The Power of Assets

7/15/2013 by sarah

By Barbara Lockhart, Board President CYSA

When most of us think of having “assets” we think of the tangible things which we own that have value, usually a monetary value; like cars, houses, etc. Well the idea of having developmental assets is not that much different, though the value of having them goes way beyond any monetary price tag, they are simply put: priceless.

About 3 years ago I was fortunate enough to be invited by the Southeastern Regional Action Council to be trained in the Essentials of Asset Development. This model created by the Search Institute identified 40 positive experiences and qualities that every child and young person needs to have in their lives to reduce their risk of “slipping through the cracks”. It is not as daunting as it may sound, as a matter a fact many of us already have been practicing this model without even realizing it sometimes! And it really does work!

The evidence of this model’s success rate is overwhelming and in this time of transparency and accountability, having concrete evidence of a program’s efficacy is critical. It comes down to the basics really, that often in our early years of life we are deeply impacted by our surrounding environment and it often shapes us into the adult that we will become, it is not an exact certainty, but again the evidence speaks for itself.

There are eight categories which each of the 40 assets fall under. They divided into external assets (those experiences outside of a person) and the internal assets (the characteristics and experiences inside of a person).   Listed below are the 8 categories that truly reflect the core tenants of the developmental assets:



•Boundaries & Expectations

•Constructive Use of Time

•Commitment to Learning

•Positive Values

•Social Competencies

•Positive Identity

There is a little more to the program, but it would take much more space! So let me leave you with a couple of thoughts: Essentially assets build support networks for young people by providing:

•Role Models

•Safe places to go

•Experiences that are constructive & empowering


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