Developmental Assets

Continue reading to learn about how we use developmental assets to empower children and youth on their journey to thrive

The Search Institute has identified 40 positive supports and strengths that young people need to succeed. Their framework has become the most widely recognized and most frequently cited approach to positive youth development in the world. We use this framework as our service model foundation, building upon a solid evidence-based approach. Half of the assets focus on the relationships and opportunities they need in their families, schools, and communities (external assets). The remaining assets focus on the social-emotional strengths, values, and commitments that are nurtured within young people (internal assets). The more assets a young person has, the less likely they are to engage in a wide range of high-risk behaviours and the more likely they are to thrive*. 

Our Work and Developmental Assets

Bigs and BBBST staff work with Littles on certain Developmental Assets that they might be missingEach and every program within the agency places a large emphasis on these assets. The ultimate goal is that each Little has all of the tools they need to succeed in their life.  

Search Institute Developmental Assets® framework 

External Assets 

  1. Family SupportFamily life provides high levels of love and support. 
  2. Positive Family CommunicationYoung person and her or his parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek advice and counsel from parents. 
  3. Other Adult RelationshipsYoung person receives support from three or more nonparent adults. 
  4. Caring NeighborhoodYoung person experiences caring neighbors. 
  5. Caring School ClimateSchool provides a caring, encouraging environment. 
  6. Parent Involvement in SchoolingParent(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 ResourcesYoung people are given useful roles in the community. 
  3. Service to OthersYoung person serves in the community one hour or more per week. 
  4. SafetyYoung person feels safe at home, school, and in the neighborhood. 
Boundaries & Expectations
  1. Family BoundariesFamily has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person’s whereabouts. 
  2. School BoundariesSchool provides clear rules and consequences. 
  3. Neighborhood BoundariesNeighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior. 
  4. Adult Role ModelsParent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior. 
  5. Positive Peer InfluenceYoung person’s best friends model responsible behavior. 
  6. High ExpectationsBoth parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well. 
Constructive Use of Time
  1. Creative ActivitiesYoung person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or other arts. 
  2. Youth ProgramsYoung person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs, or organizations at school and/or in the community. 
  3. Religious CommunityYoung person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution. 
  4. Time at HomeYoung person is out with friends “with nothing special to do” two or fewer nights per week. 
Search Institute Developmental Assets® framework 

Internal Assets 

Commitment to Learning
  1. Achievement MotivationYoung person is motivated to do well in school. 
  2. School EngagementYoung person is actively engaged in learning. 
  3. HomeworkYoung person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day. 
  4. Bonding to SchoolYoung person cares about her or his school. 
  5. Reading for PleasureYoung person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week. 
Positive Values
  1. CaringYoung person places high value on helping other people. 
  2. Equality and Social JusticeYoung person places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty. 
  3. IntegrityYoung person acts on convictions and stands up for her or his beliefs. 
  4. HonestyYoung person “tells the truth even when it is not easy.” 
  5. ResponsibilityYoung person accepts and takes personal responsibility. 
  6. RestraintYoung person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs. 
Social Competencies
  1. Planning and Decision MakingYoung person knows how to plan ahead and make choices. 
  2. Interpersonal CompetenceYoung person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills. 
  3. Cultural CompetenceYoung person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds. 
  4. Resistance SkillsYoung person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations. 
  5. Peaceful Conflict ResolutionYoung person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently. 
Positive Identity
  1. Personal PowerYoung person feels he or she has control over “things that happen to me.” 
  2. Self-EsteemYoung person reports having a high self-esteem. 
  3. Sense of PurposeYoung person reports that “my life has a purpose.” 
  4. Positive View of Personal FutureYoung person is optimistic about her or his personal future.