About Search Institute


Discovering What Kids Need to Succeed

For more than 50 years, Search Institute® has been a leader and partner for organizations around the world in discovering what kids need to succeed. Our research, resources, and expertise help our partners in organizations, schools, and community coalitions solve critical challenges in the lives of young people.

We focus on deepening understanding and working with partners to improve the lives of young people in three critical areas:

  • Developmental Assets®, Search Institute’s framework of strengths and supports, which has become the most widely recognized and most frequently cited approach to positive youth development in the world.
  • Developmental Relationships, those relationships that help young people attain the psychological and social skills needed for success in education and in life.
  • Developmental Communities, a focus on creating contexts and settings that attend to young people’s developmental needs and are aligned for collective impact.
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    Click here to read a message from President and CEO, Kent Pekel, about Search Institute's new strategy.
    Download Search Institute's new strategy report >>
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    Our Underlying Approach

    Search Institute has a 50-year legacy of linking research and practice to address critical issues in education and youth development. Underlying each of our efforts is a commitment to:

  • building on young people’s strengths, rather than emphasizing their problems and deficiencies;
  • shedding light on issues, challenges, and opportunities in ways that are useful to practitioners; and
  • emphasizing the possibilities that bring us together across differences to work for the common good for each and every young person.
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    Linking Research and Practice

    Search Institute has excelled at conducting
 and disseminating its research. Those efforts continue, deepening Search Institute's understanding of critical issues in the lives of young people around the world.
    In addition, in an era of increased accountability for schools, youth programs, and coalitions, Search Institute is enhancing its capacity not just to conduct and disseminate its research, but to help organizations and coalitions use local research findings to plan, implement, and monitor meaningful change and improvement strategies.

    This work integrates quality improvement processes, adaptive approaches to change, and networked improvement communities. In such improvement communities, diverse actors constantly experiment with new solutions to common problems and share their findings across the network to promote further learning and improvement.

    We seek collaborators and partners that are committed to this kind of sustained engagement to work together to create measureable changes in young people’s outcomes at an organizational or community level.

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    Our Reach and Influence

    Search Institute’s work has had a broad reach and a profound influence on many fields and disciplines that touch the lives of children, youth, and families.

  • Across the past 20 years, 600 communities in 45 states and 5 Canadian provinces launched initiatives based on Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets. Search Institute frameworks have been used in at least 70 countries around the world.
  • About 4 million young people in thousands of communities have been surveyed since 1990.
  • More than 2,000 workshops for practitioners were delivered in the past decade, reaching about 350,000 educators, youth workers, and other leaders in more than 700 communities.
  • Search Institute researchers have published more than 30 scientific books and close to 150 journal articles and book chapters.
  • At least 25,000 journal articles reference Search Institute and its work on Developmental Assets.
  • Search Institutes work has influenced numerous fields and disciplines, including child and adolescent development, community development, K-12 education, family
studies, human services, international development, juvenile justice, mentoring, prevention science, psychology, public health, religious youth work, service-learning, and social work.
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    More About Us

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    Support Us

    Search Institute® is a nonprofit organization. We welcome your support, which allows us to continue fulfilling our mission.