Building assets, opportunities


The Assets

Complete list of 40 Developmental Assets

External Assets


1. Family support

2. Positive family communication

3. Other adult relationships

4. Caring neighborhood

5. Caring school climate

6. Parent involvement in schooling


7. Community values youths

8. Youths as resources

9. Service to others

10. Safety


11. Family boundaries

12. School boundaries

13. Neighborhood boundaries

14. Adult role models

15. Positive peer influence

16. High expectations


17. Creative activities

18. Youth programs

19. Religious community

20. Time at home

Internal Assets


21. Achievement motivation

22. School engagement

23. Homework

24. Bonding to school

25. Reading for pleasure


26. Caring

27. Equality and social justice

28. Integrity

29. Honesty

30. Responsibility

31. Restraint


32. Planning and decision-making

33. Interpersonal competence

34. Cultural competence

35. Resistance skills


36. Peaceful conflict resolution

37. Personal power

38. Self-esteem

39. Sense of purpose

40. Positive view of personal future

Young people need a variety of people in their lives to nurture internal strengths and external supports, known as the 40 Developmental Assets. During the past two months, this series has covered each of the eight asset categories: Support, Constructive Use of Time, Empowerment, Boundaries and Expectations, Commitment to Learning, Positive Values, Social Competencies and Positive Identity. The asset concept is simple: the more assets a young person possesses, the greater his or her chances are of becoming a healthy, responsible and productive adult. Everyone can find ways to build assets in youths; taking advantage of these chances can shape young people's lives.

Garret Murchison, Hayden High School senior, is well on his way to being a caring and competent adult and is thankful for the people and experiences that have helped build his arsenal of assets. His dad gave him a positive attitude and a sense of humor, and from his mom he got his positive work ethic.

"You have to know how to work hard for what you want and need," says Garrett, who works on a ranch in the summer to save up for car payments and college. He says of his boss at the ranch, John Shaw, "He has helped me see my potential."

Garrett is committed to learning and to being a leader. He sets an example in school by retaking tests to get better grades and says, "If I have the ability to solve calculus, I know I can do anything." He also is courteous to his classmates, and like his veteran uncle who was a "fighter," Garrett stands up for what he believes in and doesn't tolerate when students get made fun of for their appearances.

"I know I want friends, so they must want friends, too. Everybody needs a friend," he says.

Garret also is a captain for his football and track teams, leading stretches every day and helping settle disputes between teammates. In his free time, he reads for pleasure nightly, which an adult friend got him into, and also volunteers with the Community Action Network. "Be all you can be. That's what I try to do," he says.

Garrett clearly is a young man who is supported, has positive adult role models, is empowered, can resolve conflict, constructively uses his time, has integrity, can plan and think positively about his future and is committed to school and justice for all. Young people come from every culture and possible familial background on earth. Although, the way the assets look in each life may vary vastly, the core needs remain; all people need internal strengths and external supports.

For healthy communities that support all children and youths, we need to build a culture where people and organizations feel connected, engaged, responsible and committed to young people. One way to do this involves shifts in thinking.

Communities and individuals who support the Developmental Assets have traits and habits including:

- Talk about positives and possibilities

- Focus on all young people, ages birth to 18

- Support an intergenerational community

- See youths as resources

- Are proactive about building strengths

- Claim personal responsibility

- Respect youths as actors in their own development

- Involve everyone in the lives of young people

- Create cooperative efforts

- Provide a consistent message about what is important

- Build a shared vision

- Hope

The most important messages about the developmental assets are that all young people need them, having more than 31 of the 40 is the most protective against high risk behavior and offer the most opportunities for youths to excel, and anyone can build them. Any interaction with a young person, either a random encounter in public or a lifelong relationship, provides the opportunity to make a difference in their life.

Whether that difference will be a positive one is up to you.


80488mom 9 years ago

What a wonderful young man. I expect to hear more about him in the future.

On the flip side I have stashed away 12 steps to raise a juvenile delinquent written by the Houston Police Dept.

  1. Begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants. In this way he will grow up to believe the world owes him a living.
  2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. This will make him think he's cute.
  3. Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he is 21 and then let him decide for himself.
  4. Avoid the use of "wrong". He may develop a guilt complex. This will condition him to believe later, when he is arrested, that society is against him and he is being persecuted.
  5. Pick up everything he leaves lying around. Do everything for him so that he will be experienced in throwing all responsibility on others.
  6. Take his part against neighbors, teachers, and policemen. They are all prejudiced against your child.
  7. Quarrel frequently in the prescence of your children. In this way they won't be so shocked when the home is broken up later.
  8. Give the child all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his own.
  9. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink and comfort. See that his every sensual desire is gratified.
  10. Let him read any printed material and listen to any music he can get his hands on. Be careful that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized but let his mind feast on garbage.
  11. When he gets into real trouble, apologize to yourself by saying, "I could never do anything with him."
  12. Prepare for a life of grief. You will likely have it.

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