Developmental Assets Initiative

The 40 Developmental Assets


Since the Youth Services Bureau was award a grant by the Middlesex United Way in the fall of 2006, much has been done to promote a new strength-based youth development model in our community. Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets are concrete, common sense, positive experiences and qualities essential to raising successful young people. These assets have the power during critical adolescent years to influence choices young people make and help them become caring, responsible adults. The YSB, along with the initiative's steering team, The Assets Community Team (ACT), have been busy hosting presentations, forums, and trainings, to help members of the community, young and old, become asset champions on behalf of Middletown youth.

United Way highlights Middletown's asset efforts in their recent newsletter.

United Way spotlights MHS student involved in assets initiative (page 3).

(on the left; Dr. David Blumenkrantz presents to students at a Youth Summit: On the right; students present on the power of assets in their lives at a Spencer School PTA meeting)

The Developmental Asset framework is categorized into two groups of 20 assets. External assets are the positive experiences young people receive from the world around them. These 20 assets are about supporting and empowering young people, about setting boundaries and expectations, and about positive and constructive use of young people's time. External assets identify important roles that families, schools, congregations, neighborhoods, and youth organizations can play in promoting healthy development.

The twenty internal assets identify those characteristics and behaviors that reflect positive internal growth and development of young people. These assets are about positive values and identities, social competencies, and commitment to learning. The internal Developmental Assets will help these young people make thoughtful and positive choices and, in turn, be better prepared for situations in life that challenge their inner strength and confidence.

The 40 Developmental Assets from the Search Institute

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 advice and counsel from parent(s).

Other adult relationships Young person receives support from three or more nonparent 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, at school, and in the neighborhood.

Boundaries 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.

Constructive 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 hour or more 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.

Commitment 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 nonviolently.

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.

Although a young person does not need all 40 of these assets, it has been proven, both nationaly and localy, that the more assets they have the more likely they will be to grow up healhty and succussful and the less likely they will be to engage in risky behaviors.

Funding provided by the: