Developmental Assets: Preparing Young People for Success

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Search Institute works with schools, programs, families, and communities to use the Developmental Assets framework to measure and increase the external supports and internal strengths they need to grow up successfully. The framework of Developmental Assets combines a research-based approach to child and youth development with practical, actionable ways that communities can work together to prepare young people for success in some type of college, a career, and citizenship.

Learn more: Use the Developmental Assets framework in your school, organization, or community >>

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The Developmental Assets®

The Developmental Assets® are 40 research-based, positive qualities that influence young people’s development, helping them become become caring, responsible, and productive adults. Based in youth development, resiliency, and prevention research, the Developmental Assets framework has proven to be effective and has become the most widely used approach to positive youth development in the United States and, increasingly, around the world. The framework has been adapted to be developmentally relevant from early childhood through adolescence.

Who needs them? Why are they important?

Over time, studies of more than 4 million young people consistently show that the more assets that young people have, the less likely they are to engage in a wide range of high-risk behaviors and the more likely they are to thrive. Research shows that youth with the most assets are least likely to engage in four different patterns of high-risk behavior, including problem alcohol use, violence, illicit drug use, and sexual activity. When they have higher levels of assets, they are more likely to do well in school, be civically engaged, and value diversity.

The positive power of assets is evident across all cultural and socioeconomic groups of youth in the United States as well as other parts of the world. Furthermore, levels of assets are better predictors of high-risk involvement and thriving than poverty, family structure, or other demographic difference. However, the average young person experiences fewer than half of the 40 assets.

More on the power of assets >>

Get Started with Developmental Assets

There are many ways you can use the Developmental Assets framework to strengthen your relationships or work with children, youth, or families. Here are some resources to get you started.

1. Download the list of Developmental Assets to learn more about the strengths and supports children and youth need.

2. Use a survey based on the Developmental Assets to identify priorities and track progress in developing the internal strengths and external supports young people need to be successful in preparing for college, careers, and citizenship.

3. Use the Developmental Assets in working with parents and families through Search Institute’s website, ParentFurther.

4. Educate and motivate leaders in your school, organization or community with a presentation or workshop that uses the Developmental Assets to highlight the power of youth development and the ways everyone can work together to help young people succeed.

5. Visit our store to find practical activities, guides, books, posters, and other tools that help you put an asset-based approach to youth develop in place in your family, school, organization, or community.

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