making Young person knows how to plan ahead and make choices.
  Interpersonal competence Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills.
  Cultural competence Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds.
  Resistance skills Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations.
  Peaceful conflict resolution Young person seeks to resolve conflict non-violently.
Positive Identity Personal power Young person feels he or she has control over "things that happen to me."
  Self-esteem Young person reports having a high self-esteem.
  Sense of purpose Young person reports that "my life has a purpose."
  Positive view of personal future Young person is optimistic about her or his personal future.

Copyright © 1996 by Search Institute. All rights reserved. This chart may be reproduced for educational use in this form only (with this copyright line). No other use is permitted without prior permission from Search Institute, 1-800-888-7828. This list is an educational tool. It is not intended to be nor is it appropriate as a scientific measure of the developmental assets of individuals

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