Search Institute found that successful adults have characteristics, skills, behaviors, and attitudes that make them successful: Developmental Assets.  The categories are: Support, Empowerment, Expectations, Time Management, a Commitment to Learning, Positive Values, Social Skills, and Positive Identity.  With simple actions, anyone can help build the assets in youth.


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EXTERNAL ASSETS                                                                      


  1. Family Support: Family life provides high levels of love and support.
  2. Positive Family Communication: Young person and his/her parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek advice from parents.
  3. Other Adult Relationships: Young person receives support from three or more nonparent adults.
  4. Caring Neighborhood: Young person experiences caring neighbors.
  5. Caring School Climate: School provides a caring, encouraging environment.
  6. Parent Involvement In Schooling: Guardian(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school.



  1. Community Values Youth: Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth.
  2. Youth As Resources: Young people are given useful roles in the community.
  3. Service To Others: Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week.
  4. Safety: Young person feels safe at home, school, and in the neighborhood.



  1. Family Boundaries: Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person’s whereabouts.
  2. School Boundaries: School provides clear rules and and consequences.
  3. Neighborhood Boundaries: Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior.
  4. Adult Role Models: Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior.
  5. Positive Peer Influence: Young person’s best friends model responsible behavior.
  6. High Expectations: Both parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well and to learn from mistakes.



  1. Creative Activities: Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or other arts.
  2. Youth Programs: Young person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs, or organizations at school and/or in the community.
  3. Faith Community: Young person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a faith-based institution.
  4. Time At Home: Young person is out with friends ‘with nothing special to do’ two or fewer nights per week.




  1. Achievement Motivation: Young person is motivated to do well in school.
  2. School Engagement: Young person is actively engaged in learning.
  3. Homework: Young person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day.
  4. Bonding To School: Young person cares about their school.
  5. Reading For Pleasure: Young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week.



  1. Caring: Young person places high value on helping other people.
  2. Equality And Social Justice: Young person places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger & poverty.
  3. Integrity: Young person acts on convictions and stands up for their beliefs.
  4. Honesty: Young person ‘tells the truth even when it is not easy’.
  5. Responsibility: Young person accepts and takes personal responsibility.
  6. Restraint: Young person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs.



  1. Planning And Decision Making: Young person knows to plan ahead and make choices.
  2. Interpersonal Competence: Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills.
  3. Cultural Competence: Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds.
  4. Resistance Skills: Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations.
  5. Peaceful Conflict Resolution: Young person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.



  1. Personal Power: Young person feels he or she has control over ‘things that happen to me’.
  2. Self-Esteem: Young person reports having a high self-esteem.
  3. Sense Of Purpose: Young personal reports that ‘my life has a purpose.”
  4. Positive View Of Personal Future: Young person is optimistic about their future.

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Copyright 2004 by Search Institute, 615 First Avenue NE, Suite 125,  Minneapolis, MN 55413; 800-888-7828;

The following are trademarks of Search Institute: Search Institute, Developmental Assets, and Healthy Communities * Healthy Youth.



What Is an Asset Builder?

 Who You Are

  • Open, honest, and an active listener.
  • Committed to integrity, responsibility, helping others, and promoting positive change in the world.
  • Hopeful and optimistic about young people and the future.
  • Self-aware and committed to personal growth.
  • Appreciative of others’ strengths and uniqueness.
  • Striving to be a caring and supportive friend and colleague.
  • Reliable and trustworthy.
  • Willing to share your “assets” (time, knowledge, caring, experience, wisdom) with young people.

What You Do

  • Say hello, wave, or ask a simple question to take the initiative in building relationships with youth and younger children.
  • Respect and affirm youth and children, seek to understand them, and expect respect in return.
  • Believe in and take good care of yourself.
  • Attend young people’s sports events, poetry readings, concerts, plays, or other performances.
  • Look for the good in others and seek common ground with them.
  • Engage in healthy relationships with young people, elders, and neighbors. If you are a parent, you invite other caring, responsible adults to be part of your children’s lives.
  • Have meaningful conversations with young people about personal values, beliefs, decision making, and cultural differences.
  • Model positive behaviors, including kindness, lifelong learning, voting, and self-restraint.
  • Forgive people when they make mistakes. When relationships have conflicts, you know how to apologize, explain, negotiate, and resolve conflicts peacefully.
  • Encourage young people to succeed in school, serve their community, and be valuable resources.
  • Use the asset framework to guide interactions with young people and to check on your own healthy development.

From Search Institute

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We at the Crisis Connection are all about serving our community & have heard loud and clear from adults that they are appreciative of any assistance/support in enriching family life.   We have began using & sharing a free online resource that is an exciting tool to help strengthen relationships through shared activities –Search Institute’s ParentFurther!

Through ParentFurther,  mentoring adults can:

  • Learn about It—See what research says about relationships, strengths, and challenges in families with children and youth.
  • Check It—Families can use quizzes to assess how their family is doing in building relationships and tackling challenges.
  • Talk about it—Parents can start meaningful conversations with their kids, building on what they find in the quiz.
  • Try it—Parents can engage in meaningful activities with their children to explore issues and bring them closer together.
  • Track It—Families can use an online profile to keep track of the quizzes and the activities they have done so far.
  • Take It Further—Families can create plans for how they want to keep moving forward toward goals, despite any setbacks.




Other great resources

ICADV Small Moments

Dot to Dot Indiana