Prevention Plus: Introduction to developmental assets

The Search Institute is a pioneering organization in the field of youth development. Through extensive research the institute has identified critical components in raising children into healthy, caring, responsible, and productive adults. The Institute has compiled its research into a list of 40 developmental assets — skills, experiences, relationships and behaviors that contribute to success. The more assets a child has, the more likely they are to thrive and the less likely they are to engage in high risk behaviors. The full list of developmental assets is available online at

The Ridgefield Prevention Council (RPC) believes in this strength based, asset building model for empowering our youth as well as protecting them from dangerous behaviors, including drug and alcohol use. The developmental assets are divided into external and internal assets. For example, one external asset is “Family Support.” Other examples include “Community Values Youth” and “Adult Role Models.” The list of internal assets includes things like “School Engagement,” “Equality and Social Justice,” and “Personal Power.”

Many of the developmental assets are somewhat obvious and much of it happens without any parental thought as we naturally love and support the children in our families and communities. However, the 40 assets can provide a guide to notice where our kids and our community may need some helpful reminders or some renewed efforts. In the weeks and months ahead, we will use the space in this column to highlight one of the 40 developmental assets. Our goal is to provide research-based support to help raise thriving youth in our Ridgefield community.

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