In our last column we introduced the Search Institute, a pioneering organization in the field of youth development. This group has compiled a list of 40 Developmental Assets that have a powerful positive impact on young people. Teenagers who have a number of these assets are much more likely to exhibit positive values that lead to success in school, good health and becoming responsible and productive adults, plus they are much less likely to get involved in risky behaviors. Unfortunately, many teenagers possess less than half of the 40 assets. As a community we can change this, since we all have the ability to build assets in our young people’s lives.
The list of 40 assets is divided into two distinct sections, External Assets and Internal Assets. Both are equally important in creating a strong foundation in a young person’s life. As a community, if we provide the external assets of support, empowerment, boundaries and expectations and constructive use of time, it allows our youth to better develop the internal assets of commitment to learning, positive values, social competencies and positive identity.