40 Developmental Assets

Asset of the Month Project

La Plata Children, Youth and Family Master Plan (CYFMP) Community Partners

TheDevelopmental Assets are 40 research-based, positive qualitiesthat influence young people’s development, helping them becomecaring, responsible, and productive adults. Based in youthdevelopment, resiliency, and prevention research, theDevelopmental Assets framework has proven to be effective andhas become the most widely used approach to positive youthdevelopment in the United States and, increasingly, aroundthe world.” (http://www.search-institute.org/)

 TheChildren, Youth and Family Master Plan (CYFMP) utilizes theDevelopmental Assets Survey as a periodic measure for how well ouragencies and families are providing asset-rich supports, servicesand opportunities for La Plata County youth. The CYFMP alsoteaches our community about the assets and how to utilizethem in program development, parenting and in our dailylives.

Please join our community partners in promotingthe Assets framework, by placing the following “Asset of theMonth” in your newsletters, communications and interactionswith youth and families. For a full list of the 40 Assets goto: http://www.search-institute.org/what-we-study/developmental-assets


Developmental Asset of the Month:

Asset #1.       Family support: Family life provides high levels of love and support.


It comes as no surprise that children and youth who report that their family life provides a high level of love and support are most likely to become caring, responsible and productive adults.

Essential Question: What can you do personally, or what programs can you support that help our families provide love and support?

Tip of the Day: “Think about when not to say anything. Well-timed silence in the form of listening---rather than lecturing or changing the topic can help your children turn problems into learning experiences on their own.” (Your Family, Using Simple Wisdom in Raising Your Children. Search Institute)

Resource: The La Plata Family Centers Coalition offers on going parenting classes. You can find the at www.lpfcc.org.


Developmental Asset of the Month:

Asset #2.       Positive Family Communication – Young person and her or his parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek advice and counsel from parents.


Essential Question: How do you foster positive family conversations even in times of disagreement?

Tip of the Day: “When youth talk, really listen. Try to hear what they’re saying without judgment or criticism. Listen for the piece you both have in common and work from there.” (When Parents Ask for Help. Search Institute)

Resource: The La Plata Family Centers Coalition offers ongoing parenting classes. www.lpfcc.org.

For more information about the CYFMP, contact Susan Hakanson, 382-6212 or susan.hakanson@co.laplata.co.us.


Developmental Asset of the Month:

Asset #3.       Other Adult Relationships – Young person receives support from three or more nonparent adults.


Essential Question: How have I reached out to young people in my community this year to let them know I care?

Tip of the Day: Be present--pay attention when you are with a young person. Inspire--help young people see future possibilities for themselves. Navigate—help young person work through barriers that could prevent them from achieving their goals. Be an adult role model young people can learn from and admire.  (Search Institute Developmental Relationships Framework)

Resource: Search Institute Developmental Relationships Framework at http://www.search-institute.org/sites/default/files/a/Dev-Relationships-Framework.pdf


Developmental Asset of the Month:

Asset #4.       Caring Neighborhood – Young person experiences caring neighbors.


Essential Question: How do I interact in positive ways with my neighbors and their children?

Tip of the Day for families:

• Make an effort to get to know your neighbors, and help your children understand the

importance of strong neighborhood bonds.

• With your children, make a map of your street and write down names and a few facts about

each neighbor.

• Volunteer to house- and pet-sit when your neighbors go out of town.

• Throw a neighborhood party! Invite everyone on the block for food, fun, games, and the

opportunity to get to know each other better.

Source: Project Cornerstone http://www.projectcornerstone.org/  


Developmental Asset of the Month:

Asset #5.       Caring School Climate – School provides a caring, encouraging .


Essential Question: How do I influence school climate in my community?

Tip of the Day for families:

Source: Project Cornerstone http://www.projectcornerstone.org/  

Developmental Asset of the Month:

Asset #6.   Parent Involvement in schooling – Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school.


Essential Question: What action will I take this year to positively support my child’s education?

Tip of the Day to Increase Parental Involvement:

For families...

• Make a point of staying in touch with your children’s teachers, even if your kids aren’t

having problems.

• Instead of asking “How was your day?” ask open-ended questions like “What was the

best part of your day?” and “Did any of your classmates do anything funny?”

In youth programs...

• Make sure that programs are not scheduled at the same time as school events.

• Provide childcare on evenings such as Back-to-School Nights when parents are

expected to attend without their children.

For school administrators...

• The benefits of parent engagement apply to children from all backgrounds. Parent

engagement is typically highest in middle-class families where the parents were

successful in school. Schools should create thoughtful outreach and support strategies

that shows respect and value for the contributions of all children and families.


Joyce Epstein’s framework for parent involvement can help administrators, teachers, and parents understand the different ways that families can be involved and provide a starting point for creating effective parent engagement at school. The framework and links to information about practices, challenges, and results can be found at http://www.csos.jhu.edu/P2000/nnps_model/school/sixtypes.htm.

Source: Project Cornerstone http://www.projectcornerstone.org/  


Developmental Asset of the Month:

Asset #7.       Community Values Youth – Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth.


Essential Question: Have I directly expressed appreciation to a young person for their contributions to our community?

Tips to ensure young people feel valued:

  • Treat all young people with respect, and take their ideas and suggestions seriously.
  • Train your staff to treat young people respectfully. Make sure that your policies are youth-friendly.
  • If your business serves adults who may have children with them, make sure the space is inviting and provides age-appropriate activities.
  • Ask businesses in the community to show support for your program. In addition to financial donations and sponsorships, they can display artwork, host tours of their facility, or find other ways to show that they care about the youth in the community.
  • Attend and contribute to local government meetings to make sure that the needs of young people are being addressed.

    Source: Project Cornerstone http://www.projectcornerstone.org/


Developmental Asset of the Month:

Asset #8.       Youth as Resources – Young people are given useful roles in the community.


Essential Question: How do I include youth in decision-making in my family and in my community?

Tips to ensure youth are seen as resources versus service recipients:

For families

• Hold family meetings. For example, one meeting can focus on discussing which kinds of tasks each household member is best at and enjoys the most. Then, review everyone’s current chores and make changes based on each other’s skills and interests.

For all adults

• Ask a young person to teach you something new —a game, a hobby, a computer skill, etc. — or to share their favorite music or YouTube videos with you. It’s empowering to be able to introduce adults something that they don’t already know.

• Ask a young person for advice on solving a challenge or completing a task.

• Help a young person find age-appropriate opportunities to serve as resources in their community. For example, many cities and towns have a youth advisory committee or other group of young people who provide input regarding issues affecting youth.

For adults who work directly with youth

• Does your organization allow young people to sit on boards and committees that affect its mission and programs? Including youth input at the highest levels not only creates valuable opportunities for young people but also helps your organization ensure that it’s in touch with the needs and desires of youth.

• Encourage young people to write letters to the editor, to companies, or elected officials to share ideas or express opinions. Help them develop and share constructive suggestions to address their concerns.

Source: Project Cornerstone http://www.projectcornerstone.org/  


Developmental Asset of the Month:
Asset #9.       Service to others – Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week.




Essential Question: How do I build bridges between youth and meaningful service opportunities?

Tips to ensure youth have access to meaningful service opportunities:

For families

• At mealtimes, share your recent service experiences with your family. This discussion demonstrates that your family values service, enables you to role-model the importance of service to others, and opens a discussion about ways to help in the community.

• Have a family meeting to consider the idea of a family service project, and make sure that everyone participates regardless of their age. Have everyone list their volunteer activities to see if others are interested in helping, and talk about additional causes that each member would like to support.

For all adults

• Create youth-oriented volunteer opportunities that are diverse in the amount of time, energy, and expertise required. To make sure that youth get the most out of the experience, provide adequate training and make sure that the youth understand how their efforts will make a difference.

• When seeking volunteers, don’t just reach out to the high-achieving youth in leadership programs. Young people from all backgrounds deserve the opportunity to experience the benefits of service.

• Be sure to affirm and recognize the efforts of all the youth who serve.

At school or in youth programs

• Service-learning programs that link educational or program objectives with opportunities to address real-world issues are a proven strategy for increasing developmental assets.

• Work with a group of youth to identify a list of causes that they care about (e.g., animals, education, environment, creating safe places for youth to hang out, health care, disaster relief, homelessness, peace, etc.) and identify ways that they can help. Help the youth research the need, define goals, create a plan (being sure to consider the potential needs and feelings of the recipients), and implement their service ideas. Be sure to guide the youth in reflecting on their experience at the end of the project.

Source: Project Cornerstone http://www.projectcornerstone.org/


Developmental Asset of the Month:

Asset #10.       Safety – Young person feels safe at home, school and in the neighborhood.


Essential Question: Are homes, schools and neighborhoods safe for all La Plata County youth?

Tips to ensure youth learn and grow in safe environments:

For families

• Does everyone understand the rules about answering the phone, opening the door to strangers, spending time at home alone? Work together on rules that everyone can agree upon and follow.

• Together, identify at least three neighbors to whom your children can go in case of an emergency at home.

• Talk to your children about bullying, including what to do if they or their peers are being bullied. Bullying is a form of intimidation, and directly impacts young people’s sense of personal safety and comfort.

For all adults

• Make your home a safe place for all children in the neighborhood to go if they’re threatened, hurt, or lost.

At school or in youth programs

• Create and communicate clearly defined rules for physical behaviors as well as interpersonal behaviors. It’s important that youth know that bullying is not acceptable. Discuss and role-play ways that youth can stand up for themselves and their peers if they’re being bullied. Make sure that youth understand the importance of reporting bullying incidents and the difference between reporting and “telling.”

•Involve parents and caretakers in safety discussions to ensure message  consistency and reinforcement.

Source: Project Cornerstone http://www.projectcornerstone.org/  


• Get involved with Durango High School’s No Place For Hate annual campaign to address healthy, respectful school environments. For more information, contact Maria Gonzales at mgonzales@durango.k12.co.us.

• Electronic bullying online or through mobile phones, known as “cyberbullying,” is a growing phenomenon, especially with the relative anonymity for bullies. A good resource to help youth understand the issues is http://www.stopcyberbullying.org. For adults, http://www.cyberbullying.us serves as a clearinghouse for the latest research and information about cyberbullying.

• Take 25 (http://www.take25.org) is a program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children encouraging parents to take 25 minutes to discuss safety issues with their children. Their list of conversation starters under Resources at http://www.take25.org covers online and offline personal safety topics for young children, tweens, and teenagers.


Developmental Asset of the Month

Asset #11.       Family Boundaries – Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person’s whereabouts.


Essential Question: Have I had a conversation with my children at different ages to talk about family rules appropriate to their current developmental stage?

Tips to ensure healthy family boundaries:

•     Always ask where your child is going, with whom and when they will return home.

12 Developmental Asset of the Month

Asset #12       School Boundaries – School provides clear rules and consequences.


Essential Question: As a parent, how do I partner with the school to support its rules?

Tips to ensure healthy school boundaries:

  • Become familiar with the rules at your child’s school so you can lend parental support.
  • Know the dress code at your child’s school and help enforce even when your child tells you “no one else follows the rules.”
  • School should feel safe to your child. If your child is being teased or bullied, in the classroom, on the playground or to and from school, speak to school personnel about what is happening if your child cannot resolve the issue on their own.

Source: Search Institute http://www.search-institute.org/content/40-developmental-assets-adolescents-ages-12-18#


Developmental Asset of the Month


Asset #13       Neighborhood Boundaries – Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior.


Essential Question: As a neighbor, how do I notice and support the young people in my neighborhood?

Tips to ensure neighborhood boundaries:

  • Get to know your neighbors and their children by hosting a neighborhood block party or service project.
  • If you and your children are comfortable being a neighborhood hangout, make your house a safe place where kids can gather. Establish healthy boundaries for yourself about behavior expectations of kids when they are in your home.
  • Let parents know when you see neighborhood children being generous or responsible in their actions and be prepared to alert parents to negative or unsafe behaviors you observe when necessary.