The Search Institute has identified building blocks of development that help youngsters grow up to be healthy, caring and responsible adults. Their study is based upon surveys of nearly 100,000 youth in 213 cities across the United States during the 1996-97 school year.






1. FAMILY SUPPORT SUPPORT Family life provides high levels of love and support. 21.ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION COMMITMENT TO LEARNING Student is motivated to do well in school.
2. POSITIVE FAMILY COMMUNICATION SUPPORT Students and parents communicate positively; student is willing to seek advice and counsel from parents. 22. SCHOOL ENGAGEMENT COMMITMENT TO LEARNING Student is actively engaged in learning.
3.OTHER ADULT RELATIONSHIPS SUPPORT Student receives support from 3 or more non-parent adults. 23. HOMEWORK COMMITMENT TO LEARNING Student reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day.
4. CARING NEIGHBORHOOD SUPPORT Student experiences caring neighbors. 24. BONDING TO SCHOOL COMMITMENT TO LEARNING Student cares about their school.
5. CARING SCHOOL CLIMATE SUPPORT School provides a caring, encouraging environment. 25. READING FOR PLEASURE COMMITMENT TO LEARNING Student reads for pleasure 3+ hours weekly.
6. PARENT INVOLVEMENT IN SCHOOLING SUPPORT Parents are actively involved in helping student to succeed in school. 26. CARING POSITIVE VALUES Student places high value on helping other people.
7. COMMUNITY VALUES YOUTH EMPOWERMENT Student perceives that adults in the community value youth. 27. EQUALITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE POSITIVE VALUES Student places high value on promoting equality, reducing poverty and hunger.
8. YOUTH AS RESOURCES EMPOWERMENT Student are given useful roles in the community. 28. INTEGRITY POSITIVE VALUES Student acts on convictions and stands up for their beliefs.
9. SERVICE TO OTHERS EMPOWERMENT Student serves in the community 1+ hours per week. 29. HONESTY POSITIVE VALUES Student tells the truth even when it isn't easy to do.
10. SAFETY EMPOWERMENT Student feels safe at home, school, and in their neighborhood. 30. RESPONSIBILITY POSITIVE VALUES Student accepts and takes personal responsibility for their actions.
11. FAMILY BOUNDRIES BOUNDRIES & EXPECTATIONS Family has clear rules and consequences, and monitors student's whereabouts. 31. RESTRAINT POSITIVE VALUES Student believes that it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol/drugs.
12. SCHOOL BOUNDRIES BOUNDRIES & EXPECTATIONS School provides clear rules and consequences. 32. PLANNING & DECISION-MAKING SOCIAL COMPETENCIES Student knows how to plan ahead and make choices.
13. NEIGHBORHOOD BOUNDRIES BOUNDRIES & EXPECTATIONS Neighbors take responsibility to monitor student's behavior. 33. INTERPERSONAL COMPETENCE SOCIAL COMPETENCIES Student has empathy, sensitivity and friendship skills.
14. ADULT ROLE MODELS BOUNDRIES & EXPECTATIONS Parents and other adults model positive, responsible behavior. 34. CULTURAL COMPETENCE SOCIAL COMPETENCIES Student has knowledge of and comfort with people of different ethnic/racial/cultural backgrounds.
15. POSITIVE PEER INFLUENCE BOUNDRIES & EXPECTATIONS Student's best friends model responsible behavior. 35. RESISTANCE SKILLS SOCIAL COMPETENCIES Student can resist negative peer influence and dangerous situations.
16. HIGH EXPECTATIONS BOUNDRIES & EXPECTATIONS Both parents and teachers encourage student to do their best. 36. PEACEFUL CONFLICT RESOLUTION SOCIAL COMPETENCIES Student seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.
17. CREATIVE ACTIVITIES CONSTRUCTIVE USE OF TIME Student spends 3+ hours weekly in lessons and/or practicing art, music, theatre or other arts. 37. PERSONAL POWER POSITIVE IDENTITY Student feels they have control over things that happen to them.
18. YOUTH PROGRAMS CONSTRUCTIVE USE OF TIME Student spends 3+ hours weekly in sports, clubs or organizations in school or community. 38. SELF-ESTEEM POSITIVE IDENTITY Student reports having high self-esteem.
19. RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY CONSTRUCTIVE USE OF TIME Student spends 1+ hours weekly in activities at a religious institution. 39. SENSE OF PURPOSE POSITIVE IDENTITY Student reports that their life has a purpose.
20. TIME AT HOME CONSTRUCTIVE USE OF TIME Student spends time with friends "hanging out" 2 or fewer nights weekly. 40. POSITIVE VIEW OF PERSONAL FUTURE POSITIVE IDENTITY Student is optimistic about their future.

Youth with the most assets are least likely to be engaged in different patterns of high-risk activity like: Alcohol/Drug Use, Sexual Activity and Violence! In addition, Students with the most assets increase their chances of positive attitudes and behaviors such as: School Success (grades in school), maintaining Good Health, Delayed Gratification and Valuing Diversity.

Based upon the study of nearly 100,000 youth in 213 cities across the United States in the 1996-97 school year, Here is how 6th-12th grade students fared:

Number of Assets 0-10 Assets 11-20 Assets 21-30 Assets 31-40 Assets
Success in School 7% 19% 35% 53%
Delay of Gratification 27% 42% 56% 72%
Maintains Good Health 25% 46% 69% 88%
Values Diversity 34% 53% 69% 87%
Problem Alcohol Use 53% 30% 11% 3%
Illicit Drug Use 42% 19% 6% 1%
Sexual Activity 33% 21% 10% 3%
Violence 61% 35% 16% 6%

Current Levels of Assets of our Youth

Percentages of our Youth in experiencing each Asset

The Power of Asset-Building


Take advantage of interesting and challenging opportunities through classes at school, youth programs, co-curricular activities and/or religious youth programs. Look at and greet every student you see! (acknowledge them, recognize them, give them attention, affirm them as a person of value and worth) Post the list of 40 assets on your refridgerator door. Each day, purposefully nurture at least one asset. Talk to your children about assets and ask them for suggestions of ways you can help them to strengthen their assets.
Post the 40 developmental assets in your room, on your locker and discuss them with friends and family. Have a 5 minute conversation with a students about their interests. MODEL-and talk about-the values and priorities that you wish to pass on to your children.
Talk with peers and adults about boundries, expectations and values. Commit to supporting each other in the in the ones that you share. Send a birthday card, letter, e-mail or other message that you think of them. Take time to nurture your own assets by spending time with supportive people, using your time constructively, and reflecting on your own values and commitments.
Get to know an dult you admire! Invite a student to do something you enjoy doing together: playing a game, going to a park, a movie or just talking/listening to each other. Regularly do things with your child, including projects around the house, recreational activities, service projects, etc.
Find chances to build relationships with younger children through service projects, volunteering, tutoring, baby-sitting, etc. Have an open-door policy in your neighborhood so students feel welcome in your home for refreshments, conversation or just hanging out. Invite caring, trustworthy, principled adults into the lives of your children.

150 WAYS TO SHOW YOUNG PEOPLE YOU CARE (from Lutheran Brotherhood)

Notice them. Smile a lot. Acknowledge them.
Ask them about themselves. Look in their eyes when you talk to them. Remember their birthdays.
Play with them. Learn their names. Listen to them.
Read aloud together. Seek them out. Giggle together.
Be nice. Say yes a lot. Be honest.
Tell them their feelings are okay. Set boundaries that keep them safe. Feed them when they're hungry.
Be yourself. Listen to their stories. Hug them.
Notice when their acting differently. Present options when they seek your counsel. Stay with them when they are afraid.
Play outside together. Surprise them. Share their excitement.
Suggest better behaviors when they act out. Delight in their discoveries. Forget your worries sometimes and concentrate only on them.
Follow them when they lead. Send them a letter or postcard. Invite them over for juice.
Notice when they're absent. Call them to say hello. Hide surprises for them to find.
Give them space when they need it. Contribute to their collections. Discuss their dreams and nightmares.
Laugh at their jokes. Be relaxed. Kneel, squat, or sit so you're at thier level.
Answer their questions. Tell them how terrific they are. Create a tradition with them and keep it.
Learn what they have to teach. Use your ears more than your mouth. Make yourself more available.
Show up to concerts, games,and events. Find a common interest. Hold hands during a walk.
Apologize when you've done something wrong. Listen to their favorite music with them. Keep the promises you make.
Wave and smile when you part. Display their artwork in your home. Thank them.
Point out what you like about them. Clip magazine pictures or articles that interest them. Give them lots of compliments.
Catch them doing something right. Encourage win-win situations. Give them your undivided attention.
Ask for their opinion. Have fun together. Be curious with them.
Introduce them to your friends and families. Tell them how much you like being with them. Let them solve most of their own problems.
Meet their friends. Meet their parents. Let them tell you how they feel.
Help them become an expert at something. Be excited when you see them. Tell them about yourself.
Let them act their age. Praise more; criticize less. Be consistent.
Admit when you make a mistake. Enjoy your time together. Give them a special nickname.
Marvel at what they can do. Tell them how proud you are of them. Pamper them.
Unwind together. Be happy. Ask them to help you.
Support them. Applaud their successes. Deal with problems and conflicts while they're still small.
Chaperone a dance. Tell them stories in which they are the hero. Believe in them.
Nurture them with good food, words and fun. Be flexible. Delight in their uniqueness.
Let them make mistakes. Notice when they grow. Wave and honk when you drive by them.
Give immediate feedback. Include then in conversations. Respect them.
Join in their adventure. Visit their schools. Help them learn something new.
Be understanding when they have a difficult day. Give them good choices. Respect the choices they make.
Be silly together. Hang out together. Make time to be with them.
Inspire their creativity. Accept them as they are. Become their advocate.
Appreciate their individuality. Talk openly with them. Tolerate their interruptions.
Trust them. Share a secret. Write a chalk message on their sidewalk.
Create a safe, open enviroment. Be available. Cheer their accomplishments.
Encourage them to help others. Tackle new tasks together. Believe what they say.
Help them take a stand and stand with them. Daydream with them. Do what they like to do.
Make decisions together. Magnify their magnificence. Build something together.
Encourage them to think big. Celebrate their firsts, lasts, such as the first day of school. Go places together.
Welcome their suggestions. Visit them when they're sick. Tape record a message for them.
Help them learn from mistakes. Be sincere. Introduce them to new experiences.
Share a meal together. Talk directly together. Be spontaneous.
Expect their best; don't expect perfection. Enpower them to help and be themselves. Love them, no matter what.

Asset-Building for Infants

Asset-Building for Toddlers

Asset-Building for Pre-Schoolers

Asset-Building for Elementary School Children

Asset-Building for Adolescents

What Schools Can Do To Help Build Assets

Asset-Building Fact Sheet for Families

Asset-Building Family Survey

Asset-Building Family In-Depth Report

Background of Assets

5 Action Strategies

Downloads from Search Institute

Building Strong Families Report 2004

MVP Parents