Developmental Assets – Essentials for helping every young person succeed
Search Institute’s framework of developmental assets identifies 40 scientifically based experiences, relationships, opportunities, skills, and character traits that form a foundation for healthy development. Young people with high asset levels are most likely to make healthy choices, while those with lower asset levels are more likely to get involved with negative or risky behaviors like violence, trouble in school, drug and alcohol use and more. (Search Institute created the developmental assets framework.)
Developmental Assets and Prevention
Increasing the number of Developmental Assets youth have is especially powerful in preventing or delaying the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD), and engagement in violence and sexual activity. Extensive research over the past two decades have confirmed the power of the developmental assets in young people’s lives. Seven key findings are summarized below:
- The more assets youth experience, the less likely they are to engage in ATOS use.
- Developmental assets play a role in reducing all types of ATOD use.
- Developmental assets “work” across diverse samples of young people.
- Having more developmental assets delays ATOD onset.
- Developmental assets make more difference in ATOD use than demographic factors.
- Developmental assets also play a role in other positive youth outcomes.
- Some categories of assets play a particularly important role in ATOD prevention.
The BGC Prevention and Education Program’s approach to asset development
The prevention and education program employs an asset specialist to carry out their asset building efforts. The key to successful asset development happens when young people experience several assets in several settings throughout their lives. Prevention programs working alone cannot influence every area of young people’s lives. To form a foundation for healthy development for ALL young people, our goal is to intentionally build the capacity of all DeKalb County communities, individuals, organizations, and networks to support young people’s healthy development. A variety of activities, presentations, and community events are carried out each year to support the goal of educating community members about their responsibility to be an asset builder.
DCP/SAFE approach to asset development
DCP/SAFE is committed to building assets to strengthen their substance abuse prevention efforts. The DeKalb County KEYS Initiative (Keep Encouraging Youth to Succeed) is an action group of the coalition. KEYS is working toward building a community where all adults support children and teenagers so that they thrive. KEYS works with several community partners to influence the personal behavior of adults toward children and teens, strengthen youth-serving programs and impact public policy. The mission of the KEYS Initiative is to engage the community to build developmental assets with our youth through education, practice, and promotion.