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The secret to helping children and youth grow into happy, healthy, and responsible adults isn’t really a secret at all. Simply make a point to connect with young people: Get to know them, talk to them, understand them, help them, and build relationships with them. As a caring, trusted adult, you’ll be better able to provide the building blocks young people need to succeed and reach their goals. Adult role models, guides, and friends are very important to young people. With your help, young people can begin to understand themselves and the world around them. We all know growing up isn’t always easy. That’s why young people need adults like you in their lives.
Research from Search Institute identifies 40 Developmental Assets that have a powerful, positive impact on young people. Children and teenagers who have high levels of these assets get involved in fewer risky behaviors and are much more likely to exhibit the positive values, such as leadership, good health, diversity, and success in school. The bad news is most young people don’t have enough assets. About 59 percent of young people, ages 11–18, have 20 or fewer Developmental Assets, according to Search Institute surveys. The good news is we can change this because we all have the power to build assets in young people’s lives.
The eight asset categories Search Institute has found crucial in helping young people grow up healthy include:
Each of these categories involves several specific assets that help young people grow up healthy.
In your home and family: Post a list of the 40 Developmental Assets on your refrigerator door. Each day, do at least one thing to build assets for each family member.
In your neighborhood and community: Learn the names of the young people who live around you. Find out what interests them, and ask them about those interests.
In your school or youth program: Plan asset-building activities as part of the curriculum or program. For example, engage young people in service-learning projects, social skills training, or reading for pleasure.
Want to know more about the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them? Visit www.search-institute.org/assets
Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. From Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.