Building Assets

Building Assets

Building a Strong Foundation for Our Youth

A primary job of a guidance counselor is to help identify and minimize barriers to education. In addition to this, our job is to show families, teachers and community members what we are doing and can do to ensure that our young are growing up strong and happy.

A framework that helps us to do this is the 40 Developmental Assets®, a search-based approach to youth attitudes and behaviors, developed by the Search Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since 1989, the Search Institute has surveyed over 2 million young people across the United States. This research has identified 40 positive qualities and experiences -developmental assets- that have a tremendous influence on young people’s lives and choices. The research has also shown that the more assets a young person possesses, the more likely they are to make wise decisions, choose positive paths, and grow up to be competent, caring and responsible adults (

Many families, schools and communities are providing these assets on a daily basis to young people and still, the Search Institute research shows that young people, across the country, regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, and in urban, rural or suburban areas report having less than 20 of these assets. You may ask yourself, “What can we do”? Whether you are a parent, grandparent, neighbor or friend, community member, pastor or teacher you can help to build developmental assets -positive relationships, experiences and inner strengths by doing it INTENTIONALLY.

The Search Institute organizes the 40 Developmental Assets® into eight categories. The first four (20 assets) are called external assets. The assets are developed by the experiences and relationships that young people develop with their family, other caring adults, community and school supports, friends and neighborhoods. The other four categories are “internal assets” these are assets that young people bring to their relationships; their commitment, values, and outlook on life that helps to guide their choices.

If you would like more information on how to build assets “brick by brick” you can go

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